Here’s our selection of essential business, startup and entrepreneurship films. Find a comfy sofa and start learning!
1. Something Ventured (2011)
The documentary about the history of Silicon Valley and the rise of Venture Capital. You will learn as much in these 90 minutes as in 90 days of business school. Want a history lesson about the emergence of tech companies like Apple, Intel, Cisco, Genentech, Atari? This is the movie to watch.
Perhaps the most inspiring movie about entrepreneurship of them all.
2. Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
"Good artists create, great artists steal."
A movie depicting one of the greatest rivalries of modern-day business: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates during the development of the personal computer.
3. TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (2013)
A fantastic documentary about the copyright infringement case of the world’s largest file sharing site. A dark, well-shot film. Obviously Hollywood and the media industry weren’t happy bunnies.
Europe’s largest "startup" in terms of downloads generated?
By the way, download the movie on The Pirate Bay.
4. The Startup Kids (2012)
"It’s like jumping off a cliff and having to build your own parachute" – Drew Houston, CEO Dropbox.
An upbeat documentary about young web entrepreneurs. With interviews of the founders of Vimeo, Soundcloud, Kiip, InDinero, Dropbox, and many others. Solve a problem and change the world.
5. Indie Game: The Movie (2012)
"Indie Game: The Movie" is like "The Startup Kids" for video-game makers, specifically looking at the underdogs of the gaming industry. It’s very niche but therefore also has more depth. A fantastic film capturing the ups-and-downs of individual video game producers. At the end of the day the consumer decides if they suck. No pressure.
6. Startup.com (2001)
Co-founder trouble? Everyone has it. A breathtaking behind-the-scenes of a promising startup going through what may have been the roughest phase in startup history to date: the bursting of the Internet bubble.
A tale of friendship, trust and entrepreneurial values.
7. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
Titled the corporate crime of the century. Values? I see none. Greed? There probably hasn’t been more since Gordon Gekko. Named "America’s Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years by Fortune, despite having produced no value whatsoever.
8. The Social Network (2010)
A Facebook movie, you say? Harvard, a billion-dollar idea, friends turned enemies. It’s a great film. Just watch it.
9. Who Killed The Electric Car (2006)
A documentary about the short life and early death of General Motors’ EV1. In 1996 The EV1 was one of the most innovate, environmentally-friendly vehicles on the market. You haven’t heard of it? There is a good reason for that. GM developed and killed the electric car. This film goes beyond electric cars and illustrates the power of big businesses.
10. Revenge of the Electric Car (2011)
General Motors, Nissan and Tesla Motors as the protagonists in the race to resurrect the electric car. Two of the biggest automobile companies versus a West-coast startup. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has made up his mind to change the world and make the electric car sexy.
11. Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
The story of Preston Tucker, an automotive pioneer who tried to take on the Big Three of the automotive industry. A bio of a great American visionary as told by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
12. Wall Street (1987)
"Greed is good!"
A classic must-see. The name is the game: the bull market of Wall Street in the 80s is what the dot-com bubble was in the 90s. Gordon Gekko is the ultimate, unscrupulous Wall Street antihero on one end and young Bud Fox – desperate for success – at the other. A tale of morality balancing on the tightrope between right and wrong.
13. We Live in Public (2009)
A documentary with a fascinating take on the early days of the Internet, and a biography of pioneer Josh Harris, whom you’ve probably never heard of. As the name already suggests, the film takes a close look at the loss of privacy on the Internet: Big Brother is watching you.
Thought-provoking to say the least.
14. e-Dreams (2001)
Ice-cream, porn videos and other small necessities delivered to you within an hour – free of charge. Kozmo.com raised $250 million, filed for IPO and went bankrupt, in the span of three years.
A dot-com bubble documentary portraying the rise and fall of a promising startup lacking a sustainable business model.
15. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Hollywood at its finest: Fake it till you make it! The true story of Frank William Abagnale, Jr. who conned his way into millions of dollars. Perhaps you shouldn’t follow in his footsteps, but be a hustler!
16. The Singularity (2013)
"Will we survive technology?" We will create machines with greater-than-human intelligence. Not interested in the concept of the singularity? The amazing opportunities technology provides mankind will still blow your mind.
17. All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011)
A BBC documentary series about "how humans have been colonised by the machines we have built. Although we don’t realise it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers."
18. Ctrl+Alt+Compete (2011)
"They do so because they love what they are doing. The money and success come later." But is Silicon Valley just the modern American Dream?
Insights into today’s startup scene: A documentary that takes a revealing look at the startup through the eyes of five founders. A story of passion, fortitude and insanity.
19. Jobs (2013)
We are not here to review movies. Watch it and decide for yourself. The story of Steve Jobs is a must for this list, say what you will. As one movie critic puts it: "Not a perfect film, but it is a good and worthwhile one, distilling the essence of its eponymous subject and his times."
20. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
A story about hopes and dreams. It truly captures the essential qualities every entrepreneur needs: discipline and perseverance.
"If you don’t love Shawshank, chances are you’re beyond redemption."
21. The Aviator (2004)
The film captures the story of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. The picture centers around Hughes’ life as he becomes a successful film producer and an aviation magnate.
22. Boiler Room (2000)
If selling is a sin – welcome to hell. Your ultimate guide to becoming a salesman. Need to get pumped? This is a must-watch! Hustle, close, survive!
23. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
"Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something. You want something – go get it." What more needs to be said about this movie? Although predictable, it’s an inspirational tale.
24. The Call of the Entrepreneur (2007)
"An entrepreneur is the creative force in economics." A documentary about three entrepreneurs: a NYC banker, a failing dairy farmer, and a refugee from communist China.
25. The Corporation (2003)
A documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history to its present-day dominance. "An impressive array of interviewees, from Michael Moore to Milton Friedman, give their take on modern capitalism."
It will make you think.
26. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Fierce, yet funny. A group of real-estate salesmen take part in a sales contest with no room for losers. Pressure to succeed is high. How far will you go?
27. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Okay it’s another Hollywood flick and fine it’s Tom Cruise, but it’s a solid depiction of the competitive sports industry. Work hard and stick to your values: "Because it’s not just the money I deserve. It’s not just the ‘coin.’ It’s the… kwan."
28. Office Space (1999)
Comedy classic. This movie serves more than just a handful of corporate cliches. Don’t expect some deep and poignant motion picture that will change your life, but it might just give you the necessary nudge to quit your boring day job and move on to do something more meaningful.
29. The Wolf of Wall Street
Another Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration that might teach you a few do’s…and don’t’s!
30. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
“The money you have is enough. Chris makes it crystal clear: there are no excuses left. START. Start now, not later. Hurry,” Seth Godin says.
This is actually a book – sorry to trick you. Perhaps we should also do an ultimate book list…
Did we miss any must-watch movies that you think deserve to make this list?