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The Best Movies About The Financial Crisis and Recession

Updated on February 15, 2017

Top Movies About The Financial Collapse

So the financial collapse that happened in 2008 was one of the biggest catastrophes to happen to the worlds economy in recent years. Since then there has been countless documentaries and fiction films that attempt to explain what happened or re-create the events that lead up to the collapse in an interesting way. This Hubpage will talk about some of the best ones. These are great to know if you want to teach yourself or your kids about what happened. This will forever be a big part of US history that we all lived and are living through right now, so understanding what happened is really important.

Without further ado, here is the list. Enjoy!

Margin Call (2011)

This is a semi-fictional movie about the night before the financial collapse happens. An analyst at a large financial firm works late one night on the company's portfolio analysis software, a mortgage performance monitoring and management software, and finds out that this particular company is right on the edge of this collapse. What follows is the series of tense meetings with the heads of this financial group to discuss how this happened and if they should be the "first out the door" or not. The film is really driven by its great cast with Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker and Jeremy Irons.

Margin Call Trailer

Collapse (2009)

This is more than just a documentary about the events leading up to the financial collapse of 2008. The story follows, Michael Ruppert, a journalist who has made a job out of "telling people news that most folks do not want to know." Using some of credit risk analysis, a tool that transform loan data into business intelligence for credit and mortgage risk management, among other things, he predicted the Wall Street crash in 2008 three years before it happened. This was at a time when most financial experts we seeing unprecedented growth, so the very idea of a collapse was lunacy. Ruppert goes on to explain how he figured out the collapse would happen and then gives a somewhat bleak prediction of what the future might hold if things do not change. The movie was released with critical acclaim and still holds a very high rating, 81%, on

Collapse Trailer

Inside Job (2010)

This is a 2010 documentary about the financial crisis in 2008. the film is narrated by Matt Damon, and the films director, Chris Furgison, is quoted as saying it is about "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption." Inside Job, discusses how policy changes over the past couple decades opened the door to this inevitable meltdown. The way the information is laid out provides an easy to understand way.

Inside Job Trailer

Everything Must Go (2010)

Alright so this movie is not directly related to the financial collapse, but it is indirectly related. Will Ferrell's character gets laid off as a result of the bad economy. He then is in the process of getting a divorce and his wife locks him out of the house, leaving all of his stuff outside. He is forced to have a massive "Yard Sale" to sell everything. What follows is a humorous look, one that only Will Ferrell can provide, at a man truly down on his luck right in the thick of the recession.

Everything Must Go Trailer

I.O.U.S.A. (2008)

Michael Rechtshaffen of the The Hollywood Reporter was quoted as saying "This smartly assembled wake-up call concerning the nation's lousy spending habits proves to be as unexpectedly spirited as it is dispiriting."This documentary presents the nations massive and growing debt (now $5 Trillion) in a smart and somewhat easy way to understand for the layperson. People were talking about this during before the Great Recession of 2008, but now the issue is even more important.

I.O.U.S.A. Trailer

The Company Men (2010)

Directed by John Wells (TV's The West Wing, ER), 2011's The Company Men examines the impact of corporate layoffs on the personal lives of those effected. The film does an excellent job painting a complete picture of how massive layoffs changed the corporate culture, from the executives doing the firing to the employees who are downsized and struggle to find work else ware. Bob Mondello of NPR describes the film positively, saying "When it comes to the emotional state of those being laid off, of their families and even of those doing the laying off, it gets things right enough to make audiences squirm." The film stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, and Tommy Lee Jones.

The Company Men Trailer

Too Big To Fail (2011)

Fans of The Inside Job will really enjoy this HBO film based on Andrew Ross Sorkin's nonfiction work. Taking place in the early stages of the collapse, the film includes roles of real life executives and politicians like Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Dick Fuid, and Timothy Geither. The film received 11 emmy nominations with help of an all-star cast including William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, James Woods, and Billy Crudup. While some details are omitted in favor of entertainment, the overall tone of the film reflects the financial climate during that time.

Too Big to Fail Trailer

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

This is a documentary film directed, written and starring Michael Moore. Not only does the film center around the late 2000s financial crisis, it covers topics like Wall Street's "casino mentality", for-profit prisons, the poverty-level wages of many workers, the large wave of home foreclosures and much more. Michael Moore also discusses Capitalism obviously since the word is featured in the title of the film. The film stars many public figures like Sarah Palin and Jimmy Carter.

Capitalism: A Love Story Trailer

Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air was directed by Jason Reitman and co-written by Reitman and Sheldon Turner. The film was based on the same novel name written by Walter Kirn. The film follows Ryan Bingham played by George Clooney a corporate downsizing expert and his travels. The movie earned six Oscar nominations and made over $160 million worldwide.

Up in the Air Trailer

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

This is Oliver Stone’s belated sequel to the film Wall Street (1987). The sequel follows Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, who works with his future son-in-law played by Shia LaBeouf to take down a Wall Street enemy and rebuild his empire. Although the reviews were mediocre, the film brought in over $130 million worldwide. The movie also stars Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan and Frank Langella.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Trailer

Some of these movies are fiction and some are non fiction. Both provide a pretty good look in what happened, why it happened and the effects the collapse and recession had on everyone here in the USA.

Of course i'm sure that this list is probably not totally complete. So if you know of any movies I might have missed from the US or Internationally let me know and I'll be glad to update the list.

What are some of the films you have seen that deal well with this issue? The financial colapse and the subsequent recession was one of the worst this country has ever seen. So these films not only serve as a reminder as to what happened and who it effected, but also as a tribute to how the US and Global economy is fighting through and recovering.

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Awesome Finance Movies before the 2008 Financial Crisis

There were a lot of great movies made after the 2008 financial crisis but there were also many great movies made before the 2008 financial crisis. Most finance films were about Wall Street and the different aspect of the industry. In the next section, find out if your favorite movie made the list.

1. Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places is an American comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. The film is about two brothers who have changed the life around for Louis Winthrope III, a managing director, who is played by Dan Aykroyd and Billy Ray Valentine, a poor street hustler, who is played by Eddie Murphy, when they used the two men for an experiment. They wanted to switch the role of these two men on the opposite ends of the social hierarchy and observe the results. The film was inspired for new regulations for the financial markets almost 30 years after its release in 2010.

2. Wall Street (1987)

Wall Street is an American drama starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah and Martin Sheen. The film is about Bud Fox, who is played by Charlie Sheen, desperately wants to become successful but then becomes involved with a wealthy corporate raider, who is played by Michael Douglas. The sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, came out almost 20 years later with a brief cameo role of Charlie Sheen’s character Bud Fox and the addition of Shia LaBeouf and Josh Brolin.

3. Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

The movie was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe. The film stars Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith and Kim Cattrall. The film is about a wall street investor named Sherman McCoy, played by Tom Hanks, and Maria Ruskin, played by Melanie Griffith, made a wrong turn and drove into the “war-zone” of the South Bronx and run over one of the black youths. They drove away and decide not to report the accident to the police and then a journalist recognizes Mr. McCoy was the hit-and-run driver.

Top Documentaries about the Financial Crisis

Since we have been looking at great movies that cover the financial crisis, here are some great documentaries that cover the 2008/2009 financial crisis as well. Many people have made parallel comparison to the crash of 1929 and the financial crisis of 2008. The economic dent is slowly recovering and many wish it would not happen again. Check out these documentaries to learn how the financial crisis has impacted various aspect people or banks that were affected.

1. Meltdown

The Meltdown is a four-part documentary created by Al Jazeera about the insights into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. The installments focus on events that lead up to the crisis and early stages of the crash. It also touches on the collapse of Bear Stearns and then Lehman Brothers. For the first episode, it discusses the four men who brought down the economy. So what went wrong?

2. Breaking the Bank

The Breaking the Bank documents the story of Bank of America when Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, has to deal with what it seems like a nightmare that never ends. Ken Lewis was faced with a stock collapse; a rocky merger; the worst fourth-quarter losses in at least 17 years; a stockholder revolt. It was the worst time when Ken Lewis agreed to buy Merrill Lynch and the financial crisis happened.

3. The Fall of Lehman Brothers

The collapse of the Lehman Brothers was probably one of the most prominent moments happened during the financial crisis. Some thought they deserved it while others thought it was a mistake. Dick Fuld, CEO of Lehman Brothers, was deemed as the hated symbol of Wall Street investment bankers. The documentary follows the collapses of Lehman Brothers and how investment banks were affected by the crisis.

4. How the Banks Never Lose

This documentary focuses on the financial crisis in the United Kingdom and the events that lead up to the collapses of the banking system. Also, the documentary follows the investigation of how bank chiefs have allowed this to happen and if lessons were learnt from previous financial crisis to deal with this current problem. Moreover, James Max, a former investor banker, is also featured in the documentary to track down authoritative banking bosses that can be held accountable for the fail.

5. The Boom & Bust Years (The Age of Risk)

The Boom and Bust Years is a BBC documentary where they follow the development of the financial system, policies and conditions that lead to the boom and bust of the financial crisis. The documentary focuses on the booming years of the financial system in the United Kingdom. The documentary also features Gordon Brown, governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King, and Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve.



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