10 Must Watch Documentaries for Finance Professionals (2022)

Fast deals. Fancy cars. Wads of cash. Rich brokers. Unscrupulous executives. What do these things have in common? They're often found in some of the biggest blockbuster hits about the financial industry. Hollywood has a long history of sensationalizing the industry and the professionals who take part in it. If you're not convinced, watch films like Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street.

While these types of movies definitely offer high entertainment value, they don't necessarily provide an accurate depiction of what it's really like to be a professional in the world of finance. Instead, they tend to provide a skewed view of the financial sector. But there are big-screen movies that actually try to show how life really is for financial professionals and their clients.

Here, we take a more realistic approach that writers and directors explore through documentary films. For current finance professionals looking to increase their skills, or for aspiring professionals looking to break into the industry, finance documentaries are a great way to gain insight and knowledge. The following is a list of 10 of the most important documentaries that should be on your must-watch list.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial professionals should always educate themselves and learn from others.
  • Although many people choose to go to a seminar or read a book, it may be easier to just watch a film.
  • Hollywood films don't always present an accurate picture of reality—so take what you see with a grain of salt.
(Video) Top 10 Finance & Economic Documentaries

1. Inside Job (2010)

Inside Job is one of the most well-done and informative documentaries on the 2008 housing and banking financial crisis. The movie won the 2010 Oscar for the best documentary picture.

Broken down into five parts, the film takes the viewer through the U.S. policy changes and banking practices that led to the global financial crisis. It begins by highlighting how the economy was set up to fail, how the bubble grew between 2001 and 2007, how the crisis struck in 2008, and who was accountable for the crisis, before wrapping up the aftermath.

This is one of the most important documentaries for finance professionals. Through an understanding of the history of one of the largest financial crises, it's possible to learn from past mistakes to foresee when something like this can happen again and prevent it from happening.

2. Trader (1987)

The film Trader follows trader Paul Tudor Jones, showing him at his best as well as his worst. Jones, a hedge fund manager, accurately predicted the 1987 economic downturn based on both intuition and Elliott Wave graphs.

(Video) 10 Must Watch Movies For Finance Professionals | Binspired

While Jones is extremely intelligent, he's also extremely superstitious. This highlights the fact that many people within the investment finance industry rely on luck just as much as they do on skill and analytics. Sometimes it takes guts along with analysis to make the correct investment decision.

The documentary also follows Jones as he donates his time and money to help New York City children graduate from high school. This underscores the importance of giving back to the community, rather than succumbing to greed.

3. 25 Million Pounds (1996)

Watch 25 Million Pounds to learn the true story of Nick Leeson, a British trader who started his career as a Morgan Stanley clerk and ended up breaking the law as a rogue trader who brought down Barings, an old British bank. This bank held money for the high-powered elite, including the Queen herself. The true story was so compelling that it also inspired the film Rogue Trader, which starred Ewan McGregor.

Through interviews with Leeson in the early 1990s, 25 Million Pounds allows finance professionals a chance to peer into the mind of someone who dealt with dishonest traders and even committed fraud himself. The interviews highlight Leeson's relationship with the trader Kweku Adoboli, who was found guilty of making unauthorized trades that cost the Swiss Bank UBS a $2 billion loss.

4. Breaking the Bank (2009)

PBS has a series of documentaries produced under the Frontline banner including Breaking the Bank. Viewers are able to get an understanding of the American banking crisis that led to nearly $500 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds distributed to American banks because of their reckless management. These funds injected cash into the American banking system, ensuring that none of the largest institutions would fail.

(Video) The 10 Must-Watch Movies for Finance Professionals

While some argue that the bailout that saved the large American banks from collapsing was necessary, others counter, saying the program subverted free enterprise and capitalism. Understanding the intricacies of the American banking crisis gives finance professionals a better understanding of the interwoven economy and how the free market reacts to a crisis.

5. The Ascent of Money (2008)

Finance professionals interested in the complete financial history of the world should definitely put The Ascent of Money on their list of documentaries to watch. Historian Niall Ferguson takes viewers through a complete history of the financial world, from the ancient city of Babylon all the way to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Understanding the deep financial history of the world gives finance professionals a greater perspective and understanding of how the finance world operates. The Ascent of Money tries to accomplish this by highlighting milestones such as the Babylonian futures contracts and Francisco Pizarro's exploitation of the Cerro Rico de Potosí—a mine that yielded silver for Europe.

Financial documentaries like the ones on this list help give aspiring and current professionals perspective and a better understanding of finances and the economy.

(Video) Money, Power and Wall Street, Part One (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

6. Commanding Heights (2002)

Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy provides a thorough understanding of the world economy for financial professionals. This film highlights the birth of globalization. Similar to the deep history highlighted in the previous film, this documentary delves deeper into the beginning of globalization by first taking the viewer into Russia and behind the Iron Curtain.

From there, Commanding Heights presses on to highlight events such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank's response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The film continues its journey through the end of the 20th century when deregulation became prevalent.

7. Life and Debt (2001)

Life and Debt is a documentary film that highlights how indebtedness makes a bad situation worse for small countries. Through an understanding of the European Union's rescue of floundering countries such as Greece and Portugal, the film gives finance professionals food for thought about the benefits and drawbacks of bailing out entire countries through debt lending. Life and Debt also takes a closer look at the effects of national indebtedness and IMF policy on ordinary citizens and local businesses.

8. Other Frontline Documentaries

Similar to Inside Job and Frontline's Breaking the Bank, these documentaries help highlight the 2008 financial crisis, the largest recession since the Great Depression. Inside Job does a great job of giving a high-level overview of the 2008 crisis while also providing entertainment value, but these PBS documentaries really dig into the causes and effects.

(Video) Larry Fink - The Most Powerful Man in Finance | A Documentary

9. The Warning (2009)

For finance professionals, The Warning shows that it's possible to foresee a financial crisis and work to keep it from happening. This film takes a look at the 2008 financial crisis, but it does so from a different angle. It picks up the story of Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), who urged for tighter regulation that could have mitigated the crisis.

10. Freakonomics: The Movie (2010)

While Freakonomics isn't strictly a movie about the financial industry itself, it brings to light a lot of interesting theories about why people behave the way they do. By taking seemingly random data points, the documentary shows how causality and correlation can be made between the two. For finance professionals, it's extremely important to understand what drives people.


What is considered the best documentary of all time? ›

Best documentaries of all time
  1. Shoah (1985) ...
  2. Sans Soleil (1983) ...
  3. The Thin Blue Line (1988) ...
  4. Night and Fog (1955) ...
  5. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) ...
  6. Dont Look Back (1967) ...
  7. The War Game (1965) ...
  8. Nanook of the North (1922)
22 Mar 2022

Where can I find academic documentaries? ›

Documentaries are insightful and educational.
Best websites for free educational documentaries
  • Netflix. ...
  • Internet Archive. ...
  • Top Documentary Films. ...
  • Documentary Heaven. ...
  • Documentary Mania. ...
  • Watch Documentaries. ...
  • Documentary Storm.
24 Sept 2022

What is a CFA in film? ›

Creative Film Awards is welcoming highly creative commercials, short films, and music videos! CFA is an IMDb qualifying festival with a bi-monthly selection system.

Where can I find good documentaries? ›

  • Kanopy. Best for Educational and Family Content. ...
  • Netflix. Best for Blockbuster Documentaries. ...
  • CuriosityStream. Best for HD & 4K Documentaries. ...
  • Hulu. Best for Celebrity Biopics and Entertainment Insiders. ...
  • Amazon Prime Video. Best for Political Documentaries. ...
  • History Vault. ...
  • MagellanTV. ...
  • PBS Documentaries.

What do you call a person who loves documentaries? ›

The term is a portmanteau of the words cinema and philia, one of the four ancient Greek words for love. A person with a passionate interest in cinema is called a cinephile (/ˈsɪnɪfaɪl/), cinemaphile, filmophile, or, informally, a film buff (also movie buff).

Are there any good documentaries on Netflix? ›

  • Wild Babies.
  • Our Planet.
  • 72 Dangerous Animals: Asia.
  • Inside the World's Toughest Prisons.
  • Inside the Mind of a Cat.
  • Night on Earth.
  • 72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America.
  • Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes.

Does Netflix have educational documentaries? ›

Some Netflix original educational documentaries are available for one-time educational screenings. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings, visit media.netflix.com and search for the title or browse our recent and upcoming releases.

What is educational documentary? ›

An educational film is a film or movie whose primary purpose is to educate.

Why are documentaries important in education? ›

A short documentary story can increase students' literacy with connections to a source, to self, and to the world. Just as students use quotes from a book or text to prove an analytical thought, students use the film as a source to justify their reasoning.

Which movie is about the 2008/09 crisis? ›

The Big Short

Based on the famous book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, this movie follows a few people who predicted the housing bubble that triggered the financial crisis in 2008, and used this opportunity to bet against the American people and their homes.

What is margin call based on? ›

Margin Call is Based on the collapse of Lehman Brothers during the financial meltdown of 2008. The movie depicts a realistic take on what happens inside a Wall Street firm. It is about a company that is downsizing its workers because of the firm's crisis. One of the victims of downsizing is Eric Dale.

How many Wall Street movies are there? ›

Wall Street

What are the 6 types of documentaries? ›

What Are Documentary Modes? In 1991, American film critic and theoretician Bill Nichols proposed that there were six different modes of documentary—poetic, expository, reflexive, observational, performative, and participatory—each containing its own specific characteristics.

Where can I watch high quality documentaries? ›

Hulu, Netflix, PBS Documentaries, and Prime Video offer the most complete device support.

Is Curiositystream better than Netflix? ›

But if you compare Curiosity Stream's entire library to, say, Netflix's slate of documentaries, Curiosity's 2,000+ catalog more than doubles what you'll find on Netflix. There is a lot of similar content between the two, but there's no cross-over between films.

What do you call a person who watches movies every day? ›

The word is cinephile or cinemaphile: Cinephilia is the term used to refer to a passionate interest in cinema, film theory and film criticism. The term is a portmanteau of the words cinema and philia, one of the four ancient Greek words for love.1 A person with a passionate interest in cinema is called a cinephile. [

How do you become a documentarian? ›

How to become a documentarian
  1. Get a bachelor's degree. While some documentarians start their careers without going to college first, many pursue bachelor's degrees in film or cinematography. ...
  2. Identify a documentary subject. ...
  3. Make a documentary. ...
  4. Promote your documentary. ...
  5. Submit your work to production companies.
17 Mar 2022

What are the top 10 on Netflix right now? ›

Most Popular on Netflix: A Look at Today's Top 10
  • TV Series.
  • Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
  • El Rey Vicente Fernández.
  • The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist.
  • Cobra Kai.
  • In the Dark.
  • Movies.
  • Lou.
19 Sept 2022

Where can I watch the doc documentary 2022? ›

Youtube the Documentary, a documentary movie is available to stream now. Watch it on Tubi - Free Movies & TV on your Roku device.

What documentaries are currently on Netflix? ›

Popular on NetflixExplore more
  • Inside the Mind of a Cat.
  • Girl in the Picture.
  • Puff: Wonders of the Reef.
  • Our Father.
  • Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb.
  • Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed.
  • The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes.
  • Britney Vs Spears.

What should I watch on Netflix to get smarter? ›

8 Netflix Shows That Will Instantly Make You Smarter
  • Criminal Minds. Screenshot taken by the author. ...
  • Grey's Anatomy. Screenshot taken by the author. ...
  • Breaking Bad. Screenshot taken by the author. ...
  • How to Get Away with Murder. Screenshot taken by the author. ...
  • Ozark. Screenshot taken by the author. ...
  • Narcos: Mexico. ...
  • Reign. ...
  • Forensic Files.
3 Sept 2020

What should I watch for education? ›

Best educational Netflix shows for elementary school
  • Ask the Storybots. The only thing more curious than the bots are kids. ...
  • Brainchild. This science-based show answers all sorts of questions kids tend to ask. ...
  • Emily's Wonder Lab. ...
  • If I Were an Animal. ...
  • The Magic School Bus. ...
  • The Most Unknown. ...
  • Numberblocks. ...
  • Octonauts.
28 Mar 2022

Do I need a license to show a Netflix movie? ›

Q We show movies, TV, and other audiovisual content via DVD, Blu-Ray, download, stream, over the air broadcast, cable, or satellite TV. Do we still need a license to view or show it in public? A Yes. The content obtained in all those ways is meant for personal, private use only and is not meant for showing in public.

What are the benefits of watching documentaries? ›

The truth is that watching documentaries provides a perfect way of expanding your knowledge and get to learn about what is happening around the world. Documentaries provide insights into little-known aspects. Therefore, documentary films provide you with an opportunity to open your mind and challenge your thinking.

Why is documentary important? ›

“Documentary films tell important, often unknown stories and bring awareness to a wider audience, and are some of the best resources for information, inspiration and entertainment. They have also become core elements and prompters of social issue campaigns.”

What is the real life application of documentary? ›

1. Educational- Many documentaries are made to spread awareness about important issues like the impact of global warming on nature or marine life or the new technology available to farmers today. 2. Instructional- Documentaries also function to record the methodology or steps of a process.

What is an example of documentary film? ›

Examples of such documentaries include Kony 2012, Salam Neighbor, Gasland, Living on One Dollar, and Girl Rising.

Do documentaries have opinions? ›

It is an account of a subject told from the filmmakers' point of view. They are often very persistent in their search for facts and opinions from people who have direct experience with the subject or are involved in the story. As a result, the message of a documentary is often very involved and multi-layered.

Is Margin call a true story? ›

The film does not mention or name any real-life characters or real history, but the reference to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 is clear in every aspect, including CEO Tuld's final speech to Sam, in which Tuld lists all the major financial crises in the world.

Who discovered the 2008 financial crisis? ›

President of S&P Kathleen Corbet. While other rating agencies followed similar practices to Standard & Poor's in the run-up to the crisis, Corbet was the most high profile of the agency leaders. Time Magazine named her one of the top 25 people to blame for the financial crisis.

What led to 2008 financial crisis? ›

The collapse of the housing market — fueled by low interest rates, easy credit, insufficient regulation, and toxic subprime mortgages — led to the economic crisis. The Great Recession's legacy includes new financial regulations and an activist Fed.

Who went to jail for 2008? ›

Kareem Serageldin

Does Lehman Brothers still exist? ›

The bank whose collapse marked the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis is only mostly dead. These are the people attending to its last remains ahead of its final court cases.

What did Lehman Brothers do wrong? ›

Lehman's stock fell sharply as the credit crisis erupted in August 2007 with the failure of two Bear Stearns hedge funds. During that month, the company eliminated 1,200 mortgage-related jobs and shut down its BNC unit.5 It also closed offices of Alt-A lender Aurora in three states.

Is The Wolf of Wall Street a true story? ›

The overall story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont, as presented in Scorsese's film, is true to life. Belfort was violating probably hundreds of laws at any given time, most of which involved defrauding his shareholders and manipulating the stock of dozens of companies.

What should I watch after margin call? ›

  1. Wall Street (1987)
  2. Margin Call (2011) ...
  3. Boiler Room (2000) ...
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) ...
  5. Trading Places (1983) ...
  6. Rogue Trader (1999) ...
  7. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) ...
  8. American Psycho (2000) ...
6 Sept 2022

Which movie is based on stock market? ›

Here is a list of some of the best stock market movies in Hindi and English for anyone who is wondering how to make a career in the stock market.
The 10 Stock Market Movies You Must Watch
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) ...
  • Bazaar (2018) ...
  • The Big Short (2015) ...
  • Gafla (2006) ...
  • Trading Places (1983) ...
  • Wall Street (1987)

What is considered the best documentary of all time? ›

Best documentaries of all time
  1. Shoah (1985) ...
  2. Sans Soleil (1983) ...
  3. The Thin Blue Line (1988) ...
  4. Night and Fog (1955) ...
  5. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) ...
  6. Dont Look Back (1967) ...
  7. The War Game (1965) ...
  8. Nanook of the North (1922)
22 Mar 2022

What is the highest grossing documentary film of all time? ›

All Time Worldwide Box Office for Documentary Movies
12009Michael Jackson's This Is It
21984Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets
32004Fahrenheit 9/11
42010Jackass 3D
69 more rows

How do you find good documentaries? ›

Another award-winning PBS documentary series, these excellent documentaries capture the people, stories and events from America's past.
  1. Filmmakers, Submit Your Documentary To PBS.
  2. Top Documentary Films. This is a another hub for a variety of documentaries. ...
  3. Internet Archive. ...
  4. Hulu. ...
  5. YouTube. ...
  6. Vimeo. ...
  7. Amazon. ...
  8. OWN Documentary Club.

Which is the best documentary channel? ›

YouTube5 Documentary Channels on YouTube you can't miss!
  • Vice. With about 8 million subscribers, Vine has undoubtedly been audience's one of the best choices. ...
  • National Geographic. A very well-known media network, Nat Geo has never failed to inspire people to care about the planet, Earth. ...
  • BBC News. ...
  • Real Stories. ...
  • The Guardian.

Which is better Wondrium or CuriosityStream? ›

There's a streaming service focused on documentaries called CuriosityStream that costs as little as $20 per year. It's fairly similar to Wondrium, except that Wondrium has more lecture-style content, whereas CuriosityStream tends to look more like episodic television.

Is CuriosityStream free with Prime? ›

Q: Is CuriosityStream free on Amazon Prime Video? A: While it is available as an Amazon Prime Video channel, you will have to pay for the service after its seven-day free trial. There are certain programs that are available as free via Amazon Prime Video, however, including A Stitch in Time.

Is Nebula any good? ›

As it stands, due to an overall lack of content, parental controls, and tools, Nebula is far from being useful to either viewers or creators, and is definitely not worth a $5 subscription fee.

What does a good documentary have? ›

A good documentary shows people from a different perspective than they're used to seeing in the media. It opens people's minds and hearts to the struggles of other people in the world. It makes people question the way things are and the way they should be.

Where can I watch Sans Soleil? ›

Sans Soleil, a documentary movie is available to stream now. Watch it on The Criterion Channel on your Roku device.

Is use me a real documentary? ›

Use Me is a fictional documentary style thriller that's been doing the festival circuit for a while. It's written, directed by and stars Julian Shaw, and adult internet star Ceara Lynch.

How do you find a documentary? ›

Watch Free Documentaries Online
  1. Filmmakers, Submit Your Documentary To PBS.
  2. Top Documentary Films. This is a another hub for a variety of documentaries. ...
  3. Internet Archive. This is a phenomenal collection of free public domain movies, films, videos and television clips. ...
  4. Hulu. ...
  5. YouTube. ...
  6. Vimeo. ...
  7. Amazon. ...
  8. OWN Documentary Club.

What is the main idea of documentary? ›

Defining Documentary

"Documentaries bring viewers into new worlds and experiences through the presentation of factual information about real people, places, and events, generally -- but not always -- portrayed through the use of actual images and artifacts.

What are the 6 types of documentaries? ›

What Are Documentary Modes? In 1991, American film critic and theoretician Bill Nichols proposed that there were six different modes of documentary—poetic, expository, reflexive, observational, performative, and participatory—each containing its own specific characteristics.

What are the 5 elements of a good documentary? ›

Documentaries are a unique form of storytelling that can be used to educate and inform audiences on a variety of topics. To make a documentary effective, it is important to include five essential elements: a strong story, compelling characters, interesting visuals, accurate information, and a clear message.

What are the four essential elements of the documentary? ›

Elements of a Documentary Film
  • Subjects. The subject is what your documentary is about. ...
  • Purpose. The purpose is what the filmmaker is trying to say about the subjects of their film. ...
  • Form. The form is the formative process of the film. ...
  • Production method and technique. ...
  • Audience experience.
14 Jul 2020

What is Sans Soleil mean? ›

English Translation. without sun. More meanings for sans soleil. sunless.

How can I watch Sans? ›

Right now you can watch Sans Soleil on Criterion Channel.

Is Sans Soleil documentary? ›

Sans Soleil (French pronunciation: ​[sɑ̃ sɔlɛj]; "Sunless") is a 1983 French documentary film directed by Chris Marker.


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