Who doesn’t love a good story? I sure do. Give me a thought provoking film and a tub of popcorn and I’m a happy guy.

Movies are as powerful as they are entertaining. Movies shape our perception of many things in life and can be great teaching tools as well. This is why I compiled my personal top 6 films that I encourage any aspiring entrepreneur to watch.  Some of these you just need to give a chance with an open mind and you’ll find them both very entertaining and useful.

Here they are, along with why I think you should give them a watch:

Thank You For Smoking

Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh 86%

This film follows the efforts of Big Tobacco’s chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of cigarettes using heavy spin tactics while also trying to remain a role model for his 12-year-old son. The film’s script is exceptional and Aaron Eckhart’s delivery is on the money.

Why watch it? Nick is an incredible communicator and displays the power of being able to do so. If you put aside what he is actually “selling” and see how he is selling it, you can learn some valuable lessons as a business owner. The world is not black and white and neither is sales.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh 94%

This film is probably known as the most influential sales movie of all time. Glengarry Glen Ross depicts two days in the lives of four Chicago real estate salesmen and how they become desperate when the corporate office sends a trainer to “motivate” them by announcing that in one week, all except the top two salesmen will be fired. This film is an adaptation of a David Mamet’s Tony Award winning play with the same title.

Why watch it? A few reasons. Sales is not always easy, especially when you are selling a product that doesn’t sell itself. Pacino’s character, Roma, is the most successful salesman from the bunch because he approaches sales beyond the features and facts of his product. Now, he does end up forcing the sale (which is wrong in my books) but it doesn’t diminish what we learn along the way. Oh! And Alec Baldwin is simply brilliant in the scene above that sets the stage for the whole story.

The Social Network

Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh 96%

The film, The Social Network is actually adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. The film portrays the founding of social networking website, Facebook, and the resulting lawsuits. For the record, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed his dissatisfaction with a film being made about him and noted that much of the film’s plot was not factual. Everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess. Regardless, the film won three Golden Globes.

Why watch it? Every startup has it’s challenges and this film is all about the alleged challenges that Facebook had when going from a small site on the Harvard campus to the 80 billion dollar company it is today. There are real topics of debate when it comes to business, loyalty and innovation in this film. A film worth discussing with business partners for serval reasons.

I also am finding that more and more new entrepreneurs are so quick to give up equity in their business when they really just need to hire someone to do a job. This film will show you how high tensions can get when you spread your business thin, when dishing out equity like it’s going to spoil.


Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh 94%

This film is based on Michael Lewis’s 2003 book of the same name, an account of the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt) attempts to assemble a competitive team with a very low budget. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, this film has some really profound messages when it comes to managing an organization and facing problems in innovative ways.

Why watch it? I don’t particularly love baseball but this film really made me think differently about the challenges a business faces. The way things have always been done is not always the way you should get it done. This film is based on a true story, a story about having a vision and going after it no matter how it damages your ego. A lesson we all need to learn at one time or another when building a business.

Indie Game

Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh 93%

Indie Game is a 2012 documentary film by Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot. The film documents the struggles of four independent game developers.  The film sheds a huge light on the world of independent creators and their challenges of getting their work out in the world in hopes others will enjoy their creations as well.

Why watch it? Theses independent game developers are entrepreneurs, whether they call themselves that or not. Their journey of producing a product that they hope their audience will love is one that is inspiring and heart wrenching at the same time. Years of work goes into creating their games and when it’s time to put their work out  there, you can’t help but root for them.

If I were to use one word to describe these developers it would be “dedication.” This film is a great reminder of what kind of dedication we need to have if we really want to see what we create come to life in this world. The ups and downs documented in this film really make one feel that their own struggles are not their own alone. So many lessons to be learned in this film, so give it a watch (You can find it on Netflx).

The Pursuit of Happyness

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%

Even though its Rotten Tomatoes score is not certified fresh, this movie is loved by audiences on many levels. This film is based on Chris Gardner’s (Will Smith) real life story of a salesman’s one-year struggle with homelessness. Chis is now a multimillionaire. This movie tells the story of how he changed his personal conditions to change his life forever.

Why watch it? Yes, this is a feel-good flick but there are some serious lessons about life and what it takes to achieve success, that should not be missed. This movie displays exactly what it means to work hard and persevere.

Entrepreneurship is hardly ever a walk in the park. It’s more like a hike in a wild forest with Kodiak bears and The Preditor. You will be faced with challenges- you can count on it. How you deal with those challenges will shape who you are as a person and your success as a business builder.

Bonus Viewing Pleasure

Stallone’s Personal Rocky Story

Sylvester Stallone is incredible. Period. After watching him tell his personal story, you’ll never see him the same way again. I sure don’t. This might just be better than the Oscar winning film itself. I’m going to leave it at that and leave the “why you should watch it” to you. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Here are all 4 parts:

Well, there you have it! I Let me know what other films you would add to this list and why, in the comments below. I would love to hear all about them.

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