Does money make for great cinema? Indeed, it does. At-home movie nights are popular these days, so if you’re looking for some fresh flicks, check out these favorites — all with a financial angle. From lighthearted comedies and insightful documentaries to Hollywood classics and inspiring true stories, we’ve rounded up 27 of the best movies about money.
Comedies: Money Movies that Bring on the Laughs
1. “Brewster’s Millions” (1985; PG; stars Richard Pryor, John Candy)
To inherit $300 million, a minor-league pitcher must spend $30 million in 30 days without wasting it, gifting it, or telling anyone. With crazy antics, he makes investments he worries will fail but end up winners thanks to the power of compound interest.
2. “The Money Pit” (1986; PG; stars Tom Hanks, Shelley Long)
An ultimate fixer-upper fiasco, this money movie defines how big an investment a home can be. A young couple thinks they’ve made the real estate deal of a lifetime by scoring a mansion for an unbelievably low price, only to discover it’s literally falling apart.
3. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2009; PG; stars Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy)
A college grad with a shopping habit ironically lands a job as a financial advice columnist. As her charges mount, she starts heeding her own advice — successfully erasing $16,000 in credit card debt.
4. “Trading Places” (1983; R; stars Eddie Murphy, Dan Ackroyd)
A petty con artist switches lives with a big-time stock market maven. But their reversal of fortune is a cruel joke by two bored, rich brothers as part of a bet. When the truth comes out, the pair hilariously beats the brothers at their own game.
5. “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1967; stars Robert Morse, Michele Lee)
In this musical-comedy, an ambitious window washer climbs the corporate ladder of the Worldwide Wicket Corp. with the help of a business book. He soon wonders if getting to the top is worth stepping on all those along the way.
6. “Other People’s Money” (1991; R; stars Danny DeVito, Gregory Peck)
A corporate raider (known as Larry the Liquidator) threatens a hostile takeover of an undervalued mom-and-pop company. But when the company founder’s lawyer stepdaughter gets involved, Larry must choose between love and money.
Documentaries: Money Movies that Teach, Explore and Focus on the Facts
7. “Inside Job” (2010; PG-13; narrated by Matt Damon)
Through wide-ranging interviews and research, this Academy Award-winning documentary uncovers the truth behind the 2008 economic crisis, how it was predicted, and how it could have been prevented.
8. “Living on One Dollar” (2013; produced by Optimist Films)
In an extreme edition of budgeting, four friends experiment with living on a dollar a day for two months in rural Guatemala — giving a unique perspective into hardship and hope.
9. “The Ascent of Money” (2009; PBS; hosted by economist & historian Niall Ferguson)
An engaging, four-part lesson into 2,000 years of financial history, this International Emmy Award-winner traces the evolution of money, with fascinating details showing how financial history is the back-story behind all history.
10. “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” (2015; produced by The Minimalists)
How might your life be better with less? That’s the question this film (and a newly released 2021 sequel, “The Minimalists: Less Is Now”) addresses through the lens of formerly high-earning professionals who chose meaning over materialism.
11. “Enron, the Smartest Guy in the Room” (2005; R; stars John Beard, Tim Belden)
Through insider accounts, this film chronicles the wrenching story of corruption and fraud that caused one of the biggest corporate collapses in history — and the many devastating, long-ranging effects it had on employees and investors.
Dramas: Money Movies that Tell Eventful Stories
12. “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008; R; stars Dev Patel, Freida Pinto)
Winner of eight Academy Awards, this tale tells the story of a Mumbai teen orphan who nearly wins the TV quiz show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Accused of cheating, a series of flashbacks reveal how past experiences led the boy to the correct answers.
13. “Wall Street” (1987; R; stars Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen)
Illustrating the greed and excesses of 1980s Wall Street, the film follows an entry-level day trader as he strives to be like powerful Wall Streeter Gordon Gekko, who mentors him through unscrupulous insider trading.
14. “The Big Short” (2015; R; stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell)
A handful of investors bet against the U.S. mortgage market in 2006-2007, only to discover the devastating depth of financial overvaluation in the subprime mortgage market. Cameo roles define impactful financial terms for viewers.
15. “Jerry McGuire” (1996; R; stars Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr.)
Hotshot sports agent (shouting the famous line, “Show me the money!”) has a moral turning point, penning a vision to colleagues that stresses “fewer clients, less money.” He’s fired but launches his own agency, facing new purpose and hard truths.
16. “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992; R; stars Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon)
Want to learn the ABC’s (“Always Be Closing”) of real estate sales? Then “put that coffee down,” and watch this dark portrayal of cut-throat and shady office culture where turmoil ensues when two agents plot to right the company's wrongs.
17. “Working Girl” (1988; R; stars Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford)
When a secretary (armed with plenty of street smarts plus a business degree) wants to advance in the big leagues of mergers and acquisitions, she engineers a mega-deal after her boss tries to steal her idea.
18. “Blue Jasmine” (2013; PG-13; stars Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin)
This Woody Allen film intricately follows a former socialite who falls on hard times after her marriage ends. Having never managed money or supported herself, she derives her worth from the way she's perceived by others — a flawed view that propels her downfall.
True Stories: The Best Movies About Money Based on Real Life
19. “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006; PG-13; stars Will Smith, Jaden Smith)
Moving, inspirational drama inspired by the true story of a San Francisco salesman struggling to build a future for himself and his 5-year-old son. Despite daunting obstacles, he somehow rises to become a Wall Street legend.
20. “The Laundromat” (2019; R; stars Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas)
When a widow gets swindled out of insurance money, her search for answers leads to two sly lawyers in Panama who hide cash for the super-rich. A real-life exposé of the Panama Papers leak.
21. “Moneyball” (2011; PG-13; Brad Pitt; Jonah Hill)
Refusing to accept “that’s the way baseball go,” Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane challenges the system, basically reinventing baseball management and outsmarting richer teams when forced to rebuild his small-market operation on a lean budget.
22. “Broke” (2012; Rakontur & ESPN Films)
In this money movie, pro athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB tell how they went broke after years of fat salaries — a surprising, post-career reality whether they were drawn into bad investments, sidelined with medical bills or mismanaged their wealth.
23. “Billionaire Boys Club” (2018; R; stars Kevin Spacey, Emma Roberts)
This thriller tells the true story of a group of prep-school boys from Los Angeles in the 1980s who, in joining together to create an investment club, end up creating a get-rich-quick scam that turns deadly.
24. “Joy” (2015; PG-13; stars Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro)
Ever bought a Miracle Mop or Huggable Hangers? Then you know Joy Mangano, the divorced mom-turned-mega-inventor who grew everyday products into a billion-dollar empire. This biographical movie portrays her entrepreneurial rise.
Classics: Money Movies with Timeless Messages
25. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946; PG; stars James Stewart, Donna Reed)
Universally loved, this masterpiece toasts George Bailey as “the richest man in town,” only after his life’s true meaning is challenged by a downward spiral tied to his uncle’s financial error in the family business.
26. “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953; stars Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall)
For a dose of old Hollywood (and a clearly old-fashioned premise), three screen legends unite to forge the movie title’s mission. In a classic twist of love vs. money, they discover a life of luxury can’t equal the worth of finding true love (with a surprise ending).
27. “A Christmas Carol” (various film remakes, from 1938 to 2009; stars have included Christopher Plummer, Jim Carrey, George C. Scott)
From Disney to MGM, many adaptations of this classic Charles Dickens story tell the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge — the elderly, penny-pinching miser who changes his ways and embraces giving back after Christmas Eve visits from a set of mysterious ghosts.