Entrepreneurs and successful salespeople have almost unlimited chances to enhance their skills and abilities. With so much innovative thought and fresh research available, the opportunities to learn and improve are greater than ever.
But one source of inspiration can be surprising: movies. A great film can turn a visit to the cinema into more than just an excuse to relax. It can stimulate your mind and help bring imagination, originality, vision, and flair to your role.
I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite films below. They go beyond entertainment, set high standards, warn against greed, and exhibit the ethics you need for true and lasting success.
1. Wall Street
“It’s all about the bucks, kid. The rest is conversation.” -Gordon Gekko
For Gekko, money is just another way to keep score. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) counters his feelings towards the underhanded machinations of Wall Street stockbrokers, and changes his future forever. And we can’t forget about Michael Douglas’ turn as the iconic Gekko whose hard-ball attitude and never-give-up philosophy drive his determination to succeed, no matter what.
2. Margin Call
This film follows the goings on of an investment bank over a 24-hour period. The stage is set at the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis. And an inspirational crew of actors, including Zachary Quinto and Jeremy Irons, show how hard work and effective planning can mitigate any circumstantial evidence that might be hidden.
3. Wolf of Wall Street
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, this film follows Belfort’s drug-fueled, money-making ride to the top, and his crime-ridden, debauched fall back down, which ended in a prison term and a surprising second act.
The fast rise of a swindler is hardly a role-model for today’s professionals. But Belfort’s guile and cunning intelligence show money shouldn’t be the only driver for success.
4. Jerry Maguire
Ready to root for the good guy? Jerry shows that, against all the odds, success can be driven by values and virtue. With only two people on his side, we see how the little guy can succeed when his abilities are put to the test.
5. Glengarry Glen Ross
This film examines the relationships, disagreements, and heartaches happening behind the scenes of a New York City real-estate office.
It’s a harrowing expose of what can go wrong when the only sales leads you have are bad ones, and the pressure of simply earning a living overwhelms. If you only see one film about sales, it should be this one.
6. Boiler Room
What do you do when your dream job turns out to be your worst nightmare? In business, it might not be possible to achieve everything you want, but there are moral responsibilities that drive us more than money itself. “Boiler Room” sets out to prove that case.
7. Two for the Money
Set in the world of Vegas professional football, the gambling world is just one of the places you’ll visit in this analysis of how change happens when things seem out of your control.
Pacino and McConaughey show changes can be made by anybody if the motivation is there. Because of that, “Two for the Money” should be high on your list if you’re an aspiring hot-shot.
8. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Set in a car dealership, Don ‘The Goods’ Ready, played by Jeremy Piven, must sell over 200 cars in one weekend. Although deceitful and crafty, he shows his prowess in attitude and ability.
Don also shows success comes in many guises, and if he is to succeed, he needs to show skills that exceed what even he thought he had.
9. Erin Brockovich
Julia Roberts plays Brockovich, whose never-say-die attitude in the face of relentless opposition is an inspiration to any entrepreneur. Think the whole world is against you? Brockovich shows there’s always a way to fight back.
10. Any Given Sunday
Al Pacino is devastating as the coach who has more than just experience on his side. His character shows motivation comes from the gut and the heart, not just the head. He leads a great cast, including Cameron Diaz, LL Cool J, and Jamie Foxx, in an engaging look into the ups and downs of motivating a sports team.
What would you do if you had to win the World Series with the lowest salary bill in baseball? That’s Billy Beane’s (played by Brad Pitt) role, as he realizes value can be driven through hard work and smart strategy.
The film is inspirational and shows success doesn’t always come from one way of measuring outcomes. Entrepreneurs can gain a lot from analyzing the data streams that drive this particular business forward.