In a world where numbers and spreadsheets often take center stage, it’s time for accountants and financial enthusiasts to let their hair down and embrace the cinematic side of life. Whether you’re a certified CPA, a budding finance professional, or simply someone who appreciates the magic of storytelling through film, our curated list of ’11 Movies Accountants Must Watch’ promises to entertain, intrigue, and perhaps even educate.
From financial thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat to heartfelt stories that highlight the human side of accounting, this lineup has something for every number-crunching pundit. So, grab your popcorn, settle into your favorite chair, and embark on a journey through cinema that celebrates the fascinating and sometimes unexpected intersections of money, math, and the human experience.
Here is a list of all-time great movies from different genres that every accountant must watch.
Table of Contents
1. Inside Job (2010)
Director: Charles Ferguson
This Academy Award-winning movie by Charles Ferguson is a documentary on the financial crisis 2008. It is a detailed examination of the circumstances that led to the economy’s slowdown, due to which millions of US citizens lost their jobs and houses.
This documentary covers the financial condition of the US and many other countries, such as China and Iceland, impacted by this global recession.
Accountants will appreciate the film’s detailed breakdown of credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and other financial products that played pivotal roles in the disaster.
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Director: Frank Darabont
This all-time classic movie by Frank Darabont is the story of an accountant, Andy Dufresne, who gets falsely caught in the murder of his wife and her lover. The film shows how he tries to save himself from the brutal prison life by using his financial knowledge.
From helping the prison warden with his taxes to finding out the illegal bookkeeping work inside, accountants can relate to this movie on various levels.
3. The Big Short (2015)
Director: Adam McKay
Genre: Drama/Comedy drama
An Academy Award-winning film, “The Big Short” explores the events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis and the individuals who saw it coming.
Based on a real incident, “The Big Short” delves into the complexities of the housing market collapse and how a few brilliant minds recognized the impending disaster. It’s an insightful and educational journey into the world of finance.
4. Margin Call (2011)
Director: J. C. Chandor
Genre: Drama/Indie film
Margin Call offers a gripping narrative that occurs within 24 hours at a Wall Street investment bank during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.
The film delves into the moral and ethical dilemmas financial professionals face as they navigate the financial storm. It provides an intense, behind-the-scenes look at high-stakes finance.
5. The Untouchables (1987)
Director: Brian De Palma
This drama movie by Brian De Palma is an inspiration for accountants to fight against illegal activities. It revolves around a team of accountants who exposed a famous gangster, Al Capone, and put him behind bars for tax evasion. The FBI agent Oscar Wallace is also an accountant who plays a major role in catching the criminal.
6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s relationship is said to be the most financially successful in the filmmaking industry. The legendary collaboration is back with their magic in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
It is a high-octane portrayal of the excesses and scandals in stock trading and finance. While not a typical accounting movie, it provides a wild and entertaining ride through the world of finance with a healthy dose of hedonism and intrigue.
7. The Accountant (2016)
Director: Gavin O’Connor
This entertainment-packed drama movie by Gavin O’Connor revolves around the life of an accountant- Christian Wolff, who works for illegal companies and helps them manipulate their financial records. When caught by the FBI, he takes on other legitimate clients to outsmart the FBI.
Not just movies: Check out top TV series for CPAs and Accountants
8. The Insider (1999)
Director: Michael Mann
This drama movie by Michael Mann revolves around the working of a company – Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company. It gives an insight into the company’s functionality and its politics.
It shows how accountants must make certain tough choices within the company and is a reminder for them always to make the right decision, even when it’s not the best thing to do.
9. In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts (2006)
Director: Danny Schechter
Genre: Documentary/Political cinema
This documentary by Danny Schechter is an insight into the American economy. It covers the economic and political policies that transformed the US economy, from manufacturing to dependency on borrowed money and time, eventually leading to massive debt.
The movie also shows the long-term effects of this debt that might lead to the collapse of the entire economy. It also raises ethical questions about the financial industry’s practices and the responsibility of accountants and financial professionals in ensuring ethical financial decision-making.
10. Midnight Run (1988)
Director: Martin Brest
This film series by Martin Brest is the story of a furious hunter named Jack Walsh chasing his accountant, Jonathan Mardukas, who stole $15 million from him and skipped out on a $450,000 bail posted for him.
The entire movie is a chase between the two in a comical way. And in the end, both end in a much better position than where they started.
11. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Director: Marc Forster
This film is classified as a dramedy in which the story revolves around Harold Crick, an accountant. He loves numbers and has a habit of involving counting, even in everyday tasks like brushing. The movie introduces a novelist with unfinished writing, wherein Harold is portrayed as the protagonist.
It teaches the viewers about how living one’s life to the fullest is crucial and there is much more in the world than just number-crunching.
That’s not the end
In addition to the movies listed above, there are a number of other movies that accountants may find interesting and informative. These include:
- Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) By Alex Gibney
- Too Big to Fail (2011) By Curtis Hanson
- Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) By James Foley
- Working Girl (1988) By Mike Nichols
- Office Space (1999) By Mike Judge
- Up in the Air (2009) By Jason Reitman
- The Social Network (2010) By David Fincher
- The Founder (2016) By John Lee Hancock
Lights, Camera, Finance: Unwind with These Movies
Movies have the power to shed light on the multifaceted and captivating world of accounting, finance, and the ethical dilemmas that financial professionals may encounter.
Whether you’re an accountant, a finance enthusiast, or simply intrigued by the complexities of the financial world, these films offer entertainment and valuable insights. They provide a unique lens through which to explore the intriguing, diverse, and sometimes controversial aspects of finance, making them a great addition to your watchlist.
Accounting professionals’ lives are entirely of everyday hustle and deadlines. Therefore, it is crucial to take a break from daily tasks. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and embark on a cinematic and episodic journey through the financial world.