These 10 Movies Teach Valuable Money Lessons

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We all love a good movie. Movies take us on a journey and allow us to escape from reality for a couple of hours. But what if movies could teach us important money lessons? Believe it or not, many famous Hollywood films have hidden money lessons that we can learn. Here are ten Hollywood movies that will teach you valuable money lessons.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Plot

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 biographical drama film based on entrepreneur Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle being homeless. The film stars Will Smith as Gardner, a single father who goes from having nothing to pursuing his dream of becoming a stockbroker. 

Lesson

While the movie doesn't explicitly teach viewers about money, it does show how important it is to follow your dreams and never give up, no matter how difficult things may seem.

The Money Pit (1986)

Plot

The Money Pit is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. The film is about a young couple who buy a fixer-upper only to have the house quickly fall apart around them, leading to a money pit. 

Lesson

While the movie is lighthearted and humorous, it does teach a valuable lesson about the importance of being smart with your money when making significant purchases like a home.

The Big Short (2015)

Plot

The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Adam McKay and starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt. The film is based on the 2010 book of the same name by Michael Lewis about the financial crisis of 2007–2008. 

Lesson

The movie does an excellent job of explaining some of the more complex financial concepts that led to the crisis in an easy way for viewers to understand. It also highlights the importance of being skeptical and doing your research before making any significant investment decisions.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Plot

The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who ran a penny stock scam that defrauded investors out of millions of dollars. 

Lesson

While the movie glamorizes Belfort's illegal activities, it also serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and how easy it is to get caught up in white-collar crime.

Wall Street (1987)

Plot

Wall Street is a 1987 American drama film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas. The film tells the story of Bud Fox, an ambitious young stockbroker who gets involved with Gordon Gekko, a ruthless corporate raider. 

Lesson

While the movie is undoubtedly critical of the excesses of Wall Street, it also highlights the importance of hard work and integrity in business.

Bridesmaids (2011)

Plot

Bridesmaids is a 2011 American comedy film directed by Paul Feig and starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and Melissa McCarthy. The film follows a group of women who are asked to be bridesmaids for their friend's wedding. 

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Lesson

While the movie is primarily a comedic look at the stresses of being in a wedding party, it also touches on some serious financial themes, such as the cost of weddings and how they can often strain relationships.

Untouchables (1987)

Plot

Untouchables is a 1987 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro. The film is based on the true story of Eliot Ness, a federal agent who assembles a team of men to take down Al Capone. 

Lesson

While the movie is set in the Prohibition era, it still has relevant lessons about money laundering and other financial crimes.

The Social Network (2010)

Plot

The Social Network is a 2010 American biographical drama film directed by David Fincher and starring Jesse Eisenberg. The film is about the founding of Facebook and the legal disputes that followed. 

Lesson

While the movie doesn't explicitly focus on money, it highlights the importance of intellectual property and how easy it is for someone to steal an idea and make millions of it.

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Casino (1995)

Plot

Casino is a 1995 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. The film is set in the 1970s and follows the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a casino boss who runs afoul of the mob. 

Lesson

While the movie does show the glamorous side of Las Vegas, it also highlights the seedy underside of casino life and how easy it is to get caught up in greed and corruption.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Plot

The Great Gatsby is a 2013 American drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is based on the 1925 novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Lesson

While the movie is primarily a love story, it also reminds of the dangers of living beyond your means and chasing after an unattainable lifestyle.

Sunset Boulevard  (1950)

Plot

Sunset Boulevard is a 1950 American drama film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden. The film tells the story of Norma Desmond, a faded Hollywood star who becomes involved with a younger man. 

Lesson

The movie is set in the golden age of Hollywood, and it still has some relevant lessons about the dangers of letting your ego get out of control and chasing after fame and fortune.

It Could Happen to You (1994)

Plot

It Could Happen to You is a 1994 American romantic comedy film directed by Andrew Bergman and starring Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda. The film is about a New York police officer who wins the lottery and decides to split the winnings with a waitress. 

Lesson

The movie is primarily a feel-good story, and it highlights the importance of being generous and sharing your good fortune with others.

Moneyball (2011)

Plot

Moneyball is a 2011 American sports drama film directed by Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt. The movie follows Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane as he uses statistical analysis to build a competitive baseball team. The film is based on the 2003 book of Michael Lewis. 

Lesson

While the film is centered around baseball, it also has great lessons about thinking outside the box and challenging conventional wisdom.

Confessions of a Shopoholic (2009)

Plot

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a 2009 American romantic comedy film directed by P.J. Hogan and starring Isla Fisher. The film is based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Sophie Kinsella. The movie follows Rebecca Bloomwood, a shopping addict who tries to get her financial life in order. 

Lesson

While the film is primarily a light-hearted look at compulsive shopping, it also has valuable lessons about getting out of debt and living within your means.

Office Space (1999)

Plot

Office Space is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Mike Judge and starring Ron Livingston. The film is about a group of office workers who are driven to the brink of madness by their soulless jobs. 

Lesson

This movie teaches us that a job should not be soul-sucking and it should be enjoyable and something you love. Your job should always be more than just a paycheck.

The Bottom Line

Movies can be a great way to learn about money. While some movies focus explicitly on financial topics, others offer more subtle lessons about greed, corruption, and the dangers of living beyond your means. 

Whether you're looking for a light-hearted comedy or a hard-hitting drama, there's bound to be a movie that can teach you something about money.

Claire Conway
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Claire started Femme on FIRE after struggling with the debt cycle and realizing that she had to create better habits to get out of it. She became inspired along this journey and now strives to help others achieve financial freedom as well. When she isn’t working on her blog, you can find her on the couch with a good book, cooking up recipes in the kitchen, or playing outside with her ducks.