What Stock Market Movies Are Most Realistic?


The world of stock market trading might not seem like the ideal subject for blockbuster movies, but it’s produced some excellent films that show us different sides of the industry.

Are any of them realistic enough to reflect the real-life experiences most of us have with this way of investing?

The Wolf of Wall Street – a brilliant stock market movie

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Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this 2013 movie by Martin Scorsese is based on the memoirs of Jordon Belfort, who worked as a New York stockbroker. It deals with big issues like corruption and fraud on Wall Street, with the main character going from losing his job following the Black Monday crash to making huge amounts of money selling penny stocks.

While The Wolf of Wall Street is based on a true story and it’s a look behind the scenes of the stock market that is said to be accurate according to Belfort’s memories, it doesn’t reflect the experiences that most investors have these days. The growing importance of online trading platforms means that it’s now common for investors to buy and sell online without ever speaking to a stockbroker like the character in this movie.


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

A look at the S&P 500 E-mini Futures investment shows how it’s now possible to find a wealth of information online and go through price charts to spot trends. The ES1 futures chart is based on the S&P 500, which is one of the biggest and most popular indices in the investing world. Rather than penny shares, it includes stock from the most valuable companies on the New York and NASDAQ exchanges, meaning that it provides an excellent snapshot of the overall market.

Trading Places – one of the best stock market movies

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If we go back to 1983, this comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy was one of the most successful movies about investing ever made. While no sequel or reboot of this much-loved film has yet been made, Trading Places inspired a 2022 musical where Aneesa Folds and Bryce Pinkham took on the two main roles.

This is a light-hearted movie, but its plot revolves around the serious business of insider trading and adds in enough funny moments to avoid viewers being confused or bored by issues like margin calls and future contracts. Yet, beneath the wise-cracking and slapstick moments, there are some key lessons for investors to learn here.

Some analysts have even compared the plot to the GameStop short squeeze in 2021 where regular investors used social media to make quick profits while causing hedge funds to lose money. With the sharing of information in forums and on social media now commonplace, it seems likely that more people get the chance to look for profits in this way in the future, with short squeezes on Bitcoin and silver among the possibilities most frequently mentioned.

At first glance, neither of these movies provides a particularly realistic view of the investment world, despite there being a lot of accurate details included in both of them. These films are hugely entertaining in different ways, but it’s fair to say that neither reflects the reality of modern investing that most of us now carry out online.

What do you make of this feature? Are there any stock market movies that we’ve forgotten to add to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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