Best Finance Documentaries

Many finance experts would agree that the most important aspects of their jobs can’t be learned in school. They all praise one thing above everything else, and that is experience. That is why it is important for all young finance professionals to watch at least some of these documentaries and learn how experts dealt with problems in the past. While they aren’t a substitute for real experience, they are nonetheless very educational and can offer a treasure trove of advice.

Inside Job


We’ll start with Inside Job, the winner of the 2010 Oscar for the best documentary. The film goes in-depth explaining the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. The authors reveal the roots of the problem, the changes of banking and finance regulation that have created conditions for the perfect storm that rocked the world in 2008. Understanding why this happened is crucial for all finance professionals and their efforts to prevent a similar situation from arising again in the future.

Life and Debt


Life and Debt explain the harsh reality of small indebted countries and how the crushing debt can cripple their economies. It follows the intervention of the European Union in Portugal and Greek economies, an effort that ultimately saved them. It also highlights the downsides of bailing out entire national economies in this matter. The film also explains the effects IMF rules have on citizens and small businesses.

25 Million Pounds


A true story of Nick Leeson, a rogue trader who brought down one of the oldest banks in England, Barings. Leeson started his career in Morgan Stanley as a trader. His exploits and criminal enterprises have made him famous and destroyed the bank that held money for many of England’s elite, including the Queen. The film presents a rare opportunity to peek into a mind of highly successful fraud and one of the most famous white-collar criminals in the world.

Hank: 5 Years from the Brink


In 2008, the entire global economy was on the brink of collapsing. One man did more than anyone else to prevent this. His name is Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. He managed to convince the United States government to spend $1 trillion in an effort to save financial institutions and bail them out, thus preventing the already massive financial crisis from becoming an even larger disaster.

Freakonomics: The Movie


While not a financial documentary per se, Freakonomics: The Movie is a must-see for everyone involved with any aspect of the economy. The film explains some obscure points that have an enormous impact on our daily lives and finds correlation and causality between seemingly unrelated data. It is an eye-opener when it comes to exploring what drives people.



The trader follows the career of Paul Tudor Jones. He is famous for accurately predicting the 1987 economic crisis. Jones was famous for his high intelligence, but also for his superstition, which prevented more people from taking him seriously. His predictions were based on Elliot Wave graphs, but also his intuition. The film shows that in the finance world, luck and intuition are as equally important as intelligence and knowledge.

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