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6 Movies like The Big Short: The Price of Greed

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Dale Barham itcherIn movies like ‘The Big Short’, ‘The Company Men’ and ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’, the price of greed is examined from a number of different viewpoints. The assertion that you have to close deals and make money is continually thrust in your face in these business worlds, but these movies don’t want to stand for that: in fact, they want to bring the whole system down. ~ Dale Barham

Get Rich or Die Trying

In the hard to believe true story ‘The Big Short’, a group of financial outsiders pick up on a trend that spells economic disaster for Wall Street. Realising they see what nobody else does, they come with a plan to capitalise on the fallout of the incoming crash. However, it’s not long before they realise the social and emotional implications of the failing system.

Christian Bale and Steve Carell are fantastic in the two lead(ish) roles here, cementing the high moral stakes which permeate ‘The Big Short’. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Director Adam McKay (who you’ll probably know from the likes of ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘Anchorman’) injects enough of his telltale humour into the story to keep it entertaining and sprightly.

For those reasons alone ‘The Big Short’ is well worth your time. It’s a fresh and often funny look into one of the most remarkable collapses of the business world. Yet it still offers a grave and morose overtone concerning the unforgivable greed of the lucky 1%.

For more movies that take a similar stance on greed and business, check out the suggestions below.

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Movies Similar to ‘The Big Short’…

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (Martin Scorsese, 2013)

Leonardo DiCaprio is sensational as Jordan Belfort in this depraved party of a movie. Based on the real life stockbroker, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ recounts how he and his trusted workers built a brokerage from the ground up and defrauded wealthy investors out of millions of dollars.

Not only were these guys crooks, they were also masters of debauchery, their offices becoming the setting for sex-fuelled parties.

It’s a brilliant movie, but would you really want these cash greedy guys handling your investment?

Similarity Match: 90%
Like ‘The Big Short’, this movie explores greed and fraud on Wall Street, but has an even wilder time doing it.

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‘Wall Street’ (Oliver Stone, 1987)

Michael Douglas is every bit as scheming and manipulative as the devil in this financial drama. He plays Gordon Gekko, a ruthless and unsparing corporate raider who takes a young stockbroker (Charlie Sheen) under his wing, teaching him all the underhanded tricks in the book.

Oliver Stone isn’t a director who’s known for holding any punches back and he follows suit with ‘Wall Street’. If you have a moral conscience, this will put you off stockbroking for life. If your ethics are completely out the window, this might show you a new line of work.

Similarity Match: 80%
This is a much more focused look at a corrupt and fraudulent figure, but the elements of greed and screwing people over are still there.

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‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ (James Foley, 1992)

Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey and Ed Harris make up a terrific ensemble cast in this smartly scripted drama about a group of real estate agents who will do anything to ensure they keep their jobs. Will they go as far as stealing leads to get an upper hand on their colleagues? You bet they will!

Based on David Mamet’s incredible play, ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ shows exactly how low people will sink in the race to make a name for themselves in the business world.

Similarity Match: 75%
They’re not on Wall Street this time, but they do occupy roles in the housing market. You’ll find ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ to be full of all the same wickedness and borderline stupidity as ‘The Big Short’.

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‘The Company Men’ (John Wells, 2010)

Ben Affleck stars as a young executive with a bright future at his company. But when his employers issue a series of layoffs, he and his colleagues (Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones) find themselves kicked to the curb. Unemployed and a little short of ideas, they struggle to adapt in a world that has torn their careers to shreds.

This is a well-crafted and adept movie that offers a look at both sides of the financial game.

Similarity Match: 65%
This time, the corporations are screwing over their own employees. This is less about how the business sector messes you around and more about how individuals cope when they’re on the receiving end of economic collapse.

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If You Like ‘The Big Short’, You Will Like…

If you enjoyed the fact that ‘The Big Short’ was centred around the financial crash of the last decade, you’ll probably enjoy some more movies that take place around the same timeframe. It was a time of uncertainty, panic and massive economic shifts – something that is inherently evident in these two suggestions.

‘Margin Call’ (J.C. Chandor, 2011)

The likes of Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto and Stanley Tucci star in the cool and calculated ‘Margin Call’. This financial thriller takes you on a ride with several of the key individuals working at an investment bank, who find themselves riding a wave of ruin during the early stages of the economic crisis.

You won’t find stockbroker types shouting and screaming at each other here, but the tension grows and grows as the characters realise exactly how severe the situation is.

Unlike ‘The Big Short’, the guys in ‘Margin Call’ aren’t quite as prepared for the downward spiral of their misfortunes. This may not play for laughs but both films depict the stress and havoc the crisis caused perfectly.

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‘Too Big to Fail’ (Curtis Hanson, 2011)

James Woods and Paul Giamatti appear alongside a number of other recognisable faces in perhaps the most weighted and balanced movie portrayal on the financial crisis so far.

Based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book, ‘Too Big to Fail’ is a frank and fair look at  the events of the 2008 crisis, following the bigwigs on Wall Street who met with regulators to figure out the federal bailout of their seemingly doomed industry.

Like ‘The Big Short’, this is heavy on the jargon of the business, but it’s a lot more balanced in its representation of the major real life players.

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I’m Completely Spent!

If you went into this article thinking that a movie on the financial crisis would be a total bore, films like ‘The Big Short’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ should go some way towards proving you wrong. It might not look like a whole lot of fun from the outset, but delve deep into the heart of this business world and you’ll find all sorts of drama, thrills and spills.

Have I missed any of your favourites?

Let me know in the comments section below!

Hi, I’m Dale and I’m a Blu-Ray addict. When I’m not obsessively fixating over the ever-growing mountain of movies taking up most of the front room, I’m usually writing about all things Hollywood. Go figure, huh? If I’m not glued to the television watching ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ for the billionth time, you can probably find me crooning in my hard-rocking blues band or having inane conversations with the resident cats.
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