Top 10 Greatest Business Movies

Hooray for Hollywood, especially when the feature attraction is small businesses. A good movie can inspire you to reach new heights or provide a needed break from a hectic day. Get your cinema on and stream one of these must-see movies about small businesses. Think of it as a two-hour business seminar that recharges your batteries and teaches you something new about running a small business.

Big Night

Two brothers start a restaurant—one a chef and the other a businessman. The chef has a passionate vision of which dishes should be on the menu. It turns out his culinary choices were unpopular with customers. The two brothers compromise and stage one final night to keep the business afloat.

Why you should watch it: This is a good reminder to focus on what the customer actually wants, not what you think they want.


A frustrated chef loses his job after a videotaped argument with a food critic goes viral. He starts a food truck business specializing in Cubanos sandwiches. Together with his young, media-savvy son, they embark on a tour of the country to rediscover his culinary passion. 

Why you should watch it: It demonstrates the use (and misuse) of social media and the impact it can have on promoting a new business.


This documentary film tells the story of five tech start-ups through the eyes of the founder and their teams. It chronicles the challenges start-ups face in taking an idea and turning it into a going concern.

Why you should watch it: This movie may validate the everyday struggles you face in your own business and inspire you to keep moving forward to achieve success.


This award-winning film portrays the real-life story of Joy Mangano and the struggle to get her revolutionary cleaning product to the market. Eventually, she finds a market on QVC and it takes off. Now, she is a millionaire with hundreds of patents to her name.

Why you should watch it: This is a great study in the obstacles entrepreneurs can face balancing family and business demands to achieve success.


Inspired by a true story about Billy Beane (Oakland A’s general manager) and his successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Why you should watch it: This film demonstrates the value of having team members with diverse talents who can solve old problems in new ways.

The Founder

The story of Ray Kroc, the salesman who turned McDonalds into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world. He didn’t start the business, but he understood its potential and fought the status quo to find a business model that would be profitable on a grand scale.

Why you should watch it: While you may not agree with his ethics, this is a story of the tenacity needed to grow a business.

The Pursuit of Happyness

This is a true story of a man who invests in an overpriced product that under delivers. It leads to the breakup of his family and financial hardship. As a single father, he set his sights on an unpaid internship as a stockbroker while still trying to earn a living selling his remaining inventory. 

Why you should watch it: This is a study in focusing on your long-term goals and being resilient in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

This 2001 documentary traces the birth and failure of a real-life website, It explores how they were able to raise $60 million in venture capital. A failing economy, competition and conflicts with the business partner/friends contribute to their eventual crash.

Why you should watch it: This is a good case study in funding a new business and the interplay between partners in making ongoing management decisions.

Up In The Air

Travelling the country to fire people, this corporate downsizer defines success as reaching 10 million frequent flyer miles. His career goal is challenged when he meets a fellow frequent flyer and is forced to reassess his priorities.

Why you should watch it: It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your job that you lose sight of what’s really important. This is a reminder to focus on meaningful priorities.

You've Got Mail

This is a classic story of a local, independent bookstore owner competing with the new big box megastore opening in the neighborhood. Unwittingly, the owner and a rep for the big store communicate with each other via email as the battle ensues.

Why you should watch it: This is a good reminder to compete based on a sustainable competitive advantage. In this case, it should have been local service, not price. 

Movies have a way of transporting people outside of their world. They come back looking at things a little differently. Change your scene with these movies about running a business.

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