The Top Ten Trading Movies……Yeah, Don’t Think So!

Recently Futures Magazine put out a piece entitled “Top 10 Trading Movies.”  Take a look at their list.

  1. Trading Places (1983)
  2. Too Big To Fail (2011)
  3. Rogue Trader (1999)
  4. Margin Call  (2011)
  5. Boiler Room (2000)
  6. Working Girl (1986)
  7. Barbarians at the Gate (1993)
  8. Pi (1998)
  9. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
  10. Inside Job (2010)

Personally I think the list is weak in both content and order, I mean what the hell is “Pi?”  (I’ll tell you what it is, it’s some editor’s attempt to be hip; like those people who tell you about some great movie you “just have to see,” because it won Best Screenplay the Independent Spirit Awards).

You can take “Rouge Trader,” “Margin Call,” and “Too Big To Fail” off the list because they are heavy-handed docudramas.  Throw out “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and “Inside Job” because even though the events these documentaries cover are factual, the smarmy and one-sided way they are presented is a turn off.

“Working Girl?”  Do I even need to say it?

Despite the fact that “Barbarians at the Gates” is a docudrama, it is done with a light, and at times comedic touch.  It chronicles the excesses of the 80’s (in the context of the RJR Nabisco LBO) without sounding like a lecture from Barney Frank, so it stays on the list.

“Trading Places” and “Boiler Room” are no brainers.

Where the list really falls down though in my opinion is by not including “Wall Street.”  I don’t care how cliché’ it is, that movie is probably responsible for at least half the people who are reading this right now to have tried trading at some point.  (The exclusion however of awful “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” was a wise and admirable choice).

I would round the list out with “TRADER” the fascinating 1987 PBS profile piece on Paul Tudor Jones (watch it below before YouTube takes it down again).

In my book there just aren’t ten good trading related movies out there, so this is my “Top 5 Trading Movies” list.  What do you think of it and what are your suggestions?

  1. Wall Street (1987)
  2. Boiler Room (2000)
  3. TRADER (1987)
  4. Trading Places (1983)
  5. Barbarians at the Gate (1993)

* Kid Dynamite, who I have mad respect for tells me that “Pi” is in fact one of the “most underrated movies of all-time.”  Being that it is the only movie on the list I haven’t seen, I will defer to him.  Here is the trailer for it if you want to check it out.  Pi (the movie).

**Tom Morton of The Equities Room notes that “Quicksilver” is the best bike messenger/trading move of all-time.  The trailer for that is here.

Top 10 Trading Movies  (via Futures Magazine)

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  • mmcfarlin

    I’m one of the editors at “Futures.” Just wanted to pop by and say we just updated and expanded our Top Trading Movies list for 2013, and we tried to take some of your feedback into consideration. Here’s the link to the new slideshow:
    We’d love to get your opinion on how our second at bat went. Thanks.

  • Nish

    “Trading Places” has to be #1 on this list. It’s part of a holy trinity of ’80s movies that also includes “Back to the Future” and “The Karate Kid”.

    • I think Wall Street will always be #1 but TP is up there.

  • The recent documentary Floored was good as it profiled different types of floor traders with good and bad trades.

  • alphatrends

    I cannot retweet this because Rounders is not on the list.

    • Hah….coffee spitter.

      Rounders is one of my all-time favorites too.

      Let’s discuss in October over a beer or two 🙂

  • implied volatility

    Yeah, Pi more of a quant movie. Maybe quant trading movie? Either way, it is very, very brilliant and basically the start of Daren Aronofsky’s directing career.

  • Jaytrader

    I recall a cheesy movie from the ’08s called “Limit Up”. A soybean traders makes a deal with the devil. Anyone else ever seen it?

  • PastPerfomance

    Good list. Pi is a good movie, check it out. Not a trading movie though.

    My list:

    Trading Places
    Wall Street
    Margin Call
    Boiler Room

    Haven’t seen Barbarians at the Gate, gotta see it now.

    There need to be more (good) trading movies.

    • I am good with that list. TRADER is pretty awesome.

      Thanks for reading.

  • DA

    I would pound the table on “Margin Call” over Barbarians at the Gate. Awesome movie.

    • Come on, Johnathan Pryce as Henry Kravis, it doesn’t get much better than that….lol.

      Thanks for reading.

  • JOJO

    Rollover = Amazing….only real hardcore trader-philes would know it..the movie Dealers also a good flick

    • Got any links to those?

  • Ray

    Pi is an incredibly good movie, and Arronofsky’s first major feature. I only vaguely remember the trading portions of the movie, but it was about using ancient Talmudic code to trade stocks.

    I would also add Primer to this list, although it’s mainly a scifi timetravel movie. It’s a great movie about some dudes who lose there minds when they travel back in time to trade stocks knowing the future price.

    • Another vote for “Pi”. I will have to watch it.

      Thanks for reading.

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  • gregg

    Geez, I was gonna say, “Hello,Wall Street?” Money never sleeps pal. That has to be up there with Trading Places, so glad great minds think alike and you got that one.

    • Thanks buddy, now read my circumcision post.

  • Rogue Trader = underrated. Ewan MacGregor was awesome, Anna Friel was hot, and pretty good insight into how the empty suits let Leeson get away with anything as long as he was making money.

    Being good…is not good enough!

    Everyone must be connected to our strategy, or we will find you…and weed you out!

    lnformation arbitrage is our business. lf you don’t know what an information curve is, then find out! Position yourself in an information curve. Dominate the curve!
    Nick Leeson, who most of you know and all of you have heard of, runs our operation in Singapore, which l want all of you to try to emulate.

    • I am going to have to watch “Pi” I think.

      Thanks for reading.

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  • Where is the list, Brian?

    • It was basically the movies still left on that Top 10 plus Wall Street and TRADER, but I have also updated the post to list them.

  • Pi is probably the most under appreciated markets movie of all time. I’m going to give you just a little hint why: think of all of the pixels that are given to complaining about high frequency trading, and then think about what Pi was about – and how long ago it was made…

    you are wrong on this one, Brian!

    • Duly annotated above in the post.

      Thanks for the heads up.

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Brian C. Lund

Brian C. Lund

Great father. Good friend. Decent trader/writer. Lacking husband. Solid drummer. Sometimes funny. Often A-hole. Terrible poker player. Too smart. Punk rock. Work in an ice cream shop.

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