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10 Oscar-Worthy Movies Every Entrepreneur Should See

Date: February 26, 2014

Each year, Hollywood celebrates the best movies of the year at the Academy Awards. But underneath all the glitz, glam, and "who's wearing who?" there are some inspiring movies that entrepreneurs can learn from. Watching these cinematic features can actually help them think like better business owners.

Here is a list of old and new movies that we think every entrepreneur should see:

  

1) Up in the Air (2009)

– This is a story about Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) who travels around the country with his job of laying off people in other companies. A young, fresh employee Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) comes in to the company to revolutionize the current business model and rely solely on technology. 

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  Ideas for efficiency are great, but sometimes you need to understand the entire process before looking for ways to improve existing systems.

[RELATED: 4 Ways to Encourage Innovation from Within]

2) October Sky (1999)

– A young boy, Homer Hickman (Jake Gyllenhaal), and his friends become inspired by Sputnik’s orbit that he decides to learn how to build rockets. Most of the town and all believe this is a waste of time since the boys were destined to be coalminers. But one teacher Miss Riley (Laura Dern) encourages this dream and enters the boys into a National Science Fair with the prize being a college scholarship.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  It’s an inspiring story about changing your path in life to chase after your dreams. Something many entrepreneurs know very well.

[RELATED: Turning Your Hobby Into a Business]

3) Moneyball (2011)

– Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has the lowest salary available for players in Baseball. All of his star players are being picked up by bigger teams and he’s left to look at how to create a winning team without the competitive edge that money can buy. The solution is to look at statistical data and pick players based on their stats alone to fill in gaps needed on his team.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  Bootstrapping is something many small business owners are accustomed to doing. This movie shows how taking an innovative approach to an existing way of doing business when you have little to no money can beat the competition.

[RELATED: Starting a Business When You’re Broke]

4) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

– Christopher Gardner (Will Smith) is trying to support his family by selling medical devices that no one wants. He sees a chance to fight for an internship selling stocks, but its 6 months of no pay. To make ends meet, he continues to push the medical devices and becomes homeless. But he continues down the path to obtain the career he’s after. 

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  This movie shows how one man overcame obstacles and worked smarter and harder than the competition. He never lost sight of the end goal and did everything he could to realize his dreams.

[RELATED: 5 Ways to Study the Competition]

5) The Social Network (2010)

– Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), creates Facebook in his dorm room. He is later sued by classmates who claim he stole their idea and a co-founder who was squeezed out by rapid moving company.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  There’s no denying the impact Facebook has on everyday life. This is a great story about taking the idea and turning it into one of the most profitable businesses.

[RELATED: Small Business Guide to Facebook]

6) Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

- A story of a high pressure sales environment. When a new boss comes in, the veteran sales reps have to close more deals or lose their job. One of the most famous lines from the movie "A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing" shares the salesman mantra for succeeding and closing deals.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  Entrepreneurs are sales people. They have to sell their vision, product, company and purpose in everything they do. And usually closing the sale is the most difficult part, but it should always be pursued.

[RELATED: Seal the Deal: How to Close the Sale]

7) Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

– A biographical look at the men who created Microsoft and Apple. It focuses on the early days of both companies and how they differed in their operations.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have long been considered inspirational for many entrepreneurs. This movie shows their struggles, successes and how they became the founding fathers of the tech world.

[RELATED: Entrepreneurs Lose the Icon of Our Generation]

8) Rocky (1976)

– A true underdog story of a Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) who is given the chance to fight the Heavyweight Champ. He has a chance to make a better life for himself by going head to head with the competition and winning.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  Most mom-and-pop shops are the underdogs compared their Big-Box competition. However, both can be competitive and succeed in today’s marketplace.

[RELATED: 4 Ways to Compete with a Big-Box Neighbor]

9) Tommy Boy (1995)

– A family business is on the brinks of going under when the owner passes away. His slow-witted and clumsy son, Tommy (Chris Farley) is left to try to save the company by going out on the road to close sales and keep the company afloat.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  This is a hysterical movie but one lesson entrepreneurs should take away is to have a proper succession plan in place.

[RELATED: 6 Steps for Family Business Succession]

10) Flash of Genius (2008)

- An inventor, Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), battles with the US automakers over his device. All the auto giants embrace his invention and it becomes a standard on all cars. However, they do not give Kearns the credit he is due and he fights them for credit.

Why entrepreneurs should see it:  It’s important to protect your ideas from being stolen by corporate giants or the competition.

[RELATED: 10 Steps to Protect Your Great Idea]

 

Tell us: What movie would you add to this list and why?

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