Lessons from the Silver Screen

Lessons from the Silver Screen

The temperatures are dropping which gives you the perfect excuse to stay indoors. Use this time as an opportunity to relax and recharge with some of the best business movies to cross the silver screen! Below are six classics — and modern classics — that will help you unwind and feel excited to get back to the grind.


Thank You for Smoking, 2005

Selling a product you might not be enthused about? Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking, tells the story of a Big Tobacco lobbyist and a spin doctor’s crusade to prevent legislation to require a skull and crossbones on every tobacco product. An engaging comedy and accurate satire, Thank You for Smoking gives a clear view into the rhetoric and nuances of sales, marketing and influence.

Glengarry Glen Ross, 1992

A-B-C. Always. Be. Closing. Alec Baldwin’s now famous “motivational” speech has captivated millions and spurred down-on-their-luck salesmen to hit the pavement. However, the rest of Glengarry Glen Ross tells a troubling tale of what people are capable of when their backs are against the wall. With a ticking clock and no room for failure, two salesmen make a series of questionable choices to protect their jobs.

The Social Network, 2010

David Fincher’s The Social Network recounts the founding of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to international notoriety. Truly a business story for the modern age, The Social Network not only details the tribulations of thousands of tech startups across the nation, but also the interpersonal costs of success. The movie’s tagline sums up this dynamic perfectly: “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.”

The Big Short, 2015

The 2008 financial crisis was one of the most defining experience for thousands and, even 10 years later, the scars of the collapse are still fresh for many. The Big Short’s unconventional style covers the crisis beat-for-beat and takes care to explain the complex financial technicalities for all audiences. Weaving multiple storylines and short vignettes, the film develops an impactful narrative while illuminating some of the most critical factors at play.

Moneyball, 2011

As a sports movie Moneyball tells a fantastic story for baseball fans, but for entrepreneurs, the underlying themes are essential. Faced with a struggling team, Oakland A’s general manager Bill Beane discovers the “secret” to defeat his rivals despite extreme financial disadvantage. By leveraging data and statistics, the A’s are able to maximize their meager budget to remain competitive. In a larger context, Moneyball proves that tenacity and wit can always outweigh the largest of odds. 

Office Space, 1999

A timeless classic, Office Space can lift some of the most severe doldrums in our professional lives. By shining a light on some of the most ludicrous aspects of modern offices, this film is relatable to anyone who works nine-to-five in front of a computer. Looking through the satire, Office Space is a profoundly cautionary tale for managers and executives. Faced with protocol, red tape and deadlines, the human aspect of “work” should never be forgotten as the film brilliantly portrays.


Have you made it to the bottom of this list, but still don’t feel ready to leave the couch? Not to worry — you can brush up on your management skills and brainstorm some playful pranks from everyone’s favorite Scranton-based regional manager. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone if you go through all nine seasons!