The best business advice doesn’t only come from great businessmen. You can also glean some useful business lessons from filmmakers and screenwriters.

In this list we gathered 5 of the best movies that you should watch, along with the valuable business lessons that you can learn from them.

1. Pursuit of Happyness

Pursuit of Happyness

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The film is all about the struggle of Chris Gardner from a life of homelessness to becoming a CEO of his own stock brokerage firm.

As a salesman, he invested all his money in expensive bone-density scanners that he needs to personally sell to physicians. However, it is harder to sell these medical equipment than regular x ray machines because of its hefty price. Unable to pay his rent and couldn’t even afford to pay his parking ticket, his wife left him.

Out of his good character and determination, he landed an unpaid internship in Dean Witter Reynolds’ stock brokerage training program even without having related experience or college degree.

With only $22 left in his pocket,  Chris and his son were forced to spend their nights in a restroom at a BART station and most of the time, at a homeless shelter. Regardless of numerous challenges, Gardner’s perseverance allowed him to win the coveted full-time position at the brokerage.

This is a real life story that proves how perseverance and determination can lead to success.

2. The Revenant

The Revenant

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The film is about having perseverance and endurance to achieve a goal. Although the storyline is instructive about this, the story behind the film also tells the same message: it was the first film that gave Leo his first Oscar’s Best Actor award after six previous Academy Award nominations.

The Revenant tells the story of a group of fur trappers. Set in a wild place and time, the movie’s opening scene featured Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) in a conversation with his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck). This scene alone shares an important reminder as he told his son that even though he is scared and wants his trouble to pass, it is a must to fight up to his last breath.

Another remarkable part of the story was when Glass was attacked by a large bear while on a hunting trip and had to be taken cared of in the middle of the journey by Hawk his son, Bridger, and Fitzgerald. The antagonist, Fitzgerald later killed Hawk in front of him while he’s immobile and helpless. He was left to die alone but he miraculously rose from being bedridden.

This sparked Glass’ quest for revenge and restitution. With broken bones, slashed flesh, no food and no gun, he started a difficult and arduous journey to hunt for Fitzgerald. He later found him and got his satisfaction.

The film generally depicts how difficult his experiences were, but despite all these, with a relentless spirit he stayed focused and never gave up.

3. Wolf of Wallstreet

Wolf of Wallstreet

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The Wolf of Wall Street is the film adaptation of a book by the same name about the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, a New York stock broker. After rising to the top of stock brokerage industry, Belfort plunged into a life of pleasures, drugs, parties and sex. He became rich and successful, however in a fraudulent and corrupt way.

The movie relays several lessons in business that aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from. Among the key business insights highlighted in the movie are as follows:

  • Have a vision.

Getting rich doesn’t happen by accident. You have to figure out exactly what you want, as well as the steps that you must take to get there.

  • Decide on how other people will view you.

Belfort was seen by people as confident and successful and much of that can be associated with how he acted powerful and wore fancy suits that changed how other people saw him. It leaves the message that you should sell yourself to others the way you want them to view you.

  • Find your niche and perfect it.

It was shown in the film how Belfort came up with a strategy that worked for his target market and didn’t stop exploiting it until it worked perfectly. This is one lesson that tells the importance of keeping your customer base and coming up with pitches that are tailored for them.

  • Nobody does business right the first time.

Perseverance is important when doing business and you just have to try and try until you achieve your goals. In the case of Belfort,  he didn’t gave up on his ambitions even when he faced bankruptcy as a small businessman before he went to Wall Street.

  • Hire a good staff and train them.

Although Belfort was the brain behind his business model, his ideas were implemented by his staff. He was very patient in training them and gave them tools to get what he expected from them. This strategy allowed him to get things done without doing all the work.

4. Chocolat


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This film revolves around Vianne (Juliette Binoche)and her child who opens a chocolate store in a quiet traditional French town. The business was a novelty in the town and Vianne’s manners and way of doing business was unusual and controversial for the people. As she carried out her business, she stirred up the static conservative lives of the townspeople. She touched their lives, and in the process she was eventually accepted and loved by them.  

This story can be compared with trying your luck in business. As a newcomer, it is important to build rapport with your neighbor and become amiable with them. If you do this well, you will soon find yourself loved by the people, effortlessly.

It also teaches about how brands should build customer loyalty. Customers will only patronize your brand if it touches their lives such as when it delivers them the most effective solution to a problem or when your brand personality relates with theirs. At any rate, it pays to leave a positive impact in the lives of the community where you’re doing business.

5. Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold

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Woman in Gold is a brilliant narrative about a WWII survivor who ventured on a long and difficult battle to reclaim a family heritage taken by the German Nazi. It depicts the struggle between surrender and perseverance.

In the film, Maria (Helen Mirren) was often confronted with the idea of giving up the goal of reclaiming the Woman in Gold painting, her family’s heritage.

In business, every entrepreneur knows this feeling too well. As the Entrepreneur magazine commented, “the struggle between knowing when to give up and knowing when to persevere… is one the hardest elements entrepreneurs need to master.”

As an entrepreneur, your experiences will teach you the right balance between giving up and perseverance. However, one thing’s for sure, giving up too early often leads to great opportunities missed.

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