Unlike Part 1 which focused on comedies about entrepreneurs, this list features the top 20 English-speaking dramatic narratives which weigh in on the big obstacles of big business.

 

20. Limitless (2011)

Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro team up in this tale about a pill that boosts brainpower by 100%. As such, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard—but not without a fair share of danger.

 

 

19. Seabiscuit (2003)

Loosely based on the true story of an overlooked horse who, despite all odds, became a success during the Great Depression due to a jockey's dream and his need for money.
 

 

18. Boiler Room (2000) 

Winner of the Deauville Film Festival’s Jury Special Prize, this indie crime drama follows Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi), a college dropout on the fast track at a questionable investment firm.

 

 

17. Local Hero  (1983)

When an American oil company representative is sent to Scotland to purchase property for his company, he finds more than he bargains for in this comic-drama by Bill Forsyth, who received a BAFTA for his direction.

 

 

16. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Chicago real estate is the basis of this film based on David Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning play where competition and incentive play a motivating force.


15. The Social Network (2010) 
David Fincher follows Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to fame and fortune via the advent of Facebook which ironically lost the social media mogul a lot of friends.

 

 

14. Giant (1956)

George Stevens directs an all-star cast (Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean) in this saga about a Texas ranching family who strikes it big with oil but has problems nonetheless.

 

 

 

13. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) 

Burt Lancaster stars as newspaper columnist J.J. Hunsecker who uses his connections to break the rules and break up relationships.

 

 

12. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

The power of the word (and the picture) are the focus of this true story about Hustler publisher and pornographer Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson), the American entrepreneur who became an unlikely symbol for freedom of speech during the 1980s.

 


11. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
This melodrama about a film producer (Kirk Douglas) whose greed alienates all around him was kind of greedy itself since it grabbed Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Gloria Grahame) as well as for Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, and screenplay!

 

 

 

10. Wall Street (1987)

Michael Douglas received an Academy Award for saying, “Greed is good,” in Oliver Stone’s cautionary tale that shows the downfall of moving too far up.

 

 

9. Bugsy (1991) 

In this Golden Globe winner for Best Drama, Bugsy Siegel (Warren Beatty) gives birth to Las Vegas, though not necessarily the phrase, “What goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

 

 

 

 

8. Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Will Smith stars in the true, rags-to-riches story of Christopher Gardner, who went from being homelessness to opening a multi-million dollar brokerage firm despite his poor spelling.

 

 

 

 

7. East of Eden (1955)

John Steinbeck’s epic begins with immigrant inventor Samuel Hamilton who sells his land to Adam Trask, a wealthy tycoon who later loses everything in an ill-fated business venture. Fortunately his son goes into business with one of Hamilton's children to build an even bigger empire which he hands over to his father. But Adam refuses it and orders his son to return the money to the workers he exploited—which goes to show some dads are very hard to shop for (among other, bigger lessons).

 


6. The Aviator (2004)

One of America’s most ambitious entrepreneurs, Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his many business endeavors are the subject of this biopic directed by Martin Scorsese which includes Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-winning turn as Katharine Hepburn. 

 

 

5. Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

Francis Ford Coppola's real-life efforts to build his own movie studio are echoed in his screen treatment of Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) who took on the auto industry with his car of the future, which unfortunately became a thing of the past.

 


 

4. Forest Gump (1994)

Life is like a box of Bubba Gump Shrimp for Forest (Tom Hanks) whose fictional account inspired the real-life seafood restaurant chain Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

 

 

3. Avalon (1990)

After Russian immigrants make their way to Baltimore, the next generation opens a large discount-appliance store in the 1950s as they pursue the American dream, albeit at the loss of their heritage.

 

 

 

 

2. There Will Be Blood (2007)

There will be awards for Daniel Day-Lewis, including the second of his three Best Actor Oscars, for his portrayal of an ill-fated American oil baron in Paul Thomas Anderson’s sweeping cinematic story set at the turn of the last century. 

 

 

 

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

Orson Welles directed, co-wrote, produced, and starred in this masterpiece about an over-achiever. Loosely based on William Randolph Hurst, the story follows the newspaper tycoon's idealistic rise to power that ultimately leads to ruthlessness and ruin wherein he longs for Rosebud, his childhood sled, in what is widely considered the best movie ever made.

 


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