9 Infamous Movies About Corporate Greed

  • Money, Money, Money, Money

    Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to the 1987 movie of the same name, hits theaters nationwide this weekend. The Oliver Stone-directed tome against the excesses of an unregulated financial industry is bound to resonate with audiences still facing near double-digit unemployment, despite the proliferation of economic indicators that assure us our economic troubles are over. In the new Wall Street, Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko, the financier we love to hate, though this time the protégé is played by Shia LaBeouf, rather than Charlie Sheen (though Sheen does have a cameo in the movie). We kind of wish this move were called Wall Street: Rise of the Machines, and Gekko turned out to be Megatron. Alas... In any event, the Wall Street franchise isn’t the only movie of greed and the underbelly of big business in America. We collected some of greatest as well as some lesser-known movies that involve corporate malfeasance and some of the more salient lessons we learn from each.
    Boiler Room
  • Boiler Room

    This indie feature from 2000 stars Giovanni Ribisi as a street smart kid who lands a job at a high pressure stock brokerage firm. He quickly learns that he can make a ton of money, the only catch is that he has to lie his butt off and ruin a lot of people financially. Also, Vin Diesel is in this flick too, and he’s rather entertaining.The Money Quote: “What do you mean, you're gonna pass. Alan, the only people making money passing are NFL quarterbacks and I don't see a number on your back.”
    The Insider
  • The Insider

    This 1999 blockbuster, directed by Michael Mann and starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, is the true story of a scientist for a tobacco company that decides to tell the media (60 Minutes’ Lowell Bergman) that the company both knew that cigarettes were bad for you and addictive, but more importantly, they were trying to make them more addictive. When the tobacco company found out about the interview, they pressured CBS to pull the story. CBS, which at the time was up for sale, caved and the story was spiked. Bergman, not too pleased with his bosses, quit and leaked the whole sordid affair to The New York Times.The Money Quote: “Are you a businessman? Or are you a news man?”
    Working Girl
  • Working Girl

    In this 1988 Mike Nichols Movie, Melanie Griffith plays Tess, a New York secretary who makes the most out of serendipity when her lying, cheating boss, played by Sigourney Weaver, is bedridden in another country. These were the days before e-mail and cell phones, so Tess decides to pose as her boss and puts together a big business deal in an effort to get out of the secretarial pool. She manages to hook up with Harrison Ford in the process, and though the truth is eventually revealed, there is, predictably, a nice, happy, totally unrealistic Hollywood ending. The Money Quote: “I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?”
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

    The only musical on the list, this 1967 classic is the story of J. Pierpont Finch, a window washer who figures out how to climb the corporate ladder without actually doing any work. Fans of Mad Men will likely enjoy this movie, especially given the inclusion of songs like “A Secretary Is Not a Toy.” The original show opened on Broadway in 1961, and a revival starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe is scheduled to open in 2011. The Money Quote: “I realize that I'm the president of this company, the man that's responsible for everything that goes on here. So, I want to state, right now, that anything that happened is not my fault.”
    Glengarry Glenn Ross
  • Glengarry Glenn Ross

    The year is 1992 and the setting it the cutthroat world of New York real estate. Three agents (Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris and Al Pacino) are working for a small firm, and the boss sets up a competition. Whoever gets the most sales wins a Cadillac. Second place gets a set of steak knives. Third place gets a pink slip. The intensity of this David Mamet adaptation is legendary and demonstrates just how competitive an office can be. The Money Quote: “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.”
    Chairman of the Board
  • Chairman of the Board

    The year is 1998 and prop comedy is king. Carrot Top, still unsullied by years of body building and some sort of strange eyebrow augmentation, stars in Trimark Pictures Chairman of the Board. He plays an inventor/surfer who makes a positive impression on a rich guy who dies and leaves the red-headed menace his multi-million-dollar company. This, quite understandably, upsets the powers that be who try to derail Carrot Top by way of corporate espionage and the like. In the end, the guy with the red hair wins. The Money Quote: “You’ve got a good head on your shoulders. Weird hair, but a good head.”
    Wall Street
  • Wall Street

    This classic 1987 flick was released at just the right time. Black Monday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed about 23% of its value, had just occurred on Oct. 19 and Wall Street was released Dec. 11 – the perfect timing for Americans to watch a movie about the destruction greed often causes. The movie depicts an up-and-coming stock broker (Charlie Sheen) who finds a mentor in Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), the King of Wall Street. Douglas won an Oscar for his performance as Americans swarmed to the theaters to express their hate for Wall Street and the moguls who run it. The Money Quote: “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”
    American Psycho
  • American Psycho

    One word describes this movie: disturbing. Released in 2000, American Psycho depicts the double life of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). By day, Bateman is a banking executive who aims to be the best, competing with his fellow bankers over business cards and restaurant reservations. By night, Bateman chases women with chainsaws and murders anyone who gets in his way. If you ever wondered if Wall Street executives have a soul, this movie would have you believe that they definitely don’t. Money Quote: “I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.”
    Trading Places
  • Trading Places

    Starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis, this 1983 comedy succeeds in making a political statement about the carelessness of the wealthy while making some great jokes in the process. The plot is set when the Dukes, two rich brothers who own a commodities brokerage, decide to settle a bet on nature vs. nurture. To do so, the brothers frame Aykroyd’s character, an employee at their bank, for theft and force him out of the home, job and life of a wealthy banker. His replacement? Eddie Murphy, who plays a homeless man that panhandles while pretending to be blind with no legs. The brothers manipulate the two men as Aykroyd attempts to regain the life he once loved. The movie comes to a head on the floor of New York’s Commodities Exchange when Aykroyd and Murphy’s characters work together to execute the perfect double cross, which simultaneously makes them rich and lands the Dukes in the poor house. Money Quote: “Nothing you have ever experienced will prepare you for the absolute carnage you are about to witness. Super Bowl, World Series - they don't know what pressure is. In this building, it's either kill or be killed. You make no friends in the pits and you take no prisoners. One minute you're up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don't go to college and they've repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me?”
    Worst Movie Experiences Ever
  • Worst Movie Experiences Ever

    If you're considering heading out to see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, or any other movie for that matter, you'll enjoy reading our feature on some of the most disturbing movie theater experiences ever, courtesy of MainStreet.com readers. Let's hope your movie-going experience is trouble free. Photo Credit: Getty Images
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