Who doesn’t love a good finance documentary? Whether you work in the industry, or you are interested in learning more about it, finance documentaries are a great way to learn more about the topic. Most of the documentaries here are very well made and can be a great teaching tool. Allowing you to learn about a particular subject without having to pick any
book. Most of them are also available for free, which is a great plus. Make sure you check the complete list as there are certainly some documentaries that you will find very interesting.
“The Big Squeeze”
“The Big Squeeze” is one of the most recent documentaries on this list. The Gamestop saga completely changed financial markets. It focuses not only on the financial part but also its implications on everyday people. However, the documentary sheds some light on what really went on during the Gamestop squeeze. The idea that retail investors were the only buying force behind the meteoric rise in the stock price is a foolish idea.
Great Financial Crisis Documentaries
“Inside Job” is among the best documentaries related to the Great Financial Crisis. It describes in spectacular detail what led to it, and how those involved did not act in the best interest of the public. Including a series of interviews with high-profile individuals that were directly or indirectly involved in what led to the crash. It also goes over the consequences, and what could be done to prevent a similar financial meltdown in the future. An extremely well-documented finance documentary that is a must-watch.
“For the Love of Money: The Bank that Bust The World”
“For the Love of Money” is one of the most impressive finance documentaries on this list. A grasping account of what happened to Lehman Brothers. How its collapse led to the global recession. Richard Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers is one of the most important figures not only in this finance documentary but what eventually led to the Lehman Brothers collapse and the Great Financial Crisis. It is one of the most influential documentaries that state what happened to the bank and what led to its ultimate demise.
“Super Rich: The Greed Game”
Super Rich: The Greed Game is a grasping documentary detailing how the financial crisis impacted the UK. An interesting finance documentary that explains how the global credit crisis affected the UK lenders. Although most of us think the subprime crisis was related solely to the US there were other subprime lenders also in the UK. A very interesting account of how UK lenders ignored risk prior to the Great Financial Crisis.
The Warning is another documentary trying to explain what led to the Great Financial Crisis. Not only that but also the consequences of such an impactful event in our economy and markets. It includes several interviews with important individuals in the financial industry. It is a great documentary for those looking to precisely understand what led to the crisis.
“The Flaw” also focuses on the Great Financial Crisis. It shows how fragile the financial markets can be, and the role of banks in the financial meltdown. Another very interesting choice is to understand what led to the crisis and the repercussions on our economy and markets.
“Black Wednesday” is a documentary that tells the story of the sterling crash in 1992. This documentary is particularly interesting because it features George Soros, “the man who broke the Bank of England”. A very entertaining documentary that will certainly teach more about what led to the event, and how panic spreads quickly in the markets.
“Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis”
Although most documentaries that focus on the Great Financial Crisis are solely portraying what led to it - “Overdose” is different. It focuses on the effects of the Crisis on the economy and tries to explain and predict how the next crisis will unfold. For those of you interested in macroeconomics, this is certainly a great finance documentary to watch.
Investment Banking Documentaries
“Goldman Sachs: Power and Peril”
Goldman Sachs has been one of the most close-mouthed firms on Wall Street. Its culture is different and especially unique. This finance documentary tries to explain the culture behind the notorious culture behind this famed investment bank. An extremely interesting documentary for those trying to understand more about finance, and investment banking.
Investment Banking is a documentary explaining how the investment banking industry works. Although it looks like an infomercial it elucidates viewers into the investment banking industry. For those that are not aware of how the industry works and its ramifications, it is a great introductory choice.
“The Corporation” is a finance documentary focused on how corporations and their pursuit for profit are affecting the world. It shows the importance of corporations in people’s lives and the economic importance they have. It also shows how the pursuit of profit is deeply impacting our lives. A great source of information for those that want to learn more about the crucial role of corporations in our world.
“Four Horseman” is another great choice. This finance documentary tries to show how the new economic paradigm shift is impacting the economy, financial markets, and ultimately the world. It consists of several interviews with different professionals that try to explain the psychology behind how our economy works. Therefore, it is a very interesting watch for anyone interested in finance documentaries. It includes several former Wall Street finance professionals that show how the new economic culture has been stripped of any moral beliefs.
“Requiem for the American Dream”
“Requiem for the American Dream” features Noam Chomsky's personal views on how the American dream has been perverted. The economic changes that we have witnessed over the last two decades have impacted how the economy works. The basis for the movie is to explain how the American dream no longer exists, and it has now turned into an American nightmare. An interesting finance documentary on the socioeconomic impacts of this new reality.
“Capitalism: A Love Story”
“Capitalism: A Love Story” is a creation of leftwing movie director Michael Moore. It is a very detailed account of how corporations and their pursuit of profits have had tremendous socio-economic impacts. It is, by all means, a very interesting and detailed documentary that is gripping from the first minutes. Thus it is a must-watch for anyone interested in finance documentaries.
“The Ascent of Money”
“The Ascent of Money” is perhaps the most interesting historical finance documentary. Although most documentaries on this list try to give insights and perspectives into a particular topic or industry. “The Ascent of Money” focuses on explaining to viewers the origins of money, and finance. It is certainly one of the best educational documentaries on finance. Therefore, if you are interested in expanding your knowledge on the topic, “The Ascent of Money” could not be recommended enough. It is a long finance documentary that is broken up into different episodes.
Here is the first episode:
“The Retirement Gamble”
“The Retirement Gamble” is a documentary questioning the sustainability of retirement investments like IRA and 401k. It focuses on analyzing the structure of the funds that manage retirement savings for Americans.
“Banking On Bitcoin”
Crypto is indisputably one of the most important trends in finance over the last few years. Banking on Bitcoin explains the importance of Bitcoin and crypto to the world. It serves as a fundamental explanation of why we need crypto, and the impact it can have on the world. “Banking on Bitcoin” is not only a great finance documentary but one of the most crucial crypto documentaries. A very interesting documentary that includes several interviews with some of the most important experts on crypto.
“End of the Road: How Money Became Worthless”
“End of the Road” is a documentary focused on fiat currency, and its loss of value over time. For those that are unaware of basic macroeconomic concepts, this is a must-watch. Although it focuses mainly on the devaluation of the currency, it also covers other topics. It goes over how our economy, banking system, and financial markets work.
There are two documentaries that are also worthy of mention in this list. One is “Who Killed Capitalism?”, yet another Crisis documentary but with a macroeconomic twist.
The other one is “97% Owned”, which is a great documentary for beginners trying to understand how money is created and the basic foundation of macroeconomics.
This is certainly one of the most insightful and complex finance documentaries available on trading. So much so that it has remained secretive since it was released in 1987. Thus, Paul Tudor Jones did not like the final cut. Due to the fact that it showed unseen footage of himself and his team, in rather stressful situations, his image was not what he wanted to portray. Therefore once the movie came out, Paul Tudor Jones began buying up all of the available copies.
“Trader” became one of the most impactful and special documentaries on trading ever to be produced. In fact, part of the documentary describes what led Paul Tudor Jones, and his firm to be bearish before the 1987 crash. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in trading, and although many years have passed it still remains incredibly useful today. It is extremely hard to find it online, but if you do make sure you watch it.
“The China Hustle”
“The China Hustle” is one of the most intricate and interesting finance documentaries of the last decade. It shows how greed can have a detrimental impact on finance, and the markets. “The China Hustle” sheds light on the reverse mergers conducted by some Chinese companies in the last decade.
The methods they employed in order to profit from naive and uninformed investors. This deceptive way of pretending that companies were much larger and influential than they were, was a widely adopted type of fraud around that time. This finance documentary shows not only those who were directly affected by this scam but also those who profited from it.
“Wall Street Warriors”
“Wall Street Warrior” is a documentary that is broken up into different seasons and episodes. It is very interesting because it shows the daily lives of finance professionals. Extremely insightful, and it allows viewers to better understand how the industry works and operates. It is also much more personal than some of the documentaries on this list. Because it follows some professional money managers throughout their day.
Here is the first episode:
Million Dollar Traders
“Million Dollar Traders” is one of the most creative documentaries on this list. The goal of this finance documentary was to prove that some people can be profitable traders. Several individuals with regular jobs in other industries with no trading experience are selected for the show. They are then trained in order to become successful traders.
Lex Van Dam is the person behind the idea and the one to fund this trader's accounts. They will be learning, and be trained as traders in an intensive way. It is a great entertaining documentary that allows you to see what common mistakes traders make, and their road to profitability.
Here is the first episode:
“Betting on Zero”
This is perhaps the most entertaining finance documentary ever produced. Not only to its content but the way it is filmed. It gets even more interesting when the viewer actually discovers the outcome. In it, Bill Ackman presents his short thesis about Herbalife, and how its business model was a pyramid scheme. His bearish bet on Herbalife is described in detail, and the directors proceed to investigate the company’s practice. It is incredibly interesting, and it can be an extremely great tool.
VPRO Broadcast has a series of finance documentaries that are worth watching. They focus on different topics and allow you to choose the ones that interest you the most. The documentaries in the series shed some light on often misunderstood parts of our financial markets.
As the name suggests this documentary is focused on quantitative analysts’ impact on financial markets. Over the years financial markets have changed dramatically, and quants have had a fundamental role in this change. The documentary explains what their role is, and how it has influenced and continues to change markets.
“Wall Street Data Goldrush”
Data has become increasingly more important in business and finance. In this documentary, viewers can understand its importance and the role data plays in our current financial markets. It also shows how some firms' direct access to data has a tremendous influence on financial performance. A very interesting and detailed documentary that should merit the interest of anyone involved in finance.
“The Wall Street Code”
A gripping finance documentary that tries to explain to viewers how the markets have changed until today. It shows how high-frequency trading has gained importance in world markets. According to the documentary, quantitative trading has allowed some parts of the market to be rigged. It also shows the importance of software in today’s trading systems, and how speed has become the name of the game.
“The Carlyle Connection”
“The Carlyle Connection” is another masterpiece by VPRO. A great finance documentary focused on private equity and the role of Carlyle Group in the financial markets. An extremely influential documentary for those interested in finance and private equity specifically. It shows the intricate relationships between the Carlyle Group and some of the most important events and companies around the world. The documentary tries to connect the dots between the Carlyle Group’s business and geopolitics.
“Floored” is yet again another great finance documentary, focused on pit trading. It shows how trading has evolved into what it is today, and how pit traders had to adapt their job to the new technological world we live in. A very interesting account of risk-taking in trading, and how the industry has been dramatically impacted by the tech revolution of the 2000s.
“Billion Dollar Day”
“Billion Dollar Day” is an old-school finance documentary following forex traders on their day-to-day life. If you are interested in getting a glimpse of how trading was during the ’80s this is the documentary for you. It will easily grab your attention.
“Trading Mind - Inside the Brain of a Trader”
“Trading Mind” is a documentary not only about finance but also about psychology. Therefore, being able to deal with emotions, and remain highly rational is a crucial part of being a successful trader. This is one of the most important finance documentaries to develop the right trading mindset. The documentary highlights this concept and goes even further to explore it. Putting several traders through psychological tests in order to better understand the mind of a trader.
“How Commercial Traders Exploit Cash Commodities”
Who would ever think that there are documentaries focused on commodities? Well, there are and they are pretty good. This one in particular is extremely insightful and allows me to learn the basics surrounding commodities markets. Moreover, it follows several high-profile commodities traders.
Financial Fraud Documentaries
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Enron was one of the largest accounting frauds affecting investors from all over the world. The company eventually went bankrupt, and many investors lost all of the money they invested in Enron. The documentary portrays what really went on behind the scenes. Interviews with several former Enron employees explain in detail the company culture that would lead to its demise. It is one of the best finance documentaries that reveal unknown information until its release.
Bernie Madoff Documentaries
Bernie Madoff has perpetrated one of the biggest Ponzi schemes the world has ever seen. Due to this fact, there are several documentaries and fictional movies depicting his story. There are three documentaries that are well worth watching to understand what happened. The basis of their focus is similar, but the way they are presented is very different from one another.
“The Madoff Affair”
“Bernie Madoff - His Life And Crimes”
“Elizabeth Holmes: The 'Valley of Hype'”
Theranos is among the largest frauds ever perpetrated by an entrepreneur. This documentary focuses on the story behind Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos founder. For those interested in knowing more about Theranos, and how Elizabeth Holmes misled investors this is the right finance documentary for you.
“The Pandora Papers: How the world of offshore finance is still flourishing”
A documentary about the release of the Pandora Papers leak, and how shell companies offshore are used for tax avoidance. This is perhaps one of the most recent events and this documentary is crucial to understand what is behind the Pandora Papers investigation.
Finance Biographical Documentaries
“Becoming Warren Buffett”
Warren Buffett will forever be one of the most memorable personalities in finance. What better way to celebrate his existence, with a biographical documentary. “Becoming Warren Buffett” shows pretty much most of the things that were once unknown about him. It takes us from his childhood until today.
Thus, it includes several interviews with remarkable people in his life and allows us to understand what made him be the person he is today. For the most part, it also gives viewers a great insight into his personality, and how he relates with other people. It is sincerely one of the best biographical documentaries out there, and certainly one of the best finance documentaries.
You can also see the uncut interview of Warren Buffett for the documentary here:
There is also a very detailed biographical documentary on “Warren Buffett” by Bloomberg.