Five of Our Favorite Investment Titans Portrayed in Movies

Hollywood tends to depict these folks as those that climb the top of the ladder by ripping off anyone they can in an effort to get millions thrust into their pockets. It’s not entirely false, after all look at what happened to the infamous Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort. The point is that not all of them are crooks, but few if any of them are squeaky clean. They’re shown as the guys that do anything and everything to make money and impress those that exist at the same level. A lot of us can’t even begin to understand the reason their jobs exist or why they seem so bent on stepping on the little person to get to the top, but that might be a better question to pose to Hollywood since that’s how they’re usually shown.

There aren’t a whole lot of investors with hearts of gold as seen in film.  Here are five of our favorite investment titans on film:

5. Seth Davis – Boiler Room

Seth is definitely not a bad guy. He’s a young man trying to get ahead in the world by doing what he can to earn a buck here and there. When he enters the world of the stock broker he gets fast-tracked to a life that is both glamorous and quite difficult as he has to learn the ins and outs rather quickly to avoid being taken advantage of. Once he learns that he’s involved in something uniquely shady though things definitely take a turn for the worse and he has to make some hard choices.

4. Charlie Geller and Jaime Shipley – The Big Short

On the outset it looks like these guys might be adept students of the game, but when they really get going it’s fair to say that they kind of lost their focus and went after something that might have seemed great but eventually turned sour. Their story was based on the very real housing market crash of 2008 and showed that while they did have more than a little skill navigating the market they also fell for the trap of trying to get too much too fast.

3. Louis Winthorpe and Billy Ray Valentine – Trading Places

Trading Places is probably one of the most comedic and touching movies that to do with stock brokers. It offers a chance for two of the hottest comedians of the time to basically rip apart the foundations of the stock market and do it for the reason of getting back at the two men that tried to turn their lives around. If you’re going to hurt a rich person the best way to do it is by making them poor while getting rich yourself. That’s a dollar well spent.

2. Jordan Belfort – The Wolf of Wall Street

There’s been a lot of controversy around this film as to how bad Jordan Belfort really was in his heyday. Well now let’s see, he got sent to prison for his actions, his company went belly up, and a lot of people he employed were sent to jail as well. It’s fair to say that he had one heck of a scam going and made serious bank while it lasted, but in truth he was probably one of the most crooked men in America despite the fact that his story was almost buried until it came out on film.

1. Gordon Gekko – Wall Street

He’s the idol that other stockbrokers live up to, and the cautionary tale that many of them seek to learn from. This guy had all the right moves when he was in the game and none of the sympathy for those that missed out on the big deals. He would smile as he squashed hopes and feel good about doing it. In other words, in terms of investing he was THE titan of the industry. But as far as being a human being, Gekko was the most titanic failure ever.

Investors aren’t always the devils they’re made out to be, but those that seek nothing but fortune can be ruthless without even trying.


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