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9 Movies About Entrepreneurs You Must See If You Want To Find Inspiration

Business owners are recurring characters in Hollywood stories. Learn about the lessons of our favorites.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The real and fictional lives of entrepreneurs have been the basis of the storylines of numerous Hollywood films for decades. From comedies to dramas, these films show the battles and successes of entrepreneurs and capture their main characteristics, such as passion, dedication, and sometimes obsession and self-destruction.

Paramount Pictures

We share some tapes with a business owner (or several) as the main character:

1. Citizen Kane ( Citizen Kane , 1941)

The Entrepreneur: Newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane (inspired by the life of William Randolph Hearst, founder of Hearst Corp.) and starring Orson Welles.

Synopsis: Kane raised himself and succeeded from scratch, starting his entrepreneurial career as the owner of a local newspaper and then building a media empire. A great figure who later runs for governor and lives in a mansion called Xanadu. Kane dies saying the enigmatic word "rosebud".

Lesson: We don't recommend Kane's tactics, including tabloid journalism. This is more of a story about the dark side of power and self-centeredness.

2. How beautiful it is to live ( It's a Wonderful Life , 1946)

The Entrepreneur: George Bailey, owner of a loan company founded by his father.

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, Bailey's uncle loses all his money on his way to the bank. The money is discovered by a millionaire banker who hides it, putting Bailey's business at risk. In a turn of events, Bailey is visited by her guardian angel, Clarence, who teaches her that life is wonderful with or without money. In the end, Bailey's neighbors support him and the business continues.

Lesson: When the going gets tough, don't give up.

3. The Ghostbusters ( Ghostbusters , 1984)

The Entrepreneurs: The supernatural pest controllers, Dr. Peter Venkam, Dr. Raymond Stantz and Dr. Egon Spengler.

Synopsis: After losing their credibility, three professors (a trusted scientist, a supernatural historian, and a charismatic third) search for their second act. The team creates a ghost cutter business.

Lesson: Entrepreneurs probably don't face evil spirits, but many could relate to the experiences of these characters when starting their business. The trio goes from not having a single client to becoming successful to being shut down without explanation.

4. Cocktail (1988)

The Entrepreneur: Aspiring business executive Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) becomes a bar owner.

Synopsis: While graduating from business, Flanagan has a part-time job at a bar. His boss, Doug Coughlin, teaches him all about being a bartender and the pair dreams of owning their own cocktail bar. To finance his plan, Flanagan moves to Jamaica to tend a hotel bar. Coughlin faces tough times after losing his money on the stock market. Using his own money, Flanagan opens his bar, called Flanagan Cocktails & Dreams.

Lesson: While it can be a smart choice to learn from an industry mentor , you shouldchoose your partners wisely.

5. Forrest Gump (1994)

The Entrepreneurs: Charming Simple Man Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and former Lt. Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: When Gump becomes a ping pong champion and wins $ 25,000 from a sponsorship, he buys a boat and launches his shrimp business in honor of the dream of his friend and comrade in the Vietnam War, Bubba Blue. Gump asks Taylor to be his partner.

Lesson: The power of friendship can go a long way. The success of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. shows that the right business partnership can affect your success and personal life. The film inspired the creation of the Bubba Gump Shrimps restaurant chain. And as Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what is going to happen to you ”.

6. Jerry Maguire (1996)

The Entrepreneur: Sports Agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise).

Synopsis: Stressed out and concerned about what he believes to be dishonest in the sports managing business, Maguire leaves the agency he had worked for for years. He recruits an assistant and starts his own agency, focusing on his only client: an American player who puts Maguire's skills to the test.

Lesson: Hard work, determination, and the right skills can eventually pay off when pursuing an entrepreneurial dream.

7. Chocolat (2000)

The entrepreneur: The chocolatier Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche).

Synopsis: Rocher and his daughter arrive in a small French town in 1960 and open a chocolate boutique. At first, the townspeople are skeptical of Rocher, but she manages to win them over with her passion and exquisite chocolates.

Lesson: Rocher is an excellent example of a small-town shop owner. Your customers become your family and your products create the loyal consumers that any entrepreneur desires. Beyond all that, she defends herself and her business against the malicious mayor.

8. The aviator ( The aviator , 2004)

The Entrepreneur: Aviation Tycoon Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Synopsis: At 17, Hughes received the keys to his father's tool company and later founded Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1932. But he was a man of many passions; He also became a Hollywood director, and a producer and head of production company RKO Pictures in the late 1940s.

Lesson: While The Aviator largely emphasizes the obsessive-compulsive disorder that drove him mad, Hughes was a true entrepreneur. Although he had a relatively easy foray into business thanks to his father, his fascination with the industry and dedication are what made him admirable.

9. The Social Network ( The Social Network , 2010)

Entrepreneur: Mark Zuckerberg , creator of Facebook.

Synopsis: It is the story of Zuckerberg since he was a Harvard student and he started a project based on the idea of the Winklevoss twins to create a network where all students had their profile. Mark appropriates it and generates the code to make it come true. The following is about the obstacles and the ego of the entrepreneur.

Lesson: The important thing is not the idea, but the execution. Zuckerberg knew how to play his cards well to develop what would be the most popular social network on the planet.

Jason Fell

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Jason Fell is director of native content for Entrepreneur, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.