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7 Movies on Netflix All Entrepreneurs Should Watch These films — about leaders, entrepreneurs and the business world — will both entertain and educate.

By Deep Patel Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • Films can teach us powerful lessons about entrepreneurship and leadership.
  • The streamer has numerous offerings for films about business and running successful operations.
  • Cautionary tales can be just as insightful as inspiring stories.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Like anyone else, entrepreneurs need a night off now and again – and what better way to chill out than a night of binge-watching Netflix? An evening of playing couch potato can sometimes lead to a lightning bolt of inspiration; uplifting movies can motivate you to pursue a dream, for example, and eye-opening documentaries can expand your knowledge of business and the world.

When filmmakers tell an inspiring — or cautionary — tale from the perspective of business leaders and entrepreneurs, you can learn something. So spend a little time recharging your batteries and get reinvigorated with these seven insightful movies on Netflix.

1. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

This Netflix-produced documentary is about the infamous failed attempt to hold a music festival in 2017 in the Bahamas. It focuses on the disastrous build-up to the event, which was supposed to be a glittering three-day luxury festival, but in reality was a hellish and ghastly experience for the people who paid thousands of dollars to attend. Slick videos featuring influencers were key to helping Fyre Fest sell 5,000 tickets, but as the movie shows, there was absolutely no plan to follow through on the experiences the videos were promoting.

Related: 13 Must-Watch Movies for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

The film offers some important lessons for entrepreneurs, in particular anyone interested in using influencer marketing as a way to quickly grow your company. You can hire the most popular celebrities and influencers to promote your brand, but that's not what will make your company a success. Make sure you set expectations you can actually attain and, most of all, provide customers with a satisfactory experience.

2. Moneyball

Based on Michael Lewis' bestselling 2003 book of the same title, Moneyball is about bringing an unconventional approach to running a Major League Baseball team. It tells the true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics and general manager Billy Beane, whose new-school, statistics-heavy approach to building a baseball team flies in the face of conventional wisdom. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Beane may have run a baseball organization, but entrepreneurs have plenty to learn from him. From data-driven decision-making to innovative problem-solving, not only did Beane kick off a revolution in professional sports, but he produced a roadmap for business leaders shaking things up. Even when the team is losing, Beane maintains his belief in the process — later resulting in one of the longest MLB win streaks ever.

3. American Factory

An Oscar-winning film that took home Best Documentary Feature honors, American Factory tells the story of one manufacturing plant outside Dayton, Ohio — once producing for General Motors and now under the ownership of a Chinese billionaire and his automotive glass company, Fuyao Glass America. The film highlights the challenges that come with two clashing cultures and the expectations around work, pay and dignity.

Business leaders can make note of the different management styles and how employees — both American and Chinese — respond to decrees from higher-ups, as well as the technological advances driving the 21st-century economy. For those interested in international business, American Factory provides a raw, unfiltered view of what it means to work across cultures.

4. The Theory of Everything

The late Stephen Hawking was one of the most brilliant and influential scientists of our time. Hawking was a fighter who overcame what was supposed to be a fatal case of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and went on to live a full and accomplished life. He was given no more than two or three years to live when he was diagnosed in 1964, but the disease progressed slower than expected.

However, Hawking was confined to a wheelchair for much of his life, and as his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows.

Related: 8 Movies That Increase Your IQ - #5 Will Test How Smart You Are

Key takeaways: Never stop asking questions. Hawking let nothing hold him back or keep him from achieving his goals. He proved time and again that life will reward you for the bravery to dream, belief in oneself and work hard. If you love a great story of persistence and grit, don't pass this up.

5. Dumb Money

Based on the true story of Gamestop's 2021 meteoric stock market rise, Dumb Money is a David versus Goliath tale of how a small-time trader named Keith Gill spurred a frenzy around an obscure stock — proving the naysayers wrong and screwing a few billionaires in the process.

To be clear, the takeaway from this film is not "put all your money into Gamestop stock." Rather, entrepreneurs can learn from Gill's tenacity and self-belief. While the world's financial experts told the public to sell, Gill rode the Gamestop stock "to the moon," as his followers would exhort.

For those not familiar with the intricacies of the global financial system, Dumb Money is also a helpful primer. It gives a glimpse into the lives of billion-dollar decision makers like Citadel's Ken Griffin, and the film explains financial concepts — such as short selling, squeezes and SPACs — in an easy-to-understand way.

6. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

This Netflix original is based on the true story of a boy who saved his town from famine by constructing a windmill to provide water and electricity.

William Kamkwamba was an adolescent when he was forced to drop out of school in Malawi because his family couldn't afford the school fees. As drought, deforestation, flood and famine hit his village, he began to search for a solution. He borrowed books from his former school's library, and in them, he learned about wind turbines. At its heart, this is a story of incredible innovation.

Related: Best Selling Self-Confidence Books

What can entrepreneurs learn from this story? Necessity is the mother of invention, and knowledge is power. Also, every venture comes with inherent risk, but every risk creates new opportunities. The key is that you must not let your doubts hold you back. Even in failure, there are lessons to be learned and new goals to pursue.

7. Glengarry Glen Ross

Based on David Mamet's Pulitzer-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross is about a group of four desperate real estate salesmen who find out two will soon be fired. To prove their worth and save their jobs, the salesmen cross ethical lines, backstab, break the law and try to live out the advice from their corporate trainer: "Always be closing."

A cautionary tale (and considered to be a more modern, more vulgar version of Death of a Salesman), the film shows the lengths some will go to succeed in business — for better or worse. Entrepreneurs can, however, learn from the resilience the characters embody. Desperation can bring out your best or your worst. In Glengarry Glen Ross, the latter is on full display.

Related: Qualities That Separate Extraordinary Salesperson Apart From the Pack

Deep Patel

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Serial Entrepreneur

Deep Patel is a serial entrepreneur, investor and marketer. Patel founded Blu Atlas, the fastest-growing men’s personal care brand, and sold it for eight figures in 2023, less than 18 months after its launch.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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