Poll: What Is Your Favorite Finance-Themed Movie?
Last week, after enormous interest in our list of top 20 finance-themed movies of all time, we asked the readers of CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief, what their favorite finance movie is.
We received nearly 1,200 responses, and based on those, we learned that contrary to expectations the favorite film of finance professionals is not Wall Street (28.2%) but Trading Places (29.5%). That Trading Places managed to edge out Wall Street is not altogether surprising. According to Internet Movies Database (IMDb), Trading Places is rated 7.4 out of 10 by nearly 70,000 users, whereas Wall Street is rated 7.3 out of 10 by about 88,000 users. Having said that, these two movies from the 1980s dominated the results, securing nearly 60% of the responses.
The classic from the 1940s It’s a Wonderful Life, often overlooked as a finance movie, finished third with 14% of responses, and the rest could not make it to double digits, including the comedy Other People’s Money, which somehow finished near the bottom.
But perhaps the most important point here is not about the relative popularity of these movies. With the sole exception of Its a Wonderful Life, all of the movies portray finance professionals in a negative light: the leading characters are insider traders in Wall Street and little better than gamblers in Trading Places. Financial professionals, particularly those working on Wall Street, have had a serious perception problem since long before the global financial crisis of 2008. As one of our readers pointed out, A Corner in Wheat, a black-and-white film without sound made in 1909, also portrays futures trading as a means of amassing enormous wealth by manipulating the market and hurting society.
The extent to which the film industry helps create or merely reflects the public’s perception of of finance is debatable. What we as financial professionals can do to improve that perception is even more complicated, but it’s a debate worth having.
Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.