15 Money Movies That Make Great Last Minute Gifts

As we are rounding third and heading for home (excuse the baseball reference please, but I’m so deprived at this time of the year!), I thought what’s more of a holiday treat than to get a DVD of a classic movie that you love and other family members may not have seen? Classic DVD’s are usually a bargain and can even be purchased used online to save even more. (If you order from Amazon today, there’s still time to get it by Christmas with standard shipping.) Then I thought why not tie it all in and pick money movies that can entertain and teach you some great financial lessons!

15 Money Movies That Make Great Last Minute Gifts

While I haven’t gotten to see The Big Short yet (it’s not playing near me until next week), here’s my list of some of the best money movies of the past 40 years. So why not take a stroll down memory lane and give one of these to a loved one or friend? It’s a great evening at home with popcorn and an entertaining money lesson without any of the pain.

Jerry Maguire (1996, rated R)

Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr.  and Renée Zellweger star in a story about a sports agent (Cruise) who has a moral epiphany and loses his job because of it. He then becomes an independent, trying his new philosophy out on the only sports guy who gives him a chance and sticks with him. “Show me the money” is one line that will forever be identified with this one!

The Money Pit (1986, rated PG)

Tom Hanks and Shelley Long star in a comedy about a young couple that buys a house that needs “just a little work”. Pouring money into the pit, as they say, is a warning for us all!

Ocean’s Eleven (2001, rated R)

Featuring a huge cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts, this remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra film deals with the simultaneous robberies of 3 Las Vegas casinos and you can’t help but root for their success. Start with Ocean’s Eleven or just go ahead and get the whole series.

Casino (1995, rated R)

Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci star in a flick about greed, deception, money, power and murder!

The Color of Money (1996, rated R)

Paul Newman and Tom Cruise star in this classic. Newman reprises his role from The Hustler and tries to prove that “money won is twice as sweet as money earned!” Suspenseful drama directed by Martin Scorsese.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, rated R)

Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, and Alec Baldwin star in a movie about real estate salesmen and the extent they will go to when they are about to lose their jobs. Drama all over this suspenseful story.

Indecent Proposal (1993, rated R)

Demi Moore, Robert Redford, and Woody Harrelson star in this story of how far one couple may go to solve their financial problems. They make a desperate deal that may cost them more dearly than they expect.

Boiler Room (2000, rated R)

Giovanni Ribisi is on the fast track at his brokerage job when he learns all isn’t legit and trouble is just around the corner.

Brewster’s Millions (1985, rated G)

Richard Pryor and John Candy star in this comedy about a man who inherits $300 million if he can meet the crazy conditions set by his late uncle.

Other People’s Money (1991, rated R)

Danny DeVito plays a corporate raider set on continuing his practice of deconstructing companies until he meets a lady who will make him choose between making money and her!

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006, rated PG)

Will Smith and his real-life son Jaden star in the true story of a man and his son who are down to nothing, and their struggles to build a life together through hard work and loving bonds.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008, rated R)

Dev Patel is a poor young man in India struggling to survive until he’s given an opportunity to answer questions on the television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

The Sting (1973, rated PG)

Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw star in a film about two 1930’s con men avenging a friend’s murder by conning a criminal banker.

Trading Places (1983, rated R)

Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy are hilarious in this story of a rich executive and a down-and-out hustler who change places with each other and that’s when the fun really begins.

Now there are my 14 picks which are all tied at number 2 on my list! Number 1 is reserved for a true classic in every sense of the word. It has iconic stars and the true spirit of the season. I’m talking about…

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, not rated but perfect for the whole family!)

Jimmy Stewart is a hard working, loyal bank manager who forgoes his own dreams to help family and friends keep the town going, until the worst happens! About to kill himself, an angel stops him and tries to convince him what life would be like if he hadn’t been around. A wonderful, feel good film that Stewart has said was his own all-time favorite.

Movies are a wonderful way to experience stories, both real and imagined, that help us feel and learn, including lessons about money. Here’s hoping you and your family can enjoy some movie time over the holidays!

Do you have a favorite money movie that I’ve overlooked? What money lessons have you learned lately?

Image courtesy of www.tOrange.us (with changes)


  1. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    So glad Trading Places got on your list! It’s a great holiday movie and a lot of fun. Plus, for kids of the 80s, it was the introduction to the idea of commodities and futures.
    But so many movies have at least a strong money subtext (or at least class). And, this is kinda a macho list (do any pass the Bechdel test?). If you want your money films in the more chick flick realm, Pretty in Pink, the Last Holiday, all those Jane Austen movies (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Clueless) are all valid choices. (ooh, there’s a post in that I need to write. Thanks Gary)

    1. Emily, thanks so much for your comments! You’re absolutely right that this is a “macho list”, which I didn’t set out to do intentionally. I’ll take responsibility for that, but the unfortunate truth is that Hollywood has been negligent in providing female-centered films, especially when it comes to money subjects. Off the top of my head, I can think of quite a few movies where leading men are stockbrokers, bankers, or are in similar financial positions, but not one with a major female role in that occupation. I like the choices you’ve added and I will definitely consider an expanded point of view for the future.

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