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The 5 Best Wall Street Movies

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 9/6/2022 5 min read

I’m working on a much bigger and more in depth list, but for now these are some solid movies you definitely should watch to better understand the stock market and the evil, manipulative people who inhabit it (these characters exist in real life too…trust me on that)

After a couple of tough days trading, perhaps the best thing a trader needs is a little inspiration. Where better to get this inspiration than from some great films about Wall Street.

The 5 Best Wall Street Movies

Wall Street (1987)

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The first one is the 1987 film  Wall Street directed by Oliver Stone, about a young, ambitious and very impatient stockbroker named Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen), who uses his connections within the airline industry to cosy up to the illustrious Wall Street rebel Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas).

He lived the high life that everyone dreams off and then his whole bubble burst as he is manipulated by Gekko.

If you have seen the TV show Wall Street Warriors, you will know that this film inspired the classic white collar and blue shirt combination known as ‘The Gekko’.

The film lasts for 2 hours and would definitely recommend you give it a watch.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Number two for me is not as good as the original Wall Street film, but reviving the story of Gordon Gekko was always going to be a very difficult task.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is still a relatively entertaining film.

When we have moved from fractions to decimals and from open outcry to electronic trading, the film progressed much quicker and wasn’t focused on Bud Fox, but on Jake Moore and his fiancé (Gekko’sDaughter) and the collapse of the global investment bank, Keller Zabel.

If you can take anything away from this, it would be not to let your emotions get caught up in your trades.

Close to the beginning when KZI is collapsing, Jake leveraged his bonus and bought into the company. Needles to say he lost it.

Margin Call (2011)

Yet another ‘ok’ film set in the world of all Street, Margin Call is an engaging and thrilling film involving the key players at an investment bank during a  24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.

When an entry-level analyst gains access to  information from a colleague pen drive that could prove to be the downfall of the firm and potentially the western financial system, a  terrifying roller-coaster ride ensues as decisions both financial and moral launch the lives of all involved to the brink of what was thought to be the inevitable meltdown.

Boiler Room (2000)

Perhaps one of the best films out there –  Boiler Room.

A college dropout gets a job as a broker for a suburban investment firm, which puts him on the fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it sounds.

The operation turns out not to be entirely legal and the room raised billions for companies that don’t exist.

Boiler room is inspired by the operations of the the boiler room operator Jason Belfort.

This is one of the best classics there is out there. You can find it online for purchase pretty easily. To see Tims recent spoof of the interview scene from this film click here now.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

You just can’t help but get excited when one of the worlds best directors, and one of the worlds best actors, collaborate to create one of the worlds best wall street stories of all time so far.

Yes you guessed it, the Wolf of Wall Street.

This time it is more accurately based on the work of JB. Set in  the beautiful era that was 1980/90 US, we will learn about one of the largest actions of Financial Crime in history. If you haven’t seen this one, then you should.

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”