Movies can be fun and entertaining. But occasionally they give us a glimpse of real life that is both surreal and meaningful. This is true even when it comes to the world of finance, where a number of award winning movies have managed to successfully portray the inner dealings of the complex world of brokers and intraday trading. Gaining insights into the world of finance through these movies is both thought provoking and entertaining.

Though the portrayal of major financial events may seem a little exaggerated, all thanks to elements of drama and hysteria, the underlying message is clear. Viewers who spend their precious time and money, come out wiser and more in touch with realities of “what really happened” during the global recession or other major economic events. We highlight seven such movies that you should watch as an entertaining crash course about the world of finance.

#1 Inside Job

The first movie on our list is Inside Job. The movie is a documentary that takes viewers through the days leading up to the global recession in 2008. The movie showcases high profile interviews with key decision makers and stakeholders in the world of finance, along with a closely observant narration by Matt Damon. All these elements put together, in perfect symmetry, make this movie a must watch, especially if you are looking for the truth behind what really went down and the complex maze of greed and power in its worst form. The movie was released in 2010 and won a number of awards including an Academy Award for Best Documentary and the New York Critique Circle Award.

#2 Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism is another documentary directed by critically acclaimed director Michael Moore. The movie attempts to challenge the status quo through numbers and hard facts about the economic status of the US and how change is imminent. The movie also takes a hard gaze at Capitalism as an economic concept and how it has failed working class families and minorities struggling to make it through. The underlying message of greed and self-centeredness emanating at the top 1% is abjectly clear through this movie. Although you do feel a sense of helplessness, it’s not all doom and gloom. Michael Moore successfully manages to portray a picture of what societies should look like for a more hopeful future.

#3 The Big Short

If you are looking for an accurate portrayal of what really went down behind closed doors right before the 2008 meltdown, the Big Short is the movie to watch. The movie looks at the few men who predicted the financial crisis and bet against investment banks. The director of the movie, Adam McKay gave a very accurate depiction of what really happened inside board rooms before and after the big day and how the financial crumble could have been avoided. The movie also brings to life the systemic failures of the people in power and how accountability took a complete backseat. The movie has a great cast of actors including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling.

#4 The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street was another critically acclaimed story of the life of stockbroker  Jordan Belfort. The movie exposes loopholes in the financial markets especially when it comes to fraud and how it can be easily exploited by the greedy. As easy money became easy, greed and a desire took over, which only led to metal health issues and other drug and alcohol related problems. Eventually the cards came crumbling down with a moral that greed is never a good thing. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie is both exciting and packed with entertaining sequences. In the process, it also teaches a number of valuable lessons about the world and finance and crucially, what not to do to get ahead.

#5 The Wizard of Lies

The Wizard of Lies is a true story about the life and times of American stockbroker and investment adviser Bernie Madoff.  The story is set around the year 2008 when financial investigations into Madoff’s books uncover a number of irregularities. These irregularities lead investigators to uncover one of the biggest scandals in Wall Street history. Madoff, who till this point, had enjoyed a healthy reputation in the financial world, was now a key suspect of fraud. In the end, the huge scandal that broke out resulted in multibillion-dollar losses for investors and led to the collapse of an empire. Madoff himself, during this course received a 150 years prison sentence. The movie also depicts the family and the struggles they had to endure as a result of one man’s greed.

#6 Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story

Scam 1992 is a realistic depiction of one of India’s most prolific stock brokers Harshad Mehta. The movie is set in the year 1980-90 in Mumbai and details the rise of Harshad Mehta from his humble origins. Through sheer grit and determination, the stock broker takes the markets to dizzying heights, albeit sometimes through dubious means. The movie goes over a number of financial terms and practices in the stock markets that give you greater insights into the risks and opportunities for average brokers. It is also a clear indication of what you shouldn’t do and the consequences to individuals and family as a result of bad decisions.

#7 Wall Street

Wall Street is hands down the number one finance movie that every professional must watch. Directed and co-written by acclaimed director Oliver Stone, the movie stars Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen. Since its launch, the movie had created a cult following with phrases such as “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel” and the immortal “Greed is Good”. The movie tries to showcase the greed associated with wall street and the excess and hedonism associated with finance. Today, after almost 30 years since it was first introduced, the movie is used as a recruiting tool for traders, brokers, analysts, and bankers around the globe.