We don’t just watch films for entertainment. We watch movies because we want to see ourselves and people we relate to on the big screen. If you’re an entrepreneur, you definitely like to indulge in stories of success.
Whether these main characters are successful or not, they’re all featured in movies related to business that can teach us valuable lessons about our craft.
One of my favorite female-focused movies, Norma Rae tells the story of a single mother who works at a textile mill to make ends meet. The conditions within the mill are abhorrent, the pay is measly and the hours are long. What does Norma Rae do about this? She doesn’t take it lying down — she rallies her fellow workers and fights for unionism. She always fought for what she believed in and wanted to be treated fairly, and that’s definitely a great takeaway.
“The Founder” is perhaps the most relatable “rags to riches” story simply because we all know the success of the end product. It focuses on Ray Kroc, the salesman that founded the global fast food chain, McDonald’s. While he didn’t start the first McDonald’s, he helped the McDonald brothers Mac and Dick franchise their business, turning it into the empire it is today. This illustrates the lesson clearly: always look for new potential, and jump at the chance to get in on the ground floor of something.
“Tucker: A Man and His Dream”
This 80’s film might not be one that you’ve seen before, but it’s certainly worth watching. After long-time inventor Preston Tucker sells a design for a World War II turret gun, he decides to achieves his childhood dreams: inventing the car of the future. While he has the clout to get started on his dream now, he certainly learns a valuable lesson: the path to success is filled with obstacles and sacrifice. From manufacturers to the legal system, Tucker is challenged multiple times along the way to his dream reaching fruition…but does it ever come true?
While this movie is iconic for its cinematic innovation and famous “Rosebud” spoiler, Citizen Kane is a business story at the heart of it all. Charles Foster Kane was a successful business magnate, and the story is told through his narration of his life on his deathbed. Starting out as nothing, Kane becomes a tycoon, and learns his own valuable lesson: being in business means your ethics will be questioned. Will you lose your moral fiber, or double down on what you believe in?
Finally, I would normally never advocate following the examples given to us by the mafia, but The Godfather is actually a business-esque movie that we can learn a lot from. First, building and fostering relationships is paramount to success. Typically it isn’t as do or die in the world of business, but it’s still important to network and foster these connections you make. Another lesson? Always know what your competition is up to. Being one step ahead is how you beat out your business peers.