What to watch: a trader's video library
Trading in the market is not only a potentially profitable pastime; it is also extremely exciting. The market is captivating. You want to spend more and more time with it – but sometimes you just have to relax. We suggest you combine business with pleasure and watch a movie or two dedicated to your favorite topic. Tragic or comical, realistic or fictitious – these motion pictures are guaranteed to entertain you and will probably teach you a new trick or two. So what should a trader watch in their free time?
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio is probably the most popular and controversial recent movie about the stock exchange. It will be interesting even for those who know nothing about trading. The incredible story unfolding before the viewers is not so much about trading as it is about a financial mogul’s way of life. It’s nothing but the truth: the movie follows the memoirs of a real person. Jordan Belfort used to cheat the U.S. government; now he is a book writer and a lecturer.
Wall Street (1988)
Another movie titled after the famous New York street that has become the symbol of… well, you know what it symbolizes. This magnificent motion picture by Oliver Stone, featuring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen, won numerous awards and grossed millions in box offices worldwide. Made in the late eighties, the story is still relevant today. The same passions and same techniques are still there, except that the world of capital has become more technologically advanced and even more cruel. Even Oliver Stone admits this in his 2010 sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
The Big Short (2015)
Like many other good films, this motion picture is based on a true story. It was entitled The Downward Game in Russian theaters, but we know what the “big short” really means. The economic crisis was devastating to many people, but some managed to profit off of this “black swan.” Selling when everyone is buying may be perilous, but the outcome can reward you for taking all of the risks. Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and even Brad Pitt – a celebrity cast for a truly smart and captivating movie.
Margin Call (2011)
Once again, Russian film distributors made a “great” adaptation for the general audience by translating the title as Risk Limits. Knowing the actual meaning of the phrase “margin call,” the movie will be much more interesting to watch. The story revolves around the 2008 crisis, and the bankers, financial tycoons and officials trying in vain to prevent the imminent collapse. The personalities will look familiar to those who have been trading for some time – even Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve Chairman, is there. The morals are obvious: being too self-assured can result in a margin call, even for the largest players.
Rogue Trader (1999)
It’s “lost in translation” again. The Russian title, The Swindler, doesn’t quite correspond to the story, or rather doesn’t reveal it fully. While the original name, Rogue Trader, is the perfect title for a screen adaptation of Nick Leeson’s memoirs (featuring the talented Ewan McGregor). Leeson was appointed chief trader at the Singapore office of a major British bank – and ruined it spectacularly. The story has a poignant lesson for all traders to learn: manage your risks; averaging, even when backed by a bank’s millions in assets, will sooner or later lead to a collapse.
Boiler Room (2000)
Finally, an adequate translation. Boiler Room is a film not so much about trading but about the numerous fraudsters surrounding it. It is interesting to see how the “garbage” securities scheme is working in the United States. You can also borrow some psychological techniques to use in actual trading. The main character, Giovanni Ribisi, runs an illegal casino; finding himself in hot water, he gets a job as a stock broker… which in turn makes him an unwitting criminal. To save his life and what is left of his morality, he has to go to the FBI and “rat” on his colleagues.
Finally, a purely entertaining movie that Russian distributors inexplicably called The Area of Darkness. Neither the original title nor the story contain any hint of “dark areas.” However, the picture will still be interesting to all traders – in fact, it is a fictional story depicting the dream of any Wall Streeter. The hero, your average loser, suddenly acquires an uncanny ability to use 100% of his brain power. What does he do with this newfound talent? You guessed it, this is a story about a super trader. It is fictitious – but still very interesting for everyone.
As you can see, this short list consists entirely of Hollywood films. This is only natural, since trading is a very well-known and respected profession in the U.S. No wonder so many feature films and documentaries have been made about traders. We decided not to go into the documentaries yet – but if you haven’t seen the amazing Floored (2010)… then stop reading this article and turn on your player! This story of a Chicago futures traders is a must-see for anyone who is serious about the markets.