Movie is one medium of inspiration and motivation for entrepreneurs. This is because most motivational movies are biopics and it becomes easier to connect with these characters since they actually experienced the same challenges, failures, and successes that entrepreneurs go through.
Hollywood have released a steady stream of biopic-type movies over the years, including the following 11 Oscar-nominated films. While this list is not comprehensive, these films are doses of inspiration.
1. “The Social Network” (2010)
Nominated for eight Academy Awards, this over-dramatized film follows Mark Zuckerberg’s meteoric rise from a Harvard student to the founder of the world’s most popular social network.
“The Social Network” took some liberties when recounting the founding and success of Facebook. However, it does an excellent job of detailing the : battling with co-founders, lawsuits, and isolation. It also documents the importance of a variety of traits such as being resilient, flexible, delegating, networking, and being receptive to suggestions.
2. “Citizen Kane” (1941)
Hands down one of the greatest movies ever made, “Kane” was nominated for an impressive nine Oscars. While not exactly a biography, the main character Charles Foster Kane was based on American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick.
Charles Foster Kane, like most entrepreneurs, has a desire to change the world. In Kane’s situation, he wants to do so with journalism. However, as his wealth and power increases, Kane transforms from a “citizen of the people” to a man only obsessed with his wealth and power. In the end, the only thing that mattered to him was his childhood sled “Rosebud.” The lesson? There’s more to life than just money and power.
3. “Joy” (2015)
Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Joy Mangano, who was a single mother who invented the Miracle Mop. Through her dedication she became a self-made millionaire who now holds more than 100 patents.
Joy experienced her own challenges, such as family betrayal and a fickle industry. There was even a point when QVC was going to pull the Miracle Mop. However, Joy believed in her product so much that she began pitching it on QVC herself. Her first TV appearance resulted in selling . Sometimes it pays off to be your biggest cheerleader.
4. “Rocky” (1976)
Loosely inspired by real-life boxer Chuck Wepner, “Rocky” won three Oscars, including Best Picture. Since it’s release, Rocky Balboa has become one of the most beloved characters in film history — especially in Philly — thanks to the underdog’s grit and determination.
Like Rocky, entrepreneurs are underdogs. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t rise to the challenge. What makes a successful entrepreneur isn’t if they win or lose. It’s the fact that they can go toe-to-toe with the champ when everyone else doubts them.
5. “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006)
Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, in which Will Smith was nominated for an Oscar for, “The Pursuit of Happyness” follows Gardner’s struggles with homelessness to successful businessman, investor, stockbroker, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist.
Most entrepreneurs make sacrifices when chasing their dreams. In Gardner’s case, that was raising a son while being homeless. However, Gardner never gave up and persisted. If that doesn’t inspire you, then I don’t know what will.
6. “Moneyball” (2011)
Nominated for six Academy Awards, “Moneyball” recounts the Oakland A’s impressive 2002 season. What made it so inspiring was that the team didn’t have the money to attract top talent. But thanks to outside-of-the-box thinking from general manager Billy Beane, the team won the American League West.
This film demonstrates how entrepreneurs have to be innovative when . In other words, you don’t need money in order to make your product better. On top of that, Beane never gave-up on his vision, despite the constant criticism from naysayers.
7. “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” (1998)
This biographical film was nominated for three Oscars and follows Preston Tucker during his attempt to manufacture his 1948 Tucker Sedan, which he dubbed “the car of tomorrow.” Tucker’s design revolutionized safety features, such as a pop out windshield, headlights that swivel when you turn, and seat belts, but faced animosity from the Big Three automobile companies and the authorities. The smear campaign against Tucker and his “car of tomorrow” lead to his company going bankrupt. However, the vehicle, thanks in part to this film, is now admired – and highly collectible.
Preston Tucker risked everything to follow his dream. While there wasn’t a happy ending for Tucker, this film shows the challenges that entrepreneurs must face from investors, regulators, and competitors.
8. “Jerry Maguire” (1996)
Inspired by real-life sports agent Leigh Steinberg, “Jerry Maguire,” which was nominated for five Oscars and featured Best Supporting Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., tells the story of a successful sports agent who had everything and risked it all when he realized that agents should be focusing on their clients and not just dollar signs. Jerry loses everything, but his values eventually guide him in starting his own successful firm and even to true love.
Like “Citizen Kane,” this is another example where the protagonist realizes that there’s more to life than money and material objects. When you have this epiphany, everything else in your life will fall into place – even if the journey is bumpy along the way.
9. “The Aviator” (2004)
Martin Scorsese’s Howard Hughes biographical drama was nominated for a whopping eleven Academy Awards. The film traces the life of Huges between 1927 and 1947 as he goes from successful film producer and an aviation magnate to a man battling obsessive–compulsive disorder.
Entrepreneurship is full of risk and hard work, which is why you need to blow off some steam – which was exactly what Hughes did as he builds and runs his own companies. However, what’s most inspiring about “The Aviator” is that at the height of his personal struggles, Hughes managed to defend his business dealings in front of a Senate committee. No matter what’s going on in their lives, successful entrepreneurs are tenacious and will pull themselves together when backed into a corner.
10. “Lorenzo’s Oil” (1992)
“Lorenzo’s Oil” is based on the true story of Augusto and Michaela Odone, who relentlessly searched for a cure for their son’s adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). The couple devote everything they have in order to find a cure, which eventually leads them to finding an oil that improves some of Lorenzo’s symptoms. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards.
Film critic Roger Ebert it up perfectly: “It takes a heartbreaking story and pushes it to the limit, showing us the lengths of courage and imagination that people can summon when they must.”
11. “Steve Jobs” (2015)
Nominated for two Academy Awards, “Steve Jobs” is another biographical film that takes some liberties as it retells the story of Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs – specifically his exit from the company, the founding of NeXT, and his subsequent return to Apple.
Despite his setbacks, such as his split with Apple, product failures, and his at times heated relationships with Steve Wozniak, colleagues, and his family, Steve Jobs never gave up on his vision. In fact, it was this vision that made Apple the juggernaut it is today.