Cinematic inspiration: 5 movies that will motivate you in your entrepreneurial journey


Books have inspired and enthralled people for centuries; however, the last century has seen them gradually be replaced by movies. The magic of the cinema allows people to actually see stories played out before them, rather than having to imagine them from the written word. This, of course, makes movies a great way of communicating inspiring and motivational stories to audiences.

Whether you’re somebody aspiring to be an entrepreneur, somebody who’s already on their business journey, or a leading corporate leader, there are plenty of movies and shows out there that offer up inspiration. From showcasing business decisions to documenting motivational life stories, here are five movies based on the lives of real entrepreneurs that could offer just the inspiration you’re looking for:

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The Founder

Most people associate McDonald’s to be an All-American brand that sprang from family roots. You couldn’t be more wrong! CEO Ray Kroc was a shrewd businessman who was failing at everything he started until he hijacked an existing franchise by the name of MacDonald’s. “It had an American family ring to it”, said Ray.

The story of The Founder is all about how a businessman took advantage of a group of founders who later had no option but to sell out their business to him. While it can be tempting to paint Ray Kroc (played superbly by Michael Keaton) as a villain in the movie who preys on smaller founders, The Founder does an amazing job of showing his business acumen as well. Ray’s strategy of expanding McDonald’s beyond just a “food business” into a “real-estate business” (plenty of McDonald’s properties are owned by the company which leases them out to franchisees to earn rent) is a pioneering model replicated by many other brands today.

The Social Network

By now, it’s highly unlikely there’s anyone who hasn’t seen or heard of this movie. Focusing on the story behind the rise of Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg in brilliant form), The Social Network did a fairly good job of showcasing the life and growth of Zuckerberg.

While the movie did face some controversy over inaccuracies, it has been widely cited as an inspiration for people to start their own startups. Mark Zuckerberg himself has previously said that he has received “lots of messages from people who claim that they have been very much start their own company” after seeing the film. If you’re considering sitting down on your laptop and building the next tech innovation that changes the world, watch The Social Network. It might give you just the spark needed to get you started.

Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs led an incredible life, but was it all rosy? No – it had its share of ups and downs, along with Jobs’ famous obsession with quality and design. Jobs knew that he had to differentiate his brand from the competition, while also creating the world’s largest ever brand. He had a burning desire to create a beautiful product that customers loved, and he pulled out all the stops to make it happen. Jobs’ obsession with design, quality, and value has embedded itself into Apple’s DNA, and Steve Jobs does an excellent job of giving you a sneak peek into the life of the man behind the world’s most valued company.

Pirates of Silicon Valley

A 1999 made-for-television biographical drama, Pirates of Silicon Valley has become something of a cult classic in cinema. Shot and produced in a documentary style, the movie follows the early days of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and how their rivalry helped shaped the face of the modern personal computer. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak have all expressed approval of the film and its portrayal of how events happened. For aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate leaders alike, this is an incredible peek into the lives of two of the most iconic entrepreneurs of the modern world.

The Pursuit of Happyness

While not a story about a conventional businessman/entrepreneur, this incredibly heart-touching movie based on the true story of Chris Gardner offers one of the most important lessons for entrepreneurs – self-belief, and never giving up. Will Smith’s portrayal of Gardner as he tries to fend for himself and his son against all odds will move you, and his refusal to accept defeat will inspire you. Chris Gardner’s passion and belief helped him surmount innumerable obstacles, something all entrepreneurs can learn from as they proceed on their own startup journeys.

Watching the lives of corporate giants and the stories behind their companies can offer entrepreneurs insights into what needs to be done to build their own success and legacy. The next time you feel like the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against you, watch one of these films to learn how the best of the best overcome difficulties to achieve success.

What movie has inspired your entrepreneurship journey? Let us know in the comments!


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