Inspiring Movies About The Entrepreneurial Spirit

first pusblished on by Marina Zayats

Take a look at these films that are worth watching not only for their entertainment value, but also for their realistic depiction of various start-up cultures across time.

The following stories sound almost like fiction. Tremendous amounts of money within very short time, the instant rise and fall of small businesses, and young entrepreneurs who are celebrated like rock stars: it’s no wonder the start-up scene has attracted the film industry. The following films are worth watching not only for their entertainment value, but also for their realistic depiction of various start-up cultures across time. Take a look:


E-Dreams promotional poster


This documentary, from Korean director Wonsuk Chin, is good example of “how-not-to-do-business”. The film recounts the story of the startup, which offered deliveries of small items either by bike, car or public transport within no more than one hour. At first it seemed like the idea would work out very well. Within only a year the number of co-workers rose  from 11 up to 3000 people and the company was valued at some hundred million dollars, with Starbucks and Amazon among its biggest clients. The story had all the makings of a success story but then came the 2000 crash, and everything changed. A very entertaining and simultaneously informative film about the rise and fall of a startup during these turbulent times.

Jobs (2013)

The latest movie on this list is about innovator, visionary and Apple founder Steve Jobs. This project is the first film biography about one of the most famous entrepreneurs of the 21sth century. The film tells the story of Jobs’ entrepreneurial life, beginning in 1971 with the early “garage-time”, and spanning until his death in 2011. The film is partly set in Steve’s childhood home. Unlike a documentary, the film by Joshua Michael Stern is not beholden to hard facts, which is why critics state that the film doesn’t fully embrace Jobs’ complex character. The movie is due for release in April 2013. Another film has already been announced about Steve Jobs’ life- this one by screenplay writer Aaron Sorkin (who already provided the screenplay for “The Social Network”). Steve Jobs remains in the focus even after his death.

Official poster for (2001)

The subtitle of this film reflects perfectly the content and subject of this documentary. The “rise and fall of the American Dream” is explored through the story about the two young entrepreneurs, Tom Herman and Kaleil Tuzman. The film begins with the foundation of the pair’s start-up in May 1998, and spans up until its bankruptcy in 2000. Herman and Tuzman’s site allowed citizens to talk directly to local governors. Despite this good idea, the business failed. The underlying story of this documentary is another good example of how not to run your internet start-up. This is exactly why this film is so interesting and informative, since learning from failures can sometimes be even more helpful than success stories. The movie also illustrates well that failure can hit anyone-even if, like Kaleil Tuzman, you are a graduate from Harvard and have worked at Goldman Sachs

August (2008)

The most important events of this film occur just a month before the September 11th tragedy. The two main characters, the brothers John and Tom Sterling, own their own internet start-up which is struggling to survive. Their story is the illustration of the era and the “new economy” model. At that time, investment was flowing into marketing and advertisement rather than into business-growing activities, and great promises were made about the growth of internet companies. When the bubble burst, it buried hundreds of start-up companies and consequently the dreams of its founders. One of the best films about the rise and fall of “new economy” before and during the crash.

Download: The True Story of the Internet (2008)


The Download miniseries boxset

This documentary consists of miniseries which retell of the emergence and development of the global spider’s web: the fight of browsers, the success story of search engines and their galactic growth: the crises and the birth of Web 2.0. Each topic has its own series and is accurately analysed through its emergence, development and future importance. The documentary was made by Oxford Scientific Films and makes very clear that the internet itself is a huge start-up, always changing, adapting to new trends and crises and setting new standards.

Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

“If you can’t think of a good idea, buy or steal one”. This is the main ethos of  Martyn Burke’s film “Pirates of Silicon Valley”. Two start-up business men, two different personalities, two different approaches to conducting business. An impressive story about the emergence of two powerful IT-companies and the rivalry of two of the most influential CEO’s in the IT-business of the new era. This film, among the first about start-up companies, was shot even before the crises and as such provides a great look into startup culture pre-2000.

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