Sales careers provide for great cinematic entertainment, as there are always an abundance of ups and lows, exciting moments and crushing moments. We sat down and came up with 10 of our favorite sales movies.
This one is on many lists, but for good reason; after all, it was the original movie inspired by the Stratton Oakmont firm and the life of Jordan Belfort (you know The Wolf of Wallstreet? This came before that). An exciting drama about the not-so-glamorous parts of being a broker and giving us a look inside the culture of a sales team doing high volume cold calls, this film brings you along for the rollercoaster ride the entire way. And we definitely keep coming back for re-watches.
The classic, profanity-laden, wild ride of a film that got Pacino a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination. Crazy characters, the ever-climbing tension to see who will win and who will be the most cutthroat, and the iconic one-liners all make this film about real estate salesmen one that you want to revisit again and again. You might even find yourself shouting “Coffee is for closers” at the next person who gets their latte before you.
You probably didn’t think this was a sales movie when you saw the trailer; neither did we. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a Pfizer salesman who has to prove his worth and climb up the ranks to get promoted to Chicago. Watching Gyllenhaal figure out ways to charm the receptionists, make his quota, deal with his family, and discover the golden ticket that is Viagra all while dealing with the ups and downs of a new relationship is cinematic gold.
What better movie about on-the-road sales than Tommy Boy? Despite the mixed reviews Tommy Boy has gotten over the years, it’s done fantastically commercially. Immature Tommy, played by Chris Farley, embarks on a grand quest to sell 500,000 brake pads to keep his recently deceased father’s name alive and respected. David Spade plays Richard Hayden, the one accompanying Tommy on his trip, and the film shows how teamwork between partners, communication and trust are some of the key elements in a sales role.
If you hadn’t at least heard of Will Smith’s moving performance as Chris Gardner, we suggest you immediately put this on your television or laptop screen. A movie about the true hardships of making it in the financial world, cold calling hundreds of people with no responses, figuring out the best sales process and ultimately not knowing whether or not your hard work will be worth it in the end. We won’t spoil the ending for you – go ahead and find out yourself.
We couldn’t make this list without mentioning Scorsese’s latest masterpiece, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort. Money, power, drugs, sex appeal, the movie highlights all the fun sides of making it big – and the downsides too. We watch Belfort reach his highest peak ever and we even get a little sad when he plummets just as quickly. DiCaprio’s performance is captivating and you find yourself almost wanting to get on the same path as him – almost. Watch this movie if you’re feeling like seeing how the highest performers live, but take it with a grain of salt.
This TV movie makes our list because of the exhilaration you get from watching the story unfold. The Microsoft and Apple Saga is depicted, showcasing the story of how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs built their respective empires. Watching Gates convince IBM to let him get a quick look at their operating system DOS is just as much of an OMG moment now as it was when it came out. It’s a great look at the story behind the mega empires we all know and use today.
8. Lord of War
A sales movie with more of a dark side: the movie charts the ups and downs of Yuri Orlov who sells guns to mobsters in his neighborhood. Though not your typical sales movie, the journey of Yuri and his partnership with an African warlord and his psychotic son is a thrill ride that will have you on the edge of your seat till the very end.
This famous Tom Cruise movie follows the sports agent who has it all – until he loses everything. He is forced to build his client list from the ground up, having years of work thrown in the trash. If you’re looking for inspiration to hit the pavement and start hustling, look no further than Jerry Maguire.
10. Wall Street
The original movie that showed the public the greedy side of Wall Street before Scorsese’s masterpiece, Wall Street is one that shows the ruthless, cutthroat dirty side of the industry. Indulge yourself a little and watch the classic that still keeps everyone talking this many years later.
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