Five Films With The Best Lessons For Entrepreneurs

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Unlike books and articles, films have a way of moving people. Ditch the day-long conferences and expensive master classes for a two-hour film instead. Here’s a list of films where the storyline and layered characters teach some important lessons, ideal for an entrepreneur.


1. The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)

Martin Frohm: [during the interview room, with a panel preset] What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt, and I hired him?
What would you say?
Christopher Gardner: He must have had on some really nice pants.

Based on a real-life story, Will Smith essays the role of Chris Gardner.
A troubled salesman who invested all his money in a device called ‘Bone Density Scanner’. The device is better than an X-ray and also pricier, unfortunately leading to the investment going south. Being strapped for money, Chris’s wife leaves him with their son and he loses his apartment. Chris manages to get an unpaid internship as a stockbroker with slim chances of advancing to a hiring position. Chris concurrently attempts to sell his scanners while attempting to outshine his competition in the six month training period at the successful company. The hustle of spending the night in motels, train stations and shelters is well encapsulated by Will Smith. The film proves to be an ideal watch for entrepreneurs to show that only after one works through life’s worst challenges do they emerge at the top.

2. Coach Carter
“The board sent the message loud and clear. Winning basketball games is more important than graduating from high school and going to college.
I’m sorry, I just can’t support that message.” ‒ Coach Ken Carter.

Coach Carter brings the real-life story of Ken Carter to Polaroid. Unlike popular sports movies, High School Coach Carter essayed by Samuel L Jackson, insists on the team excelling on the court and in classrooms. Knowing the fact that eighty percent of high school graduates in his neighborhood end up in jail and legal trouble Carter insists on the students getting into college. As a strict disciplinarian who won several laurels in his time at the High School, makes his students sign a contract with hard and fast roles on their conduct. Upon learning the students cheated him by only excelling on the court, locks the gym and forces them to bring up their grades. This alerts the school, their families and their media. The strength in the Coach’s decision and his vision for his students inspires viewers to strive to achieve what they set out to do.

3. Sully (2016)
Chesley Sullenberger: I’ve had 40 years in the air but in the end, I’m going to be judged by 208 seconds.

Clint Eastwood directed Sully, led by veteran actor Tom Hanks, is about the miracle performed on the Hudson River, New York. On 15th January 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenburge made an emergency landing on the Hudson river after his engines failed when struck by a flock of geese.
All hundred and fifty-five passengers survive the dangerous landing due to the skilled experience of the Captain. What follows after the miracle, is an investigation into why the plane did not attempt to land at a closer airport. The film highlights the questions raised against the experienced judgment of the captain. Despite a grilling investigation, Captain Sully maintains his confidence in his judgment and decisions. The film is an important lesson in standing up for oneself and relying on one’s training.

4. Dead Poets Society (1989)
John Keating
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.”

An uncynical, idealistic and hopeful film. Dead Poets Society, led by late actor Robin Williams as an English professor who teaches his students to challenge tradition and convention. He wants his class to think for themselves and pursue their dreams. The professor’s unconventional methods like standing on top of desks to change perspective and marching in concentric circles to create sync and rhythm leave the class incredibly infatuated and hopeful. The film inspires the audience to recognize their passion and creates a hunger to make their dreams come true.

5. Erin Brockovich (2000)
Erin Brockovich:
For the first time in my life, I got people respecting me. Please, don’t ask me to give it up.
Ed Masry: In a law firm you may want to re-think your wardrobe a little.
Erin Brockovich: Well as long as I have one ass instead of two I’ll wear what I like if that’s all right with you.

Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich is an unemployed single mother who becomes a legal assistant and helps bring down a huge corporation accused of polluting the city’s clean water. Erin is a smart and savvy personality without any academic credit, who convinces her firm’s head Ed, to let her investigate a case that she stumbled upon by accident. Upon discovering medical records of a community suffering from several medical conditions like cancer, disintegrating spinal cords and brain damage. Erin finds out that a nearby Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) plant is responsible for polluting the clean water which has led to the poor health of the residents. She gains the trust of the community to fight against the successful corporation. Eventually winning the largest direct claim settlement in American history. The story’s realism inspires people to make the best of their skills and not give up on opportunities.


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