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List of Wall Street themed movies

This is an excellent list. I have to agree with Jonathan B above... We're streaming the director's reel of the documentary "Floored" for free next week in anyone's interested: http://bit.ly/15pEwjl

-Futures Mag
 

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I know there's a film thread here somewhere but I can't seem to find it. Here's a review of the recent The Wolf of Wall Street, written by a daughter of some mini-me Gordon Gekko.

So here's the deal. You people are dangerous. Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals. We want to get lost in what? These phony financiers' fun sexcapades and coke binges? Come on, we know the truth. This kind of behavior brought America to its knees.
 
Not exactly a "Wall Street" movie, but "Arbitrage," 2012 with Richard Gere is a movie based on some Hedge fund owner's life.

Good thread btw
 
Wall Street (the original 1987 movie) was great, had a nice plot, should be higher on the list in my limited opinion :)

For non-fiction, there was a great documentary Trader which follows Paul Tudor Jones (Tudor Funds), I remember snippets of PTJ waking up in the morning to trade currencies in Asia or positioning for crash of 1987
Problem is, copies of this documentary are hard to come by
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tudor_Jones
 
Another review of The Wolf of Wall Street:

Soon, along with Azoff, he opens up his own boiler room, and, soon after that, he “rebrands” the company Stratton Oakmont, a newly minted “blue chip” firm, a move that gives him access to richer suckers and bigger bank accounts. An attempted “hit job” by Forbes Magazine backfires. It makes him a household name. They should have hired the NY Post instead. After that comes the Steve Madden IPO, and, by the age of 26, Jordan Belfort is worth 50 million dollars. The rest of the movie is as predictable as it is entertaining. Copious amounts of drugs are taken. Hundreds of prostitutes are fucked. Hundreds of millions of dollars of investor money are flushed down the toilet, and, eventually, Stratton Oakmont attracts the attention of the FBI.

...

What’s more, if the American people look up to men like Jordan Belfort and Donnie Azoff, and they do, that’s not Martin Scorsese’s fault. Just because Scorsese attempts to locate the source of Belfort’s appeal, he’s not romanticizing him. Jordan Belfort succeeds because, in the tawdry world of the 1990s neoliberal United States, he was able to articulate the only thing left about the “American Dream.” Make money. Get rich. Fuck hookers and do drugs. It may not be my ideal, but it sure as hell beats “check your privilege.” If Belfort comes off like a smarmy mediocrity and Azoff like a angry little toad, that’s only because we Americans love smarmy mediocrities and angry toads. Indeed, the final scenes of The Wolf of Wall Street show Belfort as a wannabe cult leader, a “motivational speaker” who’s found his place at last, holding forth like a Baptist preacher about the Gospel of Success. If this had been another time, and Belfort had been black, he might have been Reverend Ike. Azoff, post 9/11, might have been Michael Savage or Sean Hannity. If you don’t like it, don’t blame a movie. Change the culture. Overthrow capitalism. But don’t wag your finger at Martin Scorsese for being an honest filmmaker.
 
May the Fourth by Jared Dillian

I recently watched the movie Interstellar in the theater. I liked it so much, I watched it again… and again. Three times in 10 days. Next, I’ll get the DVD and see it dozens of more times. It’s my new all-time favorite movie.

I’m something of an astrophysics geek. I think in another life I might have been one of these nerds working for the SETI project like Ellie Arroway in Contact. For my fifth-grade science project, I constructed a planetarium show. When my schoolmates were playing Contra on Nintendo, I was reading about quasars.

Interstellar fascinates me because I don’t understand how someone gets $150 million of financing to make a movie that no one who doesn’t understand Einstein’s theory of relativity can fully appreciate. Christopher Nolan is a stud. There is no other explanation.

I had to smile each time I left the theater, listening to the people walking out. “I didn’t understand any of that!” they would say. I think knowledge of the cosmos is pretty low in my corner of South Carolina.

I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s say there’s a lot of physics knowledge required for that movie. Incidentally, there’s a lot of physics knowledge required for trading too.

The derivatives guys understand this. Most conventional option pricing models are based on something called “geometric Brownian motion,” which was originally used to describe the movement of a particle suspended in a liquid or a gas.

Emanuel Derman, author of My Life as a Quant and contributor to the Black-Derman-Toy model that pioneered the pricing of bond options, started out as a darn good physicist. Then he was hired by Goldman Sachs. Lots of quants (quantitative analysts) are former physicists. Finance and physics really are that similar.

I have my own theories about financial physics.

  1. Stocks and bonds are matter. They are things. They are particles. They literally are physical objects—in the old days, certificates. Nowadays, they have a CUSIP. You can clip the coupons. In bearer form, they were worth money. Nowadays, nobody really gets to hold a bond in his hand, but it’s still tangible as far as I’m concerned. The foregoing also applies to currencies. And commodities… well, they are as tangible as you can get.
  2. Credit and volatility are not matter. They are forces very similar to gravity. Think about it: credit is the willingness or ability to repay. It’s a feeling, a sensation, a psychological construct. But it is not a thing. It has neither a certificate nor a CUSIP. But credit is directly related to volatility—otherwise the credit guys wouldn’t hedge with VIX call spreads all the time.
The one thing we know about gravity is that it is not constant in the universe. There can be large disturbances, like a black hole, where time can actually slow down—exactly like the gravitational time dilation described in Interstellar. When volatility increases (and credit widens), options decay more slowly. Volatility (“vol”) and time work in opposite directions.

Vvol Is Sky-High Right Now
We are currently experiencing—I’m grinning as I write this—disturbances in the force. Credit and volatility have never acted this way before, and I can quantify it exactly.

Never before has the VIX gone from 11 to 20 in just four days. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the outsize influence volatility ETFs were having on the vol complex, and that remains true. I think this can partially be explained by people panicking out of XIV, the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN.

But it’s actually bigger than that. Volatility is itself volatile. You can measure the volatility of volatility; traders call it “vvol.” And the only times vvol has been this high since the advent of VIX options were in 2007, 2008, and 2011—all times of serious crisis.

But we aren’t in a crisis now, are we?

Well, we might be, if you think vvol has any predictive power, as I do. Certainly nothing of the magnitude of ‘07, ‘08, or ‘11. But when you’re having 700-point intraday round trips in the Dow and vvol is at crisis levels, I think it’s time to start asking the hard questions.

“… Where No Man Has Gone Before”
The bigger picture is: Russia is experiencing a full-blown currency crisis, whether anyone is calling it that or not; emerging markets are in meltdown mode (as predicted by some of my colleagues here at Mauldin Economics); and the price of the single most important commodity in the world has just been cut in half in the span of a month or two.

These are not normal times. And the bull market in stocks is very, very advanced.

Even though I write for a living, I’m a former trader, so I still spend my days staring at the screens. I haven’t seen anything like this before. New territory here—and not in a good way.

But I’m a student of volatility and credit, and I paid attention in early 2009 when no put option was too expensive and no bond was safe. It feels as if something like that might be in our future.
 
May the Fourth by Jared Dillian

I recently watched the movie Interstellar in the theater. I liked it so much, I watched it again… and again. Three times in 10 days. Next, I’ll get the DVD and see it dozens of more times. It’s my new all-time favorite movie.

Interstellar fascinates me because I don’t understand how someone gets $150 million of financing to make a movie that no one who doesn’t understand Einstein’s theory of relativity can fully appreciate. Christopher Nolan is a stud. There is no other explanation.

I had to smile each time I left the theater, listening to the people walking out. “I didn’t understand any of that!” they would say. I think knowledge of the cosmos is pretty low in my corner of South Carolina.

I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s say there’s a lot of physics knowledge required for that movie.

I watched it three times in 70mm IMAX-completely worth it. I think it's probably my new favorite movie as well. I understood most of it because I had read (casually) about wormholes and black holes and galaxies and relativity etc. but I can't imagine the average moviegoer had any clue what was going on. That really made me appreciate the fact that I had read up on the basics before watching it!

Kip Thorne (the physicist/executive producer of the film) has put out a book, BTW: http://www.amazon.com/The-Science-Interstellar-Kip-Thorne/dp/0393351378 I'm reading it at the moment.
 
"Financials are too important to be left at Economists" - Someone Important

My List and Review:
  • Wolf of Wall Street (Motivational mostly for salespeople and stock brokers. Not Quantitative at all. A bunch of jerk-offs sell shit and make millions. Full of scam but nothing new. I love it)
  • Margin Call (The main reason I want to be a quant. Laugh all you want, that movie was a true awakening for me. I think it's really close to reality with a well played scenario. Highlight of the movie: "what time is it? 2:15. Fuck me. Fuck-me" . Awesome, hands down)
  • Wall Street 1987 (Old but classic. The moment you realize what to do with your money when you are a millionaire and you want more: Stock and Real Estate speculation. "Capitalism at it's finest". Strong)
  • Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Interesting but romantic. I prefer hardcore financial scenarios than redempion endings. It has some good stuff thoug: "What's your number? More... Killer)
  • Boiler Room (I hate the main hero -> fuckin rat. But has great sales pitch and motivation. Ben Affleck rocks: Act as if you have a 9-inch cock. Improves your sales skills for sure. Enjoyable)
  • Pi (A reclusive mathematical genius tries to predict how securities fluctuates on the stock market by building a system-on-chip. Interesting enough)
more in IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000396074/

Also, Prof. Shiller from Yale has great lectures on youtube and coursera.org. You got to learn a lot. :)
 
May the Fourth by Jared Dillian

I recently watched the movie Interstellar in the theater. I liked it so much, I watched it again… and again. Three times in 10 days. Next, I’ll get the DVD and see it dozens of more times. It’s my new all-time favorite movie.

I’m something of an astrophysics geek. I think in another life I might have been one of these nerds working for the SETI project like Ellie Arroway in Contact. For my fifth-grade science project, I constructed a planetarium show. When my schoolmates were playing Contra on Nintendo, I was reading about quasars.

Interstellar fascinates me because I don’t understand how someone gets $150 million of financing to make a movie that no one who doesn’t understand Einstein’s theory of relativity can fully appreciate. Christopher Nolan is a stud. There is no other explanation.

I had to smile each time I left the theater, listening to the people walking out. “I didn’t understand any of that!” they would say. I think knowledge of the cosmos is pretty low in my corner of South Carolina.

I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s say there’s a lot of physics knowledge required for that movie. Incidentally, there’s a lot of physics knowledge required for trading too.

The derivatives guys understand this. Most conventional option pricing models are based on something called “geometric Brownian motion,” which was originally used to describe the movement of a particle suspended in a liquid or a gas.

Emanuel Derman, author of My Life as a Quant and contributor to the Black-Derman-Toy model that pioneered the pricing of bond options, started out as a darn good physicist. Then he was hired by Goldman Sachs. Lots of quants (quantitative analysts) are former physicists. Finance and physics really are that similar.

I have my own theories about financial physics.

  1. Stocks and bonds are matter. They are things. They are particles. They literally are physical objects—in the old days, certificates. Nowadays, they have a CUSIP. You can clip the coupons. In bearer form, they were worth money. Nowadays, nobody really gets to hold a bond in his hand, but it’s still tangible as far as I’m concerned. The foregoing also applies to currencies. And commodities… well, they are as tangible as you can get.
  2. Credit and volatility are not matter. They are forces very similar to gravity. Think about it: credit is the willingness or ability to repay. It’s a feeling, a sensation, a psychological construct. But it is not a thing. It has neither a certificate nor a CUSIP. But credit is directly related to volatility—otherwise the credit guys wouldn’t hedge with VIX call spreads all the time.
The one thing we know about gravity is that it is not constant in the universe. There can be large disturbances, like a black hole, where time can actually slow down—exactly like the gravitational time dilation described in Interstellar. When volatility increases (and credit widens), options decay more slowly. Volatility (“vol”) and time work in opposite directions.

Vvol Is Sky-High Right Now
We are currently experiencing—I’m grinning as I write this—disturbances in the force. Credit and volatility have never acted this way before, and I can quantify it exactly.

Never before has the VIX gone from 11 to 20 in just four days. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the outsize influence volatility ETFs were having on the vol complex, and that remains true. I think this can partially be explained by people panicking out of XIV, the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN.

But it’s actually bigger than that. Volatility is itself volatile. You can measure the volatility of volatility; traders call it “vvol.” And the only times vvol has been this high since the advent of VIX options were in 2007, 2008, and 2011—all times of serious crisis.

But we aren’t in a crisis now, are we?

Well, we might be, if you think vvol has any predictive power, as I do. Certainly nothing of the magnitude of ‘07, ‘08, or ‘11. But when you’re having 700-point intraday round trips in the Dow and vvol is at crisis levels, I think it’s time to start asking the hard questions.

“… Where No Man Has Gone Before”
The bigger picture is: Russia is experiencing a full-blown currency crisis, whether anyone is calling it that or not; emerging markets are in meltdown mode (as predicted by some of my colleagues here at Mauldin Economics); and the price of the single most important commodity in the world has just been cut in half in the span of a month or two.

These are not normal times. And the bull market in stocks is very, very advanced.

Even though I write for a living, I’m a former trader, so I still spend my days staring at the screens. I haven’t seen anything like this before. New territory here—and not in a good way.

But I’m a student of volatility and credit, and I paid attention in early 2009 when no put option was too expensive and no bond was safe. It feels as if something like that might be in our future.


Aha, I definitely agree with you man, as a socal guy myself, you'd think more people would be into this stuff since much of the aero space industry is down here.

It was a beautifully put together movie, do not forget that Hans Zimmer created the perfect soundtrack to the film as well, it totally put the movie together as well as the visual effects.

The film definitely revamped my interest and curiosity to the field of physics and astronomy and how it can be applied to the field everyone here is striving to be apart of (FinE); it really makes you appreciate what we are learning to get into these programs because you realize we can apply a lot of our skills to other applications as well and better understand something as seemingly simple as a film.
 
"Financials are too important to be left at Economists" - Someone Important

My List and Review:
  • Wolf of Wall Street (Motivational mostly for salespeople and stock brokers. Not Quantitative at all. A bunch of jerk-offs sell shit and make millions. Full of scam but nothing new. I love it)
  • Margin Call (The main reason I want to be a quant. Laugh all you want, that movie was a true awakening for me. I think it's really close to reality with a well played scenario. Highlight of the movie: "what time is it? 2:15. Fuck me. Fuck-me" . Awesome, hands down)
  • Wall Street 1987 (Old but classic. The moment you realize what to do with your money when you are a millionaire and you want more: Stock and Real Estate speculation. "Capitalism at it's finest". Strong)
  • Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Interesting but romantic. I prefer hardcore financial scenarios than redempion endings. It has some good stuff thoug: "What's your number? More... Killer)
  • Boiler Room (I hate the main hero -> fuckin rat. But has great sales pitch and motivation. Ben Affleck rocks: Act as if you have a 9-inch cock. Improves your sales skills for sure. Enjoyable)
  • Pi (A reclusive mathematical genius tries to predict how securities fluctuates on the stock market by building a system-on-chip. Interesting enough)
more in IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000396074/

Also, Prof. Shiller from Yale has great lectures on youtube and coursera.org. You got to learn a lot. :)


Pavlos,

I'm not laughing. Margin call is avery motivational movie for many wannabe quants, including myself. I agree with you, "hands down", margin call is a great movie.
 
Personally my favorite is Margin Call for many reasons :D
- Extremely interesting and also realistic characters (Especially liked CEO and Head of Trading)
- Attention to details (I am sure senior professionals in this forum have noticed mistakes but it was fine for me)
- Positive quant portrayal (Engineers/Quants were the only ones who understood what was going on)
- Almost like a non-demagogic documentary of 2008
- Great atmosphere of New York city
 
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