Inspiration on Film: The Best Movies for Entrepreneurs

We know that inspiration can come from anywhere – from a walk in the woods to playing with Lego at your desk. Which means that inspiration can come from being curled up on your couch watching your favourite movie with a bowl of popcorn. So, we have curated a list of the nine best movies for entrepreneurs.

The Intern

Anne Hathaway plays an internet start-up leader with a growing company and brand. Robert DeNiro plays an unassuming retired phone book executive (you read that right). With nothing to do at home, as retirement has stripped him of his social and intellectual identity, he takes a “senior intern” opportunity at the expanding start up.  You absolutely will love the opening sequence of the film. The trials and tribulations of being a woman in a leadership role and having to balance life and work are examined lightheartedly in some cases and with great emotion in others.

Sunshine Cleaning Company

Well, cleaning up crime scenes sounds like a good way to make money and that is what these two sisters, played by Amy Adams and Emily Blunt find out. They struggle with unknown regulations, certifications, and relationship issues along the way. Alan Arkin plays their quirky father with his own entrepreneurial bent – which is often misdirected. This quirky comedy will have you cheering for the one-armed man.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Starring Will Smith as Christopher Gardner, a single dad in harshly impoverished circumstances trying to create a better life for himself and his son. The film follows Gardner through his flagging sales career, the dissolution of his marriage, his eviction, and homelessness with his son in tow, attaining a coveted unpaid internship, and later his triumphant achievement of a full-time position as a stock broker. This film will give you the inspiration to persevere against any challenge to achieve your goal.


Brad Pitt stars in this film that shows the usefulness of data to achieve glory.  Pitt’s character, Billy Beane, uses an unconventional approach to scouting prospective players for the Oakland Athletics – data.  In the sport that covets statistics more than anything else it seemed that, until recently, teams were built on instinct. The difficulties of getting this new methodology accepted and tracked is at the hear of the film, as well as the successes of various teams who have adopted it.  This film is necessary for any entrepreneur who is breaking new ground.

Office Space

Sometimes we must define things by negation to truly understand them.  That is what Office Space gives the entrepreneur.  Following the antics of Peter Gibbons at Initech the film is a biting satire of life in a large corporation – from cover pages on reports to issues with the printer.  This film will make you thankful that you do not work in a traditional cube farm.


Joy Mangano, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is the inventor of the self-drying mop. The idea strikes her after cutting her hands by wringing out a mop filled with broken glass.  The film follows the trials and tribulations of bringing a new product to market. Joy’s personal and professional lives intertwine to create a tale of treachery and deceit in business.  Sometimes, you need to know when to learn from the mistakes of others instead of making them yourself.

The Angel’s Share

The socially conscious director Ken Loach brings us the story of a troubled young man who has recently become a father.  Robbie’s life is fraught with violence and the addition of his partner and son have only created new difficulties.  The entrepreneurial spirit of this young man mean theft and reselling stolen goods at the beginning.  He still manages to get himself straightened out in the end and lands his dream job working for a whiskey distillery without the threat of violence in his hometown.

While these films do not all show the happy side of entrepreneurship, they do provide plenty of inspiration to persevere against all challenges.So, for the next movie night choose one of these and feel productive while eating your giant bowl of popcorn. Want to stay updated with Impact Hub Vienna? Subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram.

Jennifer Cornick Freelance journalist and blogger for various publications in Vienna. When I am not writing, I can generally be found with a book (or anything with words on it - even cereal boxes). Photo Credit: Aneta Pawlik