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Best Flicks about Starting a Company

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Here's a recent question from Inc.'s mailbag:

I just read your article "Cinema for the Enterprising" on the best movies about the entrepreneurial experience. Can Leigh Buchanan please recommend other movies that are related to entrepreneurship? I would like to watch more of these types of movies. I am setting up my own small business and could use all inspiration I can get right now.
—Ralph Remigio, Oakland, California

Leigh Buchanan responds: There are lots of movies that feature small companies, but not many that convey any real sense of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Risky Business is probably the purest "birth of an entrepreneur" movie out there—we didn't include it because we used Jerry McGuire and so fulfilled our Tom Cruise quota. You've Got Mail is an acceptable movie about a charming family business being wiped out by a superstore, although depending on your tolerance for Meg Ryan feistiness it can be hard to take. I recall an old Scottish film called Comfort and Joy about rival ice-cream truck operators that was a fun look at very small businesses locking horns. For great entrepreneurial characters within films, I would give the nod to Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction, and Jon Voight as Milo Minderbinder in Catch 22.

The great family business stories are mostly (or until recently were mostly) on HBO: "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," and "Big Love."

For those interested in the more general topic of leadership, here's a link to an article about leadership films that
Inc. ran several years ago. There have been other good movies on the subject since then. But to my mind the greatest study of leadership, short of the works of Warren Bennis, is the late, lamented "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." It takes seven seasons to play out, but if popular culture has produced any greater, more grueling story of what it takes to make a leader, I'd sure like to know about it.

Does anyone else have recommendations for this reader? What are your favorite movies about running a business?

Last updated: Apr 13, 2007




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