5 Based-on-a-True-Story Films About Entrepreneurs

It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. No matter what type of business you’re in, there are going to be many challenges on your journey to the top. Whenever possible, it helps to look for inspiration from those who have come before you. It’s also a good idea to examine the mistakes of some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs. These five films are all inspired by true stories. They each feature characters with a lot of motivation and guts.

1. Jerry Maguire

It’s hard not to feel inspired when you watch Jerry Maguire, the story of a passionate young sports agent who decides to break away and start his own agency with only one client and one employee by his side. He goes through many struggles but eventually manages to secure an $11 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. While Jerry himself is a fictional character, this film is inspired by the real life of sports agent Leigh Steinberg.

2. The Pursuit of Happyness

Of all the films on this list, Will Smith’s biopic about entrepreneur Chris Gardner is perhaps the most inspirational. If you’re feeling discouraged about where you’re at, this is a movie to sit down and watch. It documents Gardner’s struggle to support himself and his son during an unpaid internship with Dean Witter. He deals with blow after blow, and just when it seems like things can’t get worse, he loses his home. The film, which earned Will Smith an Academy Award nomination, offers one of the most emotionally uplifting endings in cinematic history. If Gardner could get through what he experienced, you can most certainly make your dreams come true.

3. The Aviator

This film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in history. Hughes did a little bit of everything. He was a businessman, a filmmaker, an aircraft designer and pilot, and he even invented things. He was considered a bit crazy by some, but he certainly never let fear get in the way of taking a risk. When you want to be reminded of how few limits you actually have, watch The Aviator.

4. The Social Network

If running a profitable business is your goal, you’ll find The Social Network very inspiring. It focuses on the true story of how Mark Zuckerberg took Facebook from an idea to a billion-dollar company. Zuckerberg is a bit of a controversial figure due to some of the decisions he made along the way, but no one can argue that his accomplishments are not inspirational.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street

Also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this biopic documents the story of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street broker who rose to the top but eventually lost everything when his corruption led to an arrest for fraud. Belfort’s earlier successes certainly show what’s possible, but overall, this film provides a lesson on what can go wrong when greed gets in the way of true ambition.

Even if you’re involved in a business that is quite different from anything in these films, you can still get a lot of motivation from seeing what others have done. The path toward success in the world of business comes with a lot of ups and downs. Truly successful people have one quality in common: They do not give up. When you’re feeling like calling it quits, give yourself a break and spend an evening watching movies. You’ll be sure to wake up the next morning ready to try again.

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