15 of the Best Movies for Career Motivation – CV Nation

15 of the Best Movies for Career Motivation

Looking for great movies about careers? In this guide, we list 15 of the best career and job related movies that you should be watching.

Movies can help you find motivation and inspiration when it comes to achieving your career goals. They can also help you gain perspective when you’re not happy in your career. Check out our list of the best career movies that will inspire you and get you thinking about your own career.

Don’t worry, we won’t give away any spoilers!

1. Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air is a romantic-comedy featuring Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a corporate downsizing professional, whose job revolves around firing employees. Ryan takes his colleague on a tour and soon finds his way of life threatened by a new flame.

Up in the Air offers key lessons for those who work in customer-facing environments as it illustrates the importance of the customer. Ryan’s colleague wants him to perform layoffs via video conferencing rather than in-person to save money, but Ryan is adamant that this would be completely inappropriate. As firing is such a sensitive issue, video conferencing simply would not meet the need of the customer. There are many other similar key takeaways for customer-oriented professionals.

The film generated many positive reviews. Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly called it a ‘rare and sparkling gem of a movie’.

Up in the Air Cover

2. Exam (2009)

Exam is a psychological thriller about eight candidates for a job at a corporation. The candidates are brought to an examination room where they must answer just one question. With 80 minutes to answer the question, the candidates are informed of three rules: no talking, no spoiling the papers and no leaving the room.

To land the job, the candidates must race against time to figure out what is expected of them.

According to Variety’s Lael Loewenstein, Exam is ‘a smartly conceived, tautly executed psychological thriller.’

Jobseekers can take many lessons away from Exam, including the importance of attention-to-detail. When it comes to problem-solving and achieving goals, neglecting the small details can have disastrous consequences.

Exam Movie Image

3. A Family Man (2016)

A Family Man is drama about a highly-driven head-hunter, Dane (Gerard Butler), who is set against his rival for control of their company. As personal issues clash with his professional life, Dane must choose between the two.

One of the key themes the film explores is the balance between work and home life. Professionals can also take other lessons away from the film, including the need to focus on what is truly important.

A Family Man has an IMBD rating of 6.5/10.

a family man image

4. Office Space (1999)

Office Space is a comedy about three unhappy and unmotivated employees who decide to rebel against the software company they work for.

Office Space conveys the importance of having a job that is satisfying. If you’re not happy in your job, there's a good chance that you'll be able to relate to characters in the movie.

The movie offers a valuable lesson for managers: employees need good managers who create positive work environments and provide them with the resources they need to excel.

office space movie

5. Baby Boom (1987)

Baby Boom is a romantic-comedy about New-York based businesswoman, J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton), who only has time for her career. When she suddenly becomes the guardian of a baby girl following the death of a relative, J. C Wiatt loses her job and her relationship.

Baby Boom reminds us of the importance of versatility in our professional lives. J.C. Wiatt uses the change in her life to her advantage, rather than ending it because of her new situation. This ability to adapt to change is something that we can all learn from.

The film was generally received positively by critics. For her role in the film, Diane Keaton was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

baby boom movie

6. The Intern (2015)

The Intern is a comedy-drama starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. Fed up with retirement, 70-year old Ben Whittaker applies to become an intern for an online fashion site. Can he cut it with the young pros?

The Intern offers a range of career lessons for professionals, including the importance of work-life balance.

Described by Manohla Dargis of The New York Times as ‘frothy, playful, homogeneous, routinely maddening and generally pretty irresistible’, The Intern will get you thinking about your career.

The Intern Movie

7. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the story of Jordan Belfort, who becomes a stockbroker and cheats his way to richness.

If we set aside the fact that he eventually loses everything and goes to prison, we can learn a lot about Belfort’s skills that enabled him to achieve success. These include his communication skills and his ability to motivate people.

With a stellar cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, The Wolf of Wall Street was described as ‘the best and most enjoyable American film to be released this year’ by Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Wolf of Wall Street

8. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

In the Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner (Will Smith), undertakes an unpaid internship after losing everything. Life is one big struggle for Chris. His wife leaves him, he’s booted out of his apartment and he has no income. Despite this, he refuses to accept defeat and is determined to achieve his goals.

The Pursuit of Happyness drives home the importance of perseverance and determination in regards to both our professional and personal lives. The moral of the story is to never give up on your goals, including your career goals, no matter how bleak things may seem.

The Pursuit of Happyness

9. Legally Blonde (2001)

In this romantic-comedy, Elle (Reece Witherspoon), enrols at Harvard Law School after her boyfriend breaks up with her. Initially trying to win him back by enrolling, Elle soon realises she’s much more than a pretty face.

Everyone can learn something from Legally Blonde, especially those with challenging career goals. The movie reminds us that with a solid work ethic and the right attitude, anything is possible.

Legally Blonde

10. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Dead Poets Society is a drama about an English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), who attempts to inspire his students to follow their dreams through the teaching of poetry.

There are various leadership lessons that jobseekers and professionals can take away from Dead Poets Society. This kind of goes without saying, considering the fact that the film conveys how one man manages to change the lives of many.

Dead Poets Society was received largely positively by critics. It also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Dead Poets Society

11. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

The Devil Wears Prada is a romantic-comedy about an aspiring journalist, Andy (Anne Hathaway), who becomes assistant to Miranda (Meryl Streep), one of New York’s largest magazine editors. Despite landing a job that seems like a dream-come-true, Andy begins to question her ability to withstand the humiliation and abuse that Miranda throws her way.

The Devil Wears Prada offers valuable lessons for both bosses and their reports.

The Devil Wears Prada

12. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Glengarry Glen Ross follows the story of four real estate salespeople. When the company creates a contest and states that all but the two best performing salespeople will be fired at the end of the week, things start to get complicated.

Glengarry Glen Ross conveys the importance of clearly defined goals in our professional lives. It also offers a number of valuable sales lessons.

The film, which stars Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin, was described as ‘a photo-essay, shot in morgue closeup, about the difficulty most people have convincing themselves that what they do matters’ by Richard Corliss in his Times review.

Glengarry Glen Ross

13. Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs (2015) is a biographical drama that portrays the life of businessman Steve Jobs. The film covers various key aspects of Job’s career, from renowned product launches to the unveiling of the iMac.

As Jobs was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent times, jobseekers and professionals can obtain valuable insight into the life of the Apple founder. The movie demonstrates how Jobs responded to problems and the traits he utilised to achieve success.

Kate Winslet’s performance is great and the movie garnered an average score of 82 out of 100 on Metacritic.

Steve Jobs Movie

14. Obsessed (2009)

Obsessed is a psychological thriller about a happily married asset manager, Derek, who starts receiving unwanted attention from a co-worker. Unwelcome advances turns to stalking, and before long Derek’s career and life is on the line.

Strong performances from Idris Elba and Beyoncé help make this a memorable, exciting and energetic watch.

Obsessed Movie

15. The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s journey with Facebook. While his business venture becomes a huge success, many of his his relationships come to an end. You probably know how this story ends, but there is a lot for professionals to gleam from the movie.

Roger Ebert called The Social Network the best film of the year. He commented: ‘David Fincher's film has the rare quality of being not only as smart as its brilliant hero, but in the same way. It is cocksure, impatient, cold, exciting and instinctively perceptive.’

The Social Network Movie

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