While you’re at home practicing safe social distancing, why not do some distance learning of your own? We’ve put together a list of documentaries and movies available for streaming about business and entrepreneurship—perfect for anyone looking to start a business. Whether you’re in the mood for compelling true stories of dreamers and doers or entertaining narrative films that offer valuable lessons for life and livelihood, you’re sure to find plenty of inspiration in this list.
Business and Entrepreneurial Documentaries to Stream
1. Maddman: The Steve Madden Story
Available to stream on Netflix; to rent or purchase on Amazon.
From working at a shoe store to becoming a trendsetting footwear designer to being sentenced to federal prison and his subsequent comeback, entrepreneur Steve Madden’s career is a wild ride of highs and lows. This documentary takes viewers along for the whole journey. (2017)
2. Burt’s Buzz
Available to stream free on Tubi; to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes.
Burt Shavitz—better known as the namesake of Burt’s Bees—leads a double life: He’s both the face and co-founder of a billion-dollar brand and a reclusive beekeeper who prefers solitude and simplicity. In this documentary, viewers learn how Shavitz accidentally created his natural-product empire. (2013)
3. Generation Startup
Available to rent or buy on iTunes, YouTube.
This documentary follows six recent college graduates over 17 months as they chase their entrepreneurial dreams to build startups in Detroit. With a fair share of both struggles and triumphs, viewers learn what it’s like for young business owners just starting out. (2016)
4. Freakonomics: The Movie
Available to stream free on YouTube, Tubi; to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes.
An entertaining documentary adaptation of the best-selling book, this film explores incentives-based thinking and human nature. A number of celebrated documentarians collaborate to give viewers an economics lesson by way of psychology. (2010)
5. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Available to stream on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Tubi; to rent or purchase on iTunes.
The story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, widely considered the greatest sushi chef in the world, is a study of determination, discipline, and the art of perfection. It also touches on generational divide and family businesses. Entrepreneurs will find plenty of food for thought here. (2012)
Available to stream on Hulu; to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes.
The Master Sommelier Exam has one of the lowest pass rates of any test in the world. This documentary follows four Master Sommelier hopefuls as they study to take the exam, giving viewers a taste of the obsession, hope, and determination that goes along with following your passion. (2013)
Mainstream Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch
7. Office Space
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes.
This quotable ‘90s comedy about dysfunctional corporate culture pokes fun at the more absurd aspects of working for someone else. Aspiring business owners may find the inspiration they need to strike out on their own—or take notes about how not to manage their own employees. (1999)
8. The Founder
Available to stream on Vudu; to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes.
In this biopic of one of America’s most influential businessmen, viewers see how Ray Kroc went from a struggling salesman to the ostensible founder of the McDonald’s franchise—and the billion-dollar empire that grew from it. (2017)
9. Twelve Angry Men
Available to rent or purchase from Amazon, iTunes.
The classic courtroom thriller may not seem like a movie for the business-minded at first glance. However, this story of a roomful of jurors trying to reach a decision is a masterclass in emotional and rational persuasion, team building, behavioral analysis, and group dynamics—all vital skills for a leader. (1957)
10. The Pursuit of Happyness
Available to stream on Netflix; to rent or purchase from Amazon, iTunes.
Based on a true story, this film takes viewers on the incredible journey of a homeless salesman caring for his son while trying to climb the corporate ladder. Anyone who knows the struggle of trying to make it in the business world will find inspiration here. (2006)