Top 10 Business Movie Speeches

Business is war, and every war had at least one epic battle speech. That’s why business movies are full of ‘em too. Whether it’s a motivational speech to get some lackluster employees off their butts, a story about the social strata, or a diatribe about how hard work pays off, you know if you’re watching a business movie it’s going to have a speech and it’s going to be a good one. You might even learn something, too. In this video, WatchMojo.com continues our series of epic movie speeches by counting down our picks for the top 10 business movies speeches.
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Top 10 Business Movie Speeches


Business is war. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 business movie speeches.

#10: “Citizen Kane” (1941)

As Charles Foster Kane, Orson Welles undergoes a striking change from a hero of the workingman to a mogul pursuing power ruthlessly. Knowing what we do about that transformation, his most important monologue comes near the beginning of the film: he explains his split interests are the reason he’s the only man who can fight for the little guy. His closing lines shut his opponent down completely.

#9: “Layer Cake” (2004)

It’s a film that showcases the rollercoaster ride that is the drug business, and the speech in question is a passing-of-the-torch between the old and new guard. Outlining what he calls the facts of life, Eddie Temple points out how, while you start at the bottom, you will slowly-but-surely move to the top. Not only is this an effective speech, it also explains the title of the film.

#8: “American Gangster” (2007)

Frank Lucas is quickly proving his worth as a Harlem-based drug kingpin, keeping his extravagances to a minimum to stay off the cops’ radar. Along the way, he’s learned valuable lessons about business – and he imparts that advice to his colleagues while sitting down for a quick bite in a diner. Then he goes and caps a guy in the broad daylight. Guess he’s somebody.

#7: “Up in the Air” (2009)

For career-firer, career-loner and motivational speaker Ryan Bingham, life is a backpack – a motif which also serves as the theme of Bingham’s lectures. Explaining it so anyone can relate, Bingham reveals how freeing it is to rid yourself of worldly belongings. Later, the speech expands, and Bingham expounds the benefits of eliminating not only possessions but also people from your life. Cynical? Yes, but it’s a good speech nonetheless.

#6: “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006)

Chris Gardner was going through the toughest times of his life, struggling to stay afloat and trying to become a stockbroker despite his meager existence. When his son reveals his dream of becoming a pro basketball player, Gardner tells him that’s an unlikely goal not worth pursuing. However, upon further thought, he decides no one can tell anyone what ambitions to follow, and that hard work always pays off.

#5: “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)

His son ended up one of the U.S.’ youngest and most prolific con artists, but that doesn’t mean he can’t spin a mean yarn about the importance of hard work. Frank Abagnale Sr., portrayed by the peerless Christopher Walken, is honored by his rotary club, so he uses the opportunity to tell a short allegory about the rewards of not giving up. Looks like Junior took those words to heart.

#4: “There Will Be Blood” (2007)

The SoCal oil boom is the setting of this film, and of several notable Daniel Day-Lewis speeches. But the most unforgettable is when his character, successful oil tycoon Daniel Plainview, explains to his longtime nemesis that he’d outsmarted him by sucking a disputed oil well dry, without his knowledge. Using a simple and almost inappropriately cheerful metaphor, Plainview condescends to and humiliates his foe for one final time.

#3: “Boiler Room” (2000)

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is: that’s the lesson Seth Davis learns after embarking on a career with a shady brokerage firm. As one of the company’s founders, Ben Affleck’s Jim inspires his recruits with the promise of wealth, happiness and, did we mention wealth? But it’s not all sports cars, big houses and women; Young makes clear that every call is hard work.

#2: “Wall Street” (1987)

This film details ‘80s excess, both on and off Wall Street – and its most famous speech summarizes that message. Spoken by Gordon Gekko to inspire a group of shareholders, this monologue gets a bad rap, even though – as Gekko claims – it’s greed that built the U.S.: dream big and grab every opportunity that comes your way, he says. And that’s something that applies to everyone, not only power brokers.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Jerry Maguire” (1996)
- “The Social Network” (2010)
- “Trading Places” (1983)

#1: “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992)

Hired to motivate some lackluster salesmen, Alec Baldwin grabs attention immediately and proceeds with one of Hollywood’s most epic speeches. At seven-minutes-long, it’s the longest monologue on our list: it’s also the most intimidating, profane, and badass, as Baldwin’s Blake delivers the ABCs of sales and tells his prey to go big or go home. With help from some perfectly timed props, he inspires these deadbeats to close – or to quit.

Do you agree with our list? Which business movie speech makes you want make all the money? For more greedy top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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