Top 10 Best White Collar Crime Movies

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Top 10 Best White Collar Crime Movies

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Not all criminals carry a gun. For this list, we'll be looking at the most compelling and entertaining films that center on fraud, insider trading, embezzlement and other non-violent crimes. Our countdown includes “All the President's Men”, "The Big Short", “Catch Me If You Can”, and more!
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Top 10 Best White Collar Crime Movies


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best White Collar Crime Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most compelling and entertaining films that center on fraud, insider trading, embezzlement and other non-violent crimes. Please note, we’ll only be considering scripted films, not documentaries.

What’s your favorite film that centers around white collar crime? Share in the comments below!

#10: “All the President's Men” (1976)


This real-life white collar crime rocked the United States to its very core. Ponzi schemes and identity theft are a dime a dozen, but for a crime of this magnitude to involve the sitting President of the United States? That was historic. We are, of course, talking about the Watergate scandal, which resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon. “All the President’s Men,” directed by Allan J. Pakula, centers on the investigative journalism of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, played by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. The film was widely praised upon release, specifically for the way it dives deep into the journalistic process—and paranoia—involved in a case this big.

#9: “Bad Education” (2019)


It’s a real shame that HBO original movies never seem to get the attention they deserve. Outside of awards season, that is. After hanging up his Wolverine claws, Hugh Jackman starred opposite Allison Janney in this critically-acclaimed drama based on a true story. The white collar crimes of a school district superintendent might not sound as compelling as those of the President, but “Bad Education” retells the story of the biggest public school embezzlement in US history. Finding dark humor in the story, this film makes for an incredibly illuminating look at how seemingly mundane positions of authority can lead to abuses of power. “Bad Education” is a wild ride from start to finish.

#8: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (2018)


The over-the-top comedic style of Melissa McCarthy isn’t for everyone. But regardless of whether or not you enjoy her more absurd roles, we guarantee that you will be blown away by her performance in this 2018 film. A biographical comedy-drama crime film, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” tells the true story of Lee Israel. A struggling biography writer working in New York City in the 1990s, Israel gets so desperate that she turns to crime. Stumbling upon a unique niche, she uses her gifts as a writer to begin forging letters from deceased celebrities. Israel was a complicated figure and McCarthy brings incredible depth to the role. McCarthy, co-star Richard E. Grant and the writers all earned numerous awards and nominations for the film.

#7: “The Big Short” (2015)


Directed and co-written by Adam McKay, “The Big Short” takes us behind the curtain of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The film boasts an all-star cast including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, and Marisa Tomei, among others. Now, financial subjects tend to be rather dry and confusing for the average viewer. And so to overcome this obstacle and keep viewers engaged, McKay used celebrity cameos to help explain the concepts. It all makes for a very engaging, eye-opening and chaotically fast-paced viewing experience. It won’t make you any better at playing the stock market, but it’s an interesting look at how certain practices in the financial world are downright criminal.

#6: “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992)


Adapted from David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Glengarry Glen Ross” finds drama, intrigue and heartbreak in the world of real estate. Oh, and plenty of white collar crime as well! As depicted in this 1992 film, the real estate industry is a cutthroat business. Pushed to the limit by corporate, four real estate men resort to a number of underhanded tactics in order to avoid being let go at the end of the week—which they’re explicitly told is the fate that awaits the bottom two performers. Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin and Ed Harris are all in top form, and the script is razor sharp, making this an altogether excellent examination of masculinity and depression.


#5: “Wall Street” (1987)


Starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Daryl Hannah, “Wall Street” is a tale of big ambitions and ruthless business practices. In the late 1980s, stockbrokers adopted something of a rockstar persona and this film does not shy away from that life of excess and debauchery. “Wall Street” centers on a young up-and-coming broker named Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, who is taken under the wing of Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko. The latter is a corporate raider, and while money over morals seems to be the general consensus in this film, Gekko is on an entirely different level. A fascinating exploration of greed and success in the 1980s, “Wall Street” actually earned Michael Douglas the Oscar for Best Actor.

#4: “American Hustle” (2013)


No one tells a story quite like filmmaker David O. Russell. And this particular story... is all about corruption. Opening in the late 1970s, “American Hustle” follows a pair of con artists, played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who find themselves cornered by the FBI. Left with no other option, the career criminals become accomplices in the FBI’s Abscam operation, which puts their scam artistry to use against corrupt politicians. True to the time period, “American Hustle” is a decadent film and its on-point design earned it nominations for both Costume Design and Production Design at the Academy Awards. It’s also blessed with magnetic characters, quotable dialogue, infectious energy and a surprising amount of laughs.

#3: “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)


For decades, Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” was THE movie about stockbrokers. But then along came Martin Scorsese with his wolf. Earning nearly $400 million at the box office, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is an epic, biographical dark comedy about the financial exploits of the infamous Jordan Belfort. From the late ‘80s into the mid-90s, Belfort (played by the incomparable Leonardo DiCaprio) made insane amounts of money by swindling, cheating and committing fraud at seemingly every opportunity. Supported by an all-star cast including Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie, DiCaprio plays Belfort as simultaneously despicable and undeniably charming. As far as white collar crime movies go, it doesn’t get more fun than this.

#2: “The Insider” (1999)


When it comes to tense crime movies, there are few filmmakers who can keep up with Michael Mann. As much as we love the gunplay in “Heat,” it’s a real testament to the director’s mastery of his craft that he can make white collar crime as riveting. “The Insider” stars Al Pacino and Russell Crowe and tells the story of a Big Tobacco whistleblower. Based on the true story of Jeffrey Wigand and Lowell Bergmann, “The Insider” is a fascinating look at the challenges of telling a story that corporations would rather keep under wraps. It also explores the lengths they’ll go to in their attempts to bury damning information. A fascinating tale, “The Insider” was nominated for 7 OScars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Trading Places” (1983)
Insider Trading Has Never Been Such a Barrel of Laughs

“Boiler Room”(2000)
In Which Young Upstarts Sell Stocks for Companies That Don’t Exist


“Office Space” (1999)
Stealing Fractions of Pennies… What Could Go Wrong?


“The Informant!” (2009)
Matt Damon Plays a Rather Odd Whistleblower in the Animal Feed Industry

“Michael Clayton” (2007)
A Riveting Thriller That Sheds a Whole New Light on the Corporate World


#1: “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)

Pair Leonardo DiCaprio with Tom Hanks in a biographical crime film that has a healthy dose of comedy to it, and you’ve got a winning formula. Though often overshadowed by the director’s more explosive productions, “Catch Me If You Can” is among Steven Spielberg’s finest films. As teenage scam artist Frank Abagnale, Leonardo DiCaprio is at his most charming and likeable. And because his crimes are largely against companies and not individuals, it;’s easy to find yourself rooting for him as his cons grow increasingly absurd. From pilot, to doctor, to lawyer, Abagnale seems to live for the challenge—much like FBI agent Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks, lives to catch him. Who knew a white collar crime movie could be so much fun?
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Though kind of a violent film, The Accountant was a dark White Collar movie on things that go on in laundering and book cooking more than we want to know.