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Holiday entertainment for entrepreneurs – innovation movies and documentaries

innovation movies
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year to get cozy, read a good book, enjoy time with your family, and watch a couple of inspiring movies. Who said that entertainment and movies cannot teach entrepreneurs business values and important innovation lessons. 

To help you get the most out of your Christmas vacations, The Recursive prepared for you a list of thought-provoking and insightful movies and documentaries for founders, investors, business and ecosystem leaders. 

Inspiring innovation movies to watch

Chef (2014) – The entrepreneurial food journey 

The movie tells the story of a restaurant chef who quits his job to start his own food truck. It stresses the importance of pursuing your passion and staying true to your principles and values. Successful entrepreneurs often start their businesses not with the monetary benefit in mind, but because of their strong will to bring change.


Jobs (2013) – The rise of an innovator 

The story of Steve Jobs’s rise from a college to the entrepreneur we all know today, played by Ashton Kutcher. The movie shows why it is so essential to focus on your product, to be a master negotiator, and to be different. 


Joy (2015) – Failure is a great teacher 

The movie is based on the life of Joy Mangano, who was the inventor of the Miracle Mop, and contains many lessons about building a business from the ground up. Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro show how entrepreneurs go through heartaches, hard decisions, and tough times before the long-awaited success. 


The Founder (2016) – Be a master salesman  

The story of McDonald’s, or how Ray Kroc, a former salesman, turned the founder of the biggest fast-food chain in the world. It takes place in the 1950s, when Ray Kroc met Mac and Dick McDonald, pulled the small business from the brothers, and created a multi-billion dollar company. 

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Moneyball (2011) – Quality leadership  

Moneyball is a sports movie that is based on Michael Lewis’s book: ‘Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game’. It tells the story of the manager of a baseball team who is faced with the task to form a competitive team with a limited budget and with the help of an economics graduate with radical ideas.  


Social Network (2010) – Ideas matter, execution is key

The story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. The movie follows the journey of  Zuckerberg while he was still in college and started building the company with his friends in a Harvard dorm room.


The Aviator (2004) – Big rewards come with big risks

The story of Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), the man who founded an airline, owned seven Las Vegas casinos, risked fortunes, and made bigger ones. 


The Big Short (2015) – Get to the bottom line  

The movie is based on Michael Lewis’s book of the same name and tells the story of several American financial professionals who predicted the collapse of the housing bubble in 2007 and 2008.


The Billion Dollar Code (2021) – The role of tech giants

A true story about two German friends, Carsten and Juri, who in the 1990s created Terra Vision, the precursor to Google Earth. Then 25 years later, they are embarking on a battle to get their creative IP back in court.


The Imitation Game (2014) – Lessons on building a team

Based on a true story, the movie relates how a gay British mathematician and his team used creativity to save millions of human lives during World War II. It shows how they build a computer to crack the Nazis’ unbreakable “Enigma” encryption code.



If you can think of another movie or documentary with valuable innovation, technology, and business lessons, don’t hesitate to send it to [email protected]

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.