Top 7 Movies to Watch if You Liked “The Big Short”
The Big Short (2015) tells the story of the housing bubble crisis of 2007/2008 and how it led to the capitulation of the world economy. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) realises that a huge number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting, which will lead to a collapse of the whole market. As such, he invests $1.3 billion of his investors’ money into credit default swaps – a move unprecedented in the USA. This move attracts the attention of banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), Mark Baum (Steve Carell), and a few others with savvy millionaire mindsets.
These men set themselves up to make a fortune from the impending collapse of the US economy. The movie breaks down the complicated economic jargon so that its viewers can understand exactly what happened in the market crash of 2008. The film received a praise-worthy 78/10 by IMDb and an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It also stars Brad Pitt in a supporting role.
If you enjoy movies like The Big Short, you must be someone who appreciates films that retell true-life events involving scandal. Well, there certainly are some great movies to choose from in this genre. Of course, some are better than others, and it’s not always easy to filter through which titles are likely to appeal to you more. As such, we’ve decided to help you along by recommending a list of some of the best movies like The Big Short. Each film on our list boasts a star-studded cast ensemble that provides riveting drama.
1. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
This film is based on the real-life story of con artist, Frank Abagnale. He was arrested and convicted on multiple counts of identity fraud before his 19th birthday. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
Abagnale (DiCaprio) leaves home after his parents’ divorce. Needing money to survive on his own, he turns to confidence scams to survive. He begins to impersonate an airline pilot and forges PanAm paychecks. His forgeries soon amount to millions of dollars which arouses the suspicions of an FBI agent, Carl Hanratty (Hanks).
The story follows Frank’s attempts to evade the feds at every turn, taking on various identities along the way, including that of a secret service agent, doctor, and parish prosecutor.
This Steven Spielberg film made a whopping $352.1 million at the box office and was rated 8.1/10 by IMDB and 96% by Rotten Tomatoes. It’s probably one of the best scandal movies to have ever been made. Movies like Catch Me if You Can showcase just how brazen real people can be when there is an opportunity to make money.
2. The Wolf of Wall Steet (2013)
Martin Scorsese leads an ensemble cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, and Matthew McConaughey in a film based on the memoir by Jordan Belfort. It was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor at the Golden Globes for his part.
Similar to other movies like The Big Short, The Wolf of Wall Street is full of scandal and controversy. It follows the stock brokerage career of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio). Belfort is a suave stock broker who is deeply embedded in the high life of Wallstreet (drugs and all). After starting a brokerage business with his friend Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), their greed factor turns into fraudulent business dealings that begin to attract the attention of the feds. Belfort’s earnings increase, but his social relationships with his wife and friends fall into jeopardy.
The Wolf of Wall Street turned $392 million at the box office and received a rating of 8.2/10 by IMDb and a 79% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Be warned, this film will challenge your moral compass, so sensitive viewers may want to steer clear.
3. Erin Brockovich (2000)
Erin Brockovich is based on the true-life events of an American law clerk (and now environmentalist). The plot unravels as she stumbles onto some medical records that implicate the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in a groundwater contamination cover-up. Her efforts to uncover the scandal and prove the company’s guilt result in a successful lawsuit, bringing the massive company to book for its crimes.
Brockovich is cast by Julia Roberts, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in her role in 2000. Similar to other top movies like Catch Me if You Can and The Big Short, this film was nominated for a further 4 Academy Awards, including Best Actor in Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing in a Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.
4. American Hustle (2013)
Unlike most of the movies like The Big Short on this list, American Hustle is only inspired by true events but remains fictional for the most part. Nonetheless, it will appeal to those who love scandal and have an affinity for the Abscam Case of the 1970s.
Two con artists, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), receive pressure from the FBI to help set up a sting operation led by special agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). The sting is in aid of exposing corrupt politicians in New Jersey. One politician of particular interest is the mayor of Camden (Jeremy Renner). However, Irving’s jealous wife (Jennifer Lawrence) nearly brings the entire investigation to its knees.
The critics score American Hustle well. It received a 7.2/10 by IMDb, but Rotten Tomatoes reviewed and rated the film a high 92%. A star-studded cast and a superbly written script earned the movie $251.2 million at the box office.
5. Spotlight (2015)
For the movie with the highest critic ratings on this list, we would have expected ‘Spotlight’ to turn a little more than the $98.7 million in worldwide sales. Its starlit cast should have attracted far more fanfare from the crowds. The actors include Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sasha Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton as Robby Robson, and Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron.
The movie follows the Boston Globes’ “Spotlight Team”, which is the oldest continuously operating investigative journalism team in America. They form the five-member force to investigate allegations against a defrocked Catholic priest, John Geoghan, for the alleged molestation of more than 80 young boys. The story follows the uncovering of a scandal deeply entrenched within the walls of the Roman Catholic Church – a cover-up of sexual abuse on minors by priests.
6. All the President’s Men (1976)
All the President’s Men is based on the 1974 biographical account of the Watergate Scandal. It follows the account of two young Washington Post journalists, Carl Bernstein and Bon Woodward. The events are covered in their book of the same name.
The two reporters realize something scandalous is afoot during the 1972 presidential election when authorities discover tapping devices in the offices of the Democratic Party offices. Their investigation sheds light on the infamous Watergate scandal, compelling Richard Nixon to resign from his post as the US president. Join a much younger-looking Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as they take the roles of the two journalists in this multiple Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated film.
While the cinematography feels notably aged, the quality of the acting remains as high as you would expect from this renowned duo. It scores 94% at Rotten Tomatoes and receives an 8/10 rating from IMDb.
7. Eight Men Out (1988)
This 80s film follows the true-life events of the “Black Sox Scandal” following the 1919 World Series Baseball final. Baseball fans may have heard about the shamed White Sox team of that season. Spurred on by unsatisfactory wages, professional gamblers approached key athletes from the Boston White Sox team in a bid to get them to mix the match. They agreed to lose the game, but when the press catches wind of the scandal, it ruins the player’s reputations for good.
The movie stars John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, and John Mahoney. The quality of this movie stands shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the more popular modern movies like Catch Me if You Can and others listed above. The cinematography may be from the 80s, but the entertainment on offer is ageless.
The critics rate it well too. It holds a respectable 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and carries a 7.2/10 score from IMDb. But you be the critic and see for yourself how well this film fares for a production made over three decades ago.
Our list is a recommendation of the best scandal movies we’ve seen, but there are a few more titles that we believe need honorable mentions. These include Quiz Show (1994), Serpico (1973), Shattered Glass (2003), The Queen (2006), and Denial (2016).
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