Trader Tips
Nov. 19, 202010 min read

6 Trading Documentaries You Need to Watch

Tim BohenAvatar
Written by Tim Bohen

Winter’s here … it’s the perfect time to curl up and binge on movies — so how about some trading documentaries?

It’s a great way to get entertainment and education in one dose. You can sit back and relax and still learn valuable trading lessons. Perfect for cold weather, right?

In this post are six hand-picked trading documentaries that every trader — or anyone interested in the markets for that matter — should watch…

I’m sure a lot of our StocksToTrade Pro members will start watching them this weekend…

Let’s check them out.

6 Trading Documentaries You Need to Watch

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6 Trading Documentaries Every Trader Needs to Watch

All of the following documentaries are great, and they’re listed in no particular order. I sincerely recommend you watch all of them.

Not only will you get an hour or two of entertainment, but you’ll also learn a lot of trading lessons and market history.

Here they are:

#1 “Wall Street Warriors”

I have to admit, “Wall Street Warriors” isn’t a true documentary. It’s a reality TV show about traders but filmed like a documentary…

In season one, we follow the stories of a bunch of New York finance professionals, including traders, brokers, and fund managers. The most interesting of all those characters, at least for me, is none other than my good friend Tim Sykes.

The show was filmed in 2006, when Sykes was a fresh-faced, college-aged kid running a hedge fund from his apartment. You also get to see him awkwardly running and being an idiot in general. I honestly don’t know which is better…

It’s also interesting to see how Wall Street was prior to the global financial crisis meltdown. Unbridled optimism and cockiness — it seemed like everyone believed they’d be the next Gordon Gekko.

I highly recommend you check the show out.

#2 “Trader”

“Trader” is a documentary made about legendary trader and hedge fund mogul, Paul Tudor Jones (PTJ).

The documentary was filmed in 1987, before the October crash. It shows the sheer determination and aggression in PTJ’s trading style.

We see scenes and interviews from brokers and traders down on the live trading floor. We watch as PTJ screams into the phone, telling his brokers what to buy and sell. And there’s footage of him putting on his Bruce Willis sneakers when he needs to get lucky… 

Traders can really be an eccentric bunch.

For years, this documentary was really hard to find. People paid hundreds of dollars to get a copy of it on eBay. Thankfully for us, it eventually turned up on YouTube, so we can all enjoy it.

#3 “Floored”

“Floored” examines the stories of floor traders adapting to the modern world of electronic trading.

Decades ago, all trading was done on the exchange floors, with traders yelling and shouting for orders. The big traders in those pits were sharks, and many made huge incomes.

Eventually, with the advent of electronic trading, the floors started to close as trading was done on computers.

Those floor traders went from being on top of the food chain to having to adapt to the screens or get out of the business. There are a lot of hard-luck stories, but there are also some positive tales about the struggles of these traders and how they worked to overcome their situations.

It’s also great to get a general trading history education with this documentary. Check it out when you get some time.

#4 “Bulls and Bears”

Continuing on with a focus on floor trading, “Bulls and Bears” takes a look at trading on the other side of the world, in Sydney, Australia.

It focuses on the biggest trader on the Sydney Futures Exchange at the time — an American by the name of John ‘Rambo’ Moulton. We get amazing insight into the late 90s frenzied floor trading.

There’s a lot of great trading lessons in this one … especially for traders with a keen eye.

For example, Rambo talks about how when he makes a lot of trades, he tends to be less profitable. Sound like a familiar lesson? Like only trade the best setups? Yep.

He also talks about how trading is like riding a comet, and the best feeling in the world is to get aboard and ride the comet for a while… I totally agree!

Apart from Rambo’s crazy stories, we also get to meet a bunch of floor trader personalities.

It’s interesting to see that no matter where in the world it is, trading seems to attract a certain type of risk-taking, interesting personality type. I notice this all the time when I attend trading conferences and expos

#5 “25 Million Pounds”

Now, let’s switch things up with a part financial documentary, part thriller.

In the 1980s and 90s, Barings Bank was the oldest investment bank in the UK. They were on top of the world and seemed like an integral part of the British and global financial systems. Even the Queen of England held an account at the bank.

The bank would advise on major corporate deals, conduct merger transactions, manage rich people’s money, as well as broker and trade in stocks, futures, and options. Typical old-school investment bank activities.

In 1992, the bank decided to open a Singapore office to trade on the Singapore SGX futures exchange. They sent an ambitious bank clerk by the name of Nick Leeson.

Leeson goes on to do some wild trading on the SGX, racking up losses and hiding them from the bank management back in the UK. Eventually, in 1995, Leeson’s trading losses caused the Barings Bank to go bankrupt. It was a monumental scandal at the time and Leeson ended up in prison.

Talk about a key lesson on the importance of controlling your risk. The documentary itself tells the entire story and features interviews with Leeson, his staff, and other people involved with the bank.

Great documentary — check it out!

#6 “Becoming Warren Buffett”

In 2017, HBO released what’s probably the best-made documentary of a famous financial personality called “Becoming Warren Buffett.”

It centers around none other than the Oracle of Omaha, one of the world’s richest men and super smart investor, Warren Buffett.

The documentary delves into Buffett’s upbringing. We get to see how Warren’s father and early entrepreneurial endeavors shaped and affected Warren.

We also get to see how Warren operates today … in a pretty drab, simple office in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a beautiful thing to see one of the world’s most successful investors operating in such a different way from the crazy pace of Wall Street.

I love the little lessons on how powerful compound interest is for traders and investors … It really is the holy grail of wealth creation.

It’s also great to hear Buffett share that even at his advanced age, well into his 80s, that he loves his life and tap dances to work each day.

Great personality, great investor, great documentary. Check it out!

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That’s it! These six trading documentaries should keep you entertained for quite a while.

I hope you feel the same passion I do when I see and learn about traders. I always learn something — no matter how or what they trade.

Learning about all the areas of the markets, such as futures and forex, can make for a robust trading education. Consider it a key part of your trading journey.

Ready to really speed up your trading journey? Join us at StocksToTrade Pro — I think it’s the best place to learn how to trade stocks available today.

What are your favorite trading documentaries? We’d love to hear your recommendations. Leave a comment!