Extensive research was done to find all the significant movies ever produced that have a primary focus on sales. If I missed anything, please let me know. Enjoy!
Glengarry Glen Ross
Directed by James Foley. Written by David Mamet. Starring Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Jonathan Pryce. 1992.
The all time best sales movie ever produced. Period. Great cast and superbly performed. This is not an uplifting, feel-good type of movie. After watching it you may decide to be a horticulturist instead. You’ll get over it.
Directed by Tom Shadyac. Written by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur. Starring Jim Carrey, Edward Norton. 1999.
What would really happen if you said the truth? The whole truth? With absolutely no hedging? Even if you didn’t want to? See this after you read Radical Honesty.
Directed & written by Barry Levinson. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Danny DeVito, Barbara Hershey. 1987.
Illustrates the true spirt of sales competition. Confidence, motivation, and focus in abundance. Makes you want to go out and sell something!
Directed by Ray Enright. Written by Hugh Cummings and Richard Macaulay. Starring Joe E. Brown, June Travis, Guy Kibbee. 1936.
One of the funniest movies ever made. Alexander Botts is indeed a “natural born salesman.” If there is one movie you don’t want to miss before you die, this is it.
The Music Man
Directed by Morton DaCosta. Written by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey. Starring Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett. 1936.
If you look up “glib” in a dictionary, you should be seeing Robert Preston’s smiling face. A master fast-talking close-em-hard scamster. Nice soundtrack too.
Directed by Oliver Stone. Written by Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser. Starring Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas. 1987.
Young ambitious stockbroker gets a fast-track ride to the top and finds out that the air is thin up there. Famous scene where Michael Douglas’s character Gordon Gekko explains the realities of capitalism. Definitely an 80’s film.
Directed and Written by Ben Younger. Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long. 2000.
College dropout that runs a casino out of his apartment finds out too late that the new gig he is offered is with a company run by crooks. The training is brutal, the job high-pressure, but what the heck, the money is great.
Door To Door
Directed by Steven Schachter. Written by William H. Macy and Steven Schachter. William H. Macy, Helen Mirren. 2002.
Finally, a feel-good positive sales movie about a guy who personifies persistance and courage. If any of us ever whine we will look really bad in comparison.
Another in a long line of reasons why I call William H. Macy a “class act.” Instead of going after the money he goes after challenging roles primarily via low-budget indie films with brilliant creative people that are passionate about what they do. Bravo. Funny how he ends up with the money anyways…
The Big Kahuna
Directed by John Swanbeck. Written by Roger Rueff. Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Peter Facinelli. 1999.
Two pros and a rookie rehearse a pitch for the big one, Kahuna that is.
Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise
Directed by Danny Boyle. Written by Jim Cartwright. Timothy Spall, Michael Begley. 2001.
On the job training the way you know it’s supposed to happen. If nothing else you gotta love the title.
Lord of War
Directed and written by Andrew Niccol. Nicolas Cage, Bridget Moynahan, Jared Leto. 2005.
Think you got a tough sales job? Think again. Ukranian immigrant Yuri Orlov is the best of the best. It’s almost like somebody up there is watching over him as he narrowly escapes disaster while plying the world’s (second) oldest trade. A closer’s closer guilty only of selling what people want to buy and doing so better that the rest.
Directed by Albert and David Maysles. Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Barker, Raymond Martos. 1968.
Documentary following bible salesmen as they display utter ineptitude in sales and hate thmselves and their lives because they deceive, manipulate and rip people off for a living. Another on the dungpile or anti-sales propaganda movies.
Directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker. Fidelis Cloer. 2008.
So you drive into Iraq just as Guld War I kicks into high gear and cold call likely targets to sell them armored cars. If this is your idea of fun you can call Fidelis and sign on… where there’s war there’s money…
Inspirational Movies (Not Strictly Sales)
Directed by David Fincher. Written by Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Jim Uhls (screenplay). Starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton. 1999.
Reconnect with your inner thug. It’s OK to be a man again. This movie takes the concept of embracing conflict to a whole other level. Watch it. Embrace it. Then go out and pick a fight (or close a deal).
Directed by Sidney Lumet. Written by Ray Rigby and R.S. Allen. Sean Connery, Harry Andrews. 1965.
Some may argue that this “war” movie has nothing at all to do with sales. They are “correct” from their perspective. From mine, it has everything to do with sales. It captures the essence of the agony Sysiphus experienced on his hill, and that of a rep making the 97th cold call of the day. By the way, Sean Connery was great before 007….
Run Lola Run
Directed and written by Tom Tykwer. Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup. 1998.
Another non-sales, sales movie. Ingeniously captures how the metaphysical can triumph over the physical by sheer power of will. As in the Bible parable: Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20.
The Rest of The List
I am still working on this section – come back again to see the rest.
The Limb Salesman Give’m a hand, better yet an arm…