Business Ethics in the Movies
Thinking outside the box office.
About this list
I began compiling this list in February 2003 when
I couldn't find a list of movies dealing with business ethics. (This
is not a recognized film genre). As I read numerous research articles
on teaching business ethics, teaching with films, ethical development of
adolescents, influence of media on teenage identity, and movie viewing
habits of young adults, I wanted to share these along with the movie list.
A literature review of these sources is included in The
Top Twelve Things You Can Learn About Business Ethics by Watching Movies.
- Titles came from
books and articles, friends and family, and Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com),
Reel.com, and Amazon.com. I have seen almost every movie on the list
(6 more to go!).
- Themes I began writing capsule summaries of the movies to draw attention to their significance for business ethics. However, the themes of career, conflict, labor, satire, and whistleblower emerged, and these seemed to be a better way than summaries to invite students to draw new ideas from viewing the movies.
- Business portrayed in each movie can be used for comparisons and special interests.
- Dates of
release are significant because the representation of business by media
changes over time.
- Literary source of the movie appears in case anyone wants the read the original book or play, or look for trends in original movie screenplays.
All of these movies:
These types of movies are excluded:
- Have significant characters, circumstances, or events
worthy of study and discussion to increase our understanding of the complexity
of (un)ethical behavior in the workplace.
- Portray the effects of (un)ethical behavior on individuals,
co-workers, families, friends, management, organization, industry, and
- Are available on DVD or VHS; they can be borrowed
from libraries, rented from video stores, or purchased.
- Movies about personal ethics or con artists, journalism
ethics, legal ethics, medical ethics, military ethics, political corruption,
police corruption, and organized crime (except The Godfather).
- "Disaster" movies using unethical business decisions only to compound the disaster.
- "Superhero" movies with unscrupulous businessmen in exaggerated, unrealistic plots.
- Made-for-TV movies, unless they are readily available in libraries and video stores.
- Television shows that are now available on DVD or VHS.
Web Librarian Tammy Allgood created the database in ColdFusion, and also created a page for adding updates to the database. Comments or questions for Tammy?
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