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The Best 30 Sales Movies You Should Watch

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Such a large number of sales movies have been made over the years that they can actually be considered a genre of their own. 

From over-the-top comedies to dramas based on real life stories of entrepreneurial success, such sales-focused movies can often teach you valuable lessons about sales — and life in general.

So, whether you work in sales yourself and want some inspiration or you just love watching good films and learning from their characters’ mistakes (instead of making them yourself), here are 30 of the best sales movies you should watch, ranked from best to worst according to their IMDB ratings.

The 30 Best Sales Movies To Watch for Inspiration

1) 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men

Description of the movie: 12 Angry Men is about a man on a jury selling his belief that a young boy is innocent of murder to the rest of the jurors. Henry Fonda’s character shows us that, in order to sell something to people who are predisposed not to buy it, you have to firmly believe in your position and be persistent.

Released in: 1957

IMDB rating: 9.0

2) The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street

Description of the movie: The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, which tells the story of the rise and fall of the former New York stockbroker. Belfort eventually served 22 months in prison for financial crimes related to penny stock scams. 

A lesson to be learned from the movie is that success can be just as addictive as drugs and other vices (of which there are many in the film, as well). One key to maintaining a successful sales career is to try not to become too obsessed with success itself, especially if it tempts you to start employing unethical sales practices that can lead to trouble.

Released in: 2013

IMDB rating: 8.2

3) The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness

Description of the movie: This classic Will Smith film centers on the life of a down-and-out salesman who gets evicted and, along with his 5-year-old son, ends up homeless. As Smith’s character starts a career at a new stock brokerage firm, he and his son live in shelters and deal with the other hardships of being without a home.

The Pursuit of Happyness is a testament to the power of persistence and shows how determination and resilience are huge when working in sales.

Released in: 2006

IMDB rating: 8.0

4) The Big Short

Description of the movie: The Big Short centers on the 2008 market crash and its aftermath. The movie is based on real-life investors who bet against the US real estate mortgage market and predicted the market crash. A sales takeaway from this film is that the higher the risks, the higher the rewards.

Released in: 2015

IMDB rating: 7.8

5) Door to Door

Description of the movie: Door to Door is a sales movie classic based on the true story of a legendary door-to-door salesman who didn’t let his cerebral palsy or speech impediment stop him from closing a sale. He walks miles everyday winning over clients. 

The film shows that if you try hard enough to connect with customers on a personal and emotional level, nothing can stop you from making a sale.

Released in: 2002

IMDB rating: 7.8

6) Glengarry Glen Ross

Description of the movie: Glengarry Glen Ross, features a star-studded cast playing real estate salesmen competing to not get fired by the end of the week. The film popularized the sales phrase “always be closing” (ABC), which is said by Al Pacino’s character. ABC is a term that’s still heard around sales offices today.

Released in: 1992

IMDB rating: 7.7

7) Elmer Gantry

Description of the movie: Elmer Gantry is about a smooth-talking salesman of the same name who goes from peddling goods on the road to selling himself into a new role as a traveling evangelical preacher. The movie shows that as long as you know how to sell, you can sell just about anything.

Released in: 1960

IMDB rating: 7.7

8) Salesman

Description of the movie: This documentary film follows four rival door-to-door bible salesmen as they traverse the United States trying to meet their sales quotas and outsell their competition. Their main target audience includes lower-middle class Catholic families, the elderly, and housewives. The movie demonstrates the power of determination in sales, as well as the importance of creating value to your customers.

Released in: 1969

IMDB rating: 7.7

9) Lord of War

Description of the movie: Lord of War is loosely based on the true story of an arms dealer (played by Nicolas Cage) who specializes in dealing AK-47s, missiles, and other weapons to African warlords. The film shows that, regardless of what you’re selling, treating your customers with respect is one of the best ways to gain their trust and make sales.

Released in: 2005

IMDB rating: 7.6

10) Moneyball

Description of the movie: In this sales-related sports movie, Brad Pitt’s character uses unconventional metrics to get inexpensive baseball players and stretch the tight budget of his team (the Oakland A’s).

There are a couple of sales lessons to take away from Moneyball, including that you should leverage the power of data in sales decisions and that bringing new perspectives into sales processes can be very beneficial.

Released in: 2011

IMDB rating: 7.6

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11) Thank You for Smoking

Description of the movie: Thank You for Smoking gives us a satirical look at the world of big tobacco lobbying. The movie’s main character, a lobbyist named Nick Naylor, struggles to balance his professional duties with being a good father and role model for his son.

This sales-adjacent film shows that you don’t have to believe in what you’re selling to be good at selling it, and that keeping your emotions out of sales is the best way to succeed in the profession.

Released in: 2005

IMDB rating: 7.5

12) Wall Street

Description of the movie: The story depicted in Wall Street revolves around the life of a highly ambitious stockbroker named Bud Fox in the 1980s. It’s another sales film that depicts the dangers of greed and corruption (in this case, insider trading). 

Wall Street teaches us that just a few big decisions in a sales career can have serious consequences, in both your personal and professional lives.

Released in: 1987

IMDB rating: 7.3

13) Jerry Maguire

Description of the movie: In this sales movie, Tom Cruise plays a sports agent who loses almost all of his clients because of a new moral perspective in life. The film revolves around him starting a new sports management firm with his one remaining client.

There are a lot of lessons about sales in Jerry Maguire, including that things going on in your personal life can play a big role in your professional one and affect your sales. But, ultimately, if you believe in yourself and are determined enough, you can succeed in sales, even if it means starting over.

Released in: 1996

IMDB rating: 7.3

14) Death of a Salesman

Description of the movie: Death of a Salesman portrays the life of a washed-up door-to-door salesman. The film focuses on the character’s failed relationships and family problems because of his inability to change and his obsession with his career. 

The pursuit of the “American Dream” is a central theme in Death of a Salesman, and one could argue that the main character’s problems are due to sales burnout from working too hard to try and achieve the “American Dream.”

Released in: 1985

IMDB rating: 7.2

15) The Founder

Description of the movie: This sales film shows the story of Ray Kroc, the man responsible for changing McDonald’s from a small fast food restaurant into the world’s biggest burger chain. Kroc goes from a milkshake machine salesman to the head of the McDonald’s franchise through sheer persistence.

The Founder teaches us that in sales, persistence and determination are far more important than innate talent, education, or intelligence. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make a sale, you can do it.

Released in: 2017

IMDB rating: 7.2

16) Tommy Boy

Description of the movie: Tommy Boy is a sales comedy classic featuring Chris Farley and David Spade. Beneath all the slapstick and raunchy humor, Tommy Boy actually depicts an average Joe (or Tommy) becoming a successful salesman.

Sales professionals can follow Tommy’s lead by trying to get inside their customers’ heads and finding ways to relate to them, which builds rapport and trust to ultimately close sales.

Released in: 1995

IMDB rating: 7.1

17) Boiler Room

Description of the movie: Boiler Room is the ultimate cold calling sales movie. It depicts the hyper-aggressive “boiler room” sales tactics of a group of young, ambitious brokers.

Boiler Room teaches us that there is no such thing as a call that ends without a sale — either you sell the client something, or they sell you a reason why they don’t want what you’re selling. It’s another movie that pushes the sales advice to always be closing, or you’re the one getting closed.

Released in: 2000

IMDB rating: 7.0

18) Diamond Men

Description of the movie: In Diamond Men, a traveling jewelry salesman on the brink of retirement is tasked with training his replacement. The two hit the road and along the way form a friendship. This movie shows you that new sales professionals can learn a lot from their elders who have been in the sales game far longer than they have.

Released in: 2000

IMDB rating: 6.9

19) Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Description of the movie: This classic sales movie follows the dreams of a man named Tucker, who sets out to design and sell revolutionary new cars just after WWII. Like other sales films, the “American Dream” is a central theme in Tucker: the Man and His Dream. Tucker perseveres due to pure determination, despite having the odds stacked against him.

Released in: 1988

IMDB rating: 6.9

20) Love & Other Drugs

Description of the movie: Love & Other Drugs is a romantic drama focused on the life of a pharmaceutical salesman. The story is based on the memoir of a real-life viagra salesman and provides an inside look at the world of medical/pharmaceutical sales. The film’s main character eventually becomes the top salesman at the company he works for.

A key takeaway from Love & Other Drugs is that it’s important to maintain a good work-life balance in sales, and it’s never worth throwing away love in the name of sales success.

Released in: 2011

IMDB rating: 6.7

21) Used Cars

Description of the movie: In Used Cars, Kurt Russell plays a charismatic used car salesman trying to save the used car sales lot he works at after the suspicious death of his former boss. It’s a dark comedy about sales and competition between rival car lots.

Despite Used Cars being a comedy film, sales professionals can learn from the main character’s motto: “Trust me!” — trust is one of the most important factors in closing sales.

Released in: 1980

IMDB rating: 6.7

22) Joy

Description of the movie: Joy is a film about the entrepreneur Joy Mangano, a real-life self-made millionaire who got her start selling self-wringing mops. Though her first infomercial failed, she eventually succeeded when she got to star in the ads herself. 

The film also teaches us that understanding your target audience is a huge part of being able to sell your products to them.

Released in: 2015

IMDB rating: 6.6

23) The Big Kahuna

Description of the movie: In this sales movie, two salesmen dissect a sales pitch aimed at one particularly big client. If they are able to land this client, it could change everything for their company. 

The Big Kahuna teaches us that if you want to really connect with your clients, you have to make a human connection with them.

Released in: 1999

IMDB rating: 6.6

24) Tin Men

Description of the movie: Tin Men is a classic sales comedy/drama that revolves around the rivalry between two door-to-door metal siding salesmen. The rivalry quickly escalates and gets personal, but the moral of the story is that your sales competition doesn’t have to be your enemy. In fact, they might turn out to be useful to you someday.

Released in: 1987

IMDB rating: 6.6

25) Rogue Trader

Description of the movie: Rogue Trader follows the misadventures of a British investment banker who is sent to manage a bank branch in Singapore. Before long, he’s making risky trades and getting in over his head. 

The main character eventually causes the bank to go bankrupt by trying to double-down on all his mistakes, which teaches us that sometimes it’s best to take your losses instead of covering them up.

Released in: 1999

IMDB rating: 6.4

26) Cedar Rapids

Description of the movie: Cedar Rapids stars Ed Helms as an insurance salesman who is sent by his company to his first big business convention in a major city. The comic character spends his first night ever in a hotel and his positivity turns out to be infectious to the other sales people he meets over the weekend. Ultimately, the salesman leaves the weekend with new friends and a new job, showing the importance of getting along with the people you work with.

Released in: 2011

IMDB rating: 6.3

27) Baby Boom

Description of the movie: Unexpectedly inheriting a baby leads Baby Boom’s main character into a life of sales, where she finds success selling organic baby food. Though she has to overcome various challenges to get to that point, the movie shows that sometimes what seems like an unwanted complication can become an opportunity.

Released in: 1987

IMDB rating: 6.2

28) Seize the Day

Description of the movie: Robin Williams stars as a struggling middle-aged salesman in the 1950s in this made-for-TV sales movie. After losing his job and his girlfriend and suffering a nervous breakdown, Williams’s character moves to New York to start anew. Sometimes a fresh start is what you need to get your personal and professional lives back on track.

Released in: 1986

IMDB rating: 5.8

29) Cadillac Man

Description of the movie: Cadillac Man is a Robin Williams classic in which Williams plays a financially-troubled car salesman who has just two days to sell 12 cars in order to pay his debts off. Did we mention he owes money to the mafia? The moral of the story of this comedic sales movie is that sometimes pressure is good for making sales.

Released in: 1990

IMDB rating: 5.7

30) The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Description of the movie: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard is another movie about car sales. Jeremy Piven plays Don Ready, a used car liquidator hired by a failing car lot to save them from bankruptcy over the 4th of July weekend. 

In between all the silly dialogues, sales professionals can learn from this movie that playing to peoples’ emotions is one of the best ways to make sales.

Released in: 2009

IMDB rating: 5.7

Wrapping Up

You don’t necessarily have to work in sales to appreciate the top sales movies on this list. Most of them are great choices for your next movie night based on entertainment value alone. 

If you do work in sales and marketing or a sales-adjacent profession, you may be able to learn some valuable lessons about pitching your next sale from some of the films listed above. You might even consider sharing this list with your sales team to help inspire them to new heights!

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