All salespeople out there, sit back and take a constructive break. We have come up with a list of some of the best sales movies of all time. They are sassy, gritty and possesses some of the best sales strategies.
There is a conception among many that sales are all about being ruthless and getting the job done by hook or by crook but these movies portray how sales can be passionate, energetic and can launch a successful career.
They show why cinematic portrayals of salespeople must be appreciated. If you are craving for some inspiration so that you can continue with your sales pitch or you just want to buck up your badass attitude, then give your eyes a feast by watching these movies. Enjoy!
The Big Kahuna (1999)
This American business comedy-drama film directed by John Swanbeck was released in the year 1999. It portrays three novice sales representatives working for an industrial lubricants manufacturing company struggling to make their sales pitch to The Big Kahuna, a whale of a client with the ability to save the company from financial burdens.
This movie received a 56/100 mixed and average reviews and earned modest returns at the box office.This movie is not just about religion and marketing strategies. When carefully watched it reveals how the human mind works irrespective of their occupation or religious belief, how humans handle their relationships with others.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
This masterpiece starring some of the best actors revolves around the story of some of the regional sales representatives in a desperate situation to save their jobs since their boss announced he will be firing all apart from the top two salespeople at their real estate firm.
The film gained huge popularity making $10.7 million in North America. The film has been critically acclaimed and has a rating of 80 out of 100. It received generally good reviews from the critiques.Some of the key sales lessons from the Movie includes extending a helping hand for all the customers. The task that can be done today should not be delayed. One of the key strength of a strong salesperson is to establish a connection with their customers, get a clear idea of their requirement, this is what this movie teaches.
Death of a Salesman (1985)
This movie is based on a play written by American playwright Arthur Miller, which owned the Pulitzer Prize. The movie depicts the story of a salesman Willy Loman brilliantly in three separate films supported by John Malkovich, Stephen Lang, and Dustin Hoffman. A tragic hero Loman reminds us of sales being high pressure, the relentless game lacks everyone’s guts to deal with it.
This critically acclaimed movie gained huge popularity in the UK, US, Germany, India and so on. It received many prizes and awards. Remains one of the best sales movies of all time.Many men and women who are in sales still believe that their inability to achieve the ideal financial success is a reflection of their self-worth. This movie teaches some of the best sales lessons such as focussing on self, not buyers, teamwork and most importantly taking care of oneself.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
In case you didn’t see the movie yet, you have definitely quoted this movie, without even realizing. “Show me the money” the best dialogue of the movie. Here Tom Cruise plays the character of a very successful sports agent who loses his job for sharing his moral epiphany. Now, he works towards creating a new management firm and a new life with his former secretary and a very difficult athlete.
The film was critically acclaimed with an 82% positive reviews from all its critics and was nominated for the best picture. Cuba Gooding Jr. won Academy Award for a best-supporting actor, Cruise also received a nomination for Best Actor in the leading role.This movie depicts struggle most of the business owners can relate to at one point or another. Also, it teaches us that anything good in life takes time, getting what you want can’t be possible always but getting what you need is possible.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
Don Ready knows how to use the goods he has at his disposal. Jeremy Piven plays this role of Don Ready, an extraordinary salesperson who was called to save a car dealership from getting bankrupted and turn their fourth of July sale into a massively successful campaign. However, very little goes right until Ready realizes he needs to get Crafty in order to turn the weekend successful.
This movie didn’t receive many positive reviews from its critics. It also got involved in a controversy. However, it still has some golden sales tidbits sprinkled throughout if you pay attention.Overall, this film, through its ridiculous humor, portrays a well-orchestrated narrative about life, art, religion, and culture. A great sales movie to watch, especially if you’re in the car business.
Cadillac Man (1990)
This movie revolves around car dealer Joey O’Brien, starred by Robin Williams, who is in financial trouble and has only two days to pay back his debts by selling a dozen cars. This task becomes more difficult when the dealership secretary’s husband takes the hostage of the dealership for finding out the reason why O’Brien has been involved in an affair with his wife.
This movie received a score of 55% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes and has mixed reviews.Overall, Cadillac Man gives an excellent example of a car salesman who lives a lifestyle of constant closing. Another great choice for those in the car biz.
Tin Men (1987)
Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss played the characters of the door to door aluminum siding salesmen Bill “B.B” Babowsky and Ernest Tilley. The movie portrays them as professional rivals in an industry that is well known for shady dealings and high-pressure sales. The story here revolves around how their rivalry will turn from professional to personal after a minor car accident. The growing hatred between the two escalated as B.B decides to have an affair with Tilley’s wife.
Tin men received good reviews from its critics and held a rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.This movie tries to capture the end of an era with humor and wit. It tries to shed light on the past practices which gave sales a bad name.
Boiler Room (2000)
Boiler Room portraying the true nature of hard sells is one of the best sales movies of all time where the story revolves around how aggressive brokers are selling to unsuspecting buyers over the phone and are getting rewarded with sports cars, mansions, and other luxury goods. The movie centers around Giovanni Ribisi, who played a college drop out getting a job at a suburban investment firm. His new career, lucrative income, brought him back to his father’s good graces, until the time he realizes that the firm isn’t legitimate enough and he faced with the ultimate decision.
It gained positive reviews and a score of 66% at Rotten Tomatoes website.This movie gives some amazing sales lesson which includes respecting the time of clients, being transparent with the job, genuineness and empathy can’t be faked, and being professional and non-offensive to the client is extremely important.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street directed by Martin Scorsese chronicles the real life of Jordan Belfort, a corrupt stockbroker, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jordan Belfort experiencing massive financial success before he was imprisoned for 22 months for his crimes. This movie tells the story of the meteoric rise of Belfort from an entry level broker to the owner of his own firm. However, drugs and illegal financial practices led to his downfall and jail.
This movie received a very good review and critics praised Dicaprio and Hill’s performances, Winter’s screenplay and Scorsese’s direction.This movie teaches every sales people out there lessons on how to keep their team motivated and focused by giving them proper training. Adversities can reveal your true potential.
The Founder (2016)
This movie is based on a true story of 52 years old over the hill milkshake machine salesman who successfully built a fast food empire. “The Founder,” tells the story of Kroc’s partnership with Mac and Dick McDonald, his subsequent franchise and how he gradually took over their family burger business.
The Founder earned huge revenues worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes website gave it 83% rating.This movie teaches us to remain curious since it is the most important characteristics of getting fresh ideas and exploring new ways and there is no harm in thinking big and stretching the boundaries of possibilities.
Used Cars (1980)
In this movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, Kurt Russell plays a hotshot used car hustler. His dream is to run for state senate. Russell’s character here is portrayed as a quick talking, charismatic personnel who gives this hilariously raunchy comedy an energetic touch as effective today as it was 35 years back. His catchphrase in this movie is “Trust me”.
The used car earned a huge revenue of more than $11.7 million in North America. It received a positive review.This romantic comedy verifies almost everything people believed about a used car salesman. Every salesperson must watch this movie at least once.
Love and Other Drugs (2010)
This romantic drama based on the nonfiction memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, starring Jake Gyllenhaal shed light on an interesting perspective of medical sales. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of an ambitious pharmaceutical rep who is not ready to take no as an answer which helps him to become Pfizer’s #1 drug pusher.
This movie received a mixed review from its critics.Although marketed as a love story, this movie has more to offer in the competitive world of medical sales. It teaches its viewers that practice is the key to success and learning how to ignore things that do not help you to move forward.
This is a documentary by filmmakers Albert and David Maysles, which shows the rivalry between four salesmen who sell bible door to door. It depicting the tough times for these hard-living quartet who spend their time traveling through small-town America and trying their best to sell gold leaf bibles to elderly couples and lower-middle-class housewives.
In the year 1993, Salesman got selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. This documentary is considered as one of the best culturally, historically and aesthetically significant documentaries ever made in history.This documentary brings forth an elegiac appreciation for humiliation and loss and the failure of dreams.
Elmer Gantry (1960)
This 1960 drama starred by actors like Jean Simmons, Burt Lancaster, Arthur Kennedy, and Shirley Jones revolves around the story of a salesman turned preacher, Elmer Gantry who turn out to be the ultimate hypocrite.
Burt Lancaster received an academy award for best actor and Shirley Jones received an award for the best-supporting actress. This movie is one of the best critically acclaimed films of all time.This thought-provoking movie powered by Burt Lancaster’s performance may seem overlong initially but with time the viewers can notice that it is creating an impact on them. This movie promotes an idea of evangelism, it shows everyone has grey and white characters within themselves. In this film, none is a villain or a hero.
This film based on legendary entrepreneur Joy Mangano revolves around how Joy dealt with narrowly minded executives, product design and most importantly legal trouble to become the founder of a powerful family run business. This drama received Oscar nomination and all characters were beautifully portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper.
Jennifer Lawrence received Oscar nomination for best actress and this movie earned more than $56.4 million in the U.S and Canada itself.This movie gives us some strong lessons. It teaches us it’s never too late and not to lose hope. Confidence and conviction is the key to a successful sales career. Always try to gain ownership over your career and life.
Tommy Boy (1995)
David Spade and Chris Farley ruled this funny flick which revolves around a son embarking on a cross country road trip for saving their family business. Farley portrays a character which is not as great salesman as his late father was thus resulting in a series of a bad sales call.
Although the film earned quite a good revenue at the box office but received a mixed review from the critics and a score of 5.1/10.This movie gives its viewers many sales lesson such as learning from experience and training is the key to success, honesty and brand loyalty can make a huge difference.
This cult classic deals with the real scenes behind used car dealerships. This movie starring Joe Yanetty, Daniel Benzil, and Jake Johannsen tells the story of a car salesman reaching the top at his dealership while he tries to pay off his debts.
The film received 2001 video premiere award in the screenplay category. It was premiered at the comedy arts festival in Aspen.This movie is for those who are in the car business. It is a good satire of the sales car world. Suckers by taking the dealer point of view on car sales make it more interesting.
Wall Street (1987)
This film is all about corruption, greed, and hyper-materialism. Starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen as the two insider traders aware of the very fact that information is the most valuable commodity. Here the famous line “Life all come down to a few moments. This is one of them” often reminds us that few big decisions taken at a time can make or break a career.
Rogue Trader (1999)
This film is based on the true story of a young British man working at Barings, a big investment bank. He was sent to Singapore and given a position of authority at the bank’s branch. Here the story starts. It deals with how he is taking advantages of the thriving Asian market and making risky trades.
It received very poor reviews from critics and has 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.If you are wondering how some businessmen handles high stakes so confidently, you need to give this movie a watch. This film teaches us trading can be very profitable and lucrative if done right, otherwise it can lead to bankrupt.
Diamond Men (2000)
This movie, starring Oscar-nominated actor Robert Foster, tells the story of a veteran traveling jewelry salesman whose recent heart attack forced an early retirement by the management and was assigned one last task to train a rookie salesman who will be his replacement.
The film shows how they both develop a friendship with each other, as the young salesman (Donnie Wahlberg), introduces him to some ladies at the “Altoona Riding Club”.
With an 81% review score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, this sales movie has a good story line as well as some golden sales nuggets.If you’re looking for a good sales flick based on building a strong friendship between two unlikely characters, this is the one for you.
Lord of War (2005)
This film, inspired by the real-life career of a notorious weapons dealer, humorously portrays how the experience of selling AK-47 guns to African warlords is not much different than selling orthopedic shoes to senior citizens.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Lord of War shows you both the good and the bad that comes along with selling weapons to powerful people. Building his business from scratch, Cage shows what tenacity, charisma, and the ability to keep your cool under pressure can get you in this world.
This is a must see flick if you want a sales movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire film. It’ll also show you how powerful people are able to do and get away with things that ordinary folks can’t.Great film to check out if you’re all about hustle.
Seize The Day (1986)
The powerful performance of Robert Williams in this ironically titled “Seize the Day” is bound to attract the attention of viewers. This heartbreaking and emotionally raw movie showcasing a middle-aged Jewish salesman struggling with divorce and poverty in 1950 was originally broadcast on PBS television.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
“Death of a salesman” showed how sales became a symbol of futility, this inspirational movie showcases how sales can turn into a life-changing and positive profession. The role of Chris Gardner has been beautifully portrayed by Will Smith, a fitfully employed salesman finding his five-year-old son and himself homeless after getting involved in a series of unlucky financial breaks. The film shows Gardner’s constant and unwavering pursuit of a better life despite all his difficulties and setbacks.
The film got a great response from the critics. Will Smith’s acting prowess bagged him an Academy Award nomination for his role as Chris Gardner.One of the key lessons learned from the movie is that the road to happiness is not smooth, rather it is full of setbacks, however, one shouldn’t lose hope and never give excuses not to try.
Ready to Binge on a Sales Movie or Two?
You really can’t go wrong with any of the choices above, but if you’re a diehard sales guy, then we suggest taking a Sunday for yourself and binging on 5 or 6 of these bad boys. There are a lot of sales gems sprinkled throughout, so if you’re looking to amp yourself up and get into the selling mood, watching a few of these will do just that!
Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below! Did we miss any good ones that you think should be on here?