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Financial Tip

In memoriam
In lieu of cards and flowers, Mr. Stowers' family would appreciate that friends and colleagues consider opening a Hope Shares account in Jim's name. In addition to honoring Jim's memory, your contribution enables you to become personally involved in the long-term effort to provide Hope for Life -- a better life for everyone.

Movies that offer "teachable moments" about money

Here is a list of movies that offer “teachable moments” about money. As the credits roll, find out what your kids learned from watching the movie by asking questions like:

  • Was the person in the movie responsible with how they earned or spent their money?

  • Did the adults set a good example for their children with regards to money?

  • How can you avoid being taken by scammers and con artists?

  • Did the characters actions in the movie depict traits that you admire?

Movies that depict the Great Depression:

  • The Grapes of Wrath (NR) – Classic movie that depicts the struggles of an Oklahoma farm family as they travel to California in hopes of finding employment and escaping poverty.

  • Modern Times (G) – Charlie Chaplain, an oppressed assembly-line worker, runs from the law as he tries to navigate the challenges of factory modernization.

  • Annie (PG) – Greed loses out to perseverance. An orphan who seeks the security of a family discovers the importance of a positive attitude.

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (NR) – Greed leads to the potential demise of a small town. The citizens panic which causes a run on the bank. People learn that the financial system is built on trust.

  • They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (PG) – Marathon dancers demonstrate just how far people go to make money in desperate times.

  • Paper Moon (PG) – Friendship grows between a con-man and an orphan girl who scam their way through Depression-era Kansas.

  • Angela’s Ashes (R) – Based on the true story of an Irish family who leaves the poverty of Brooklyn and returns to Ireland where their struggles worsen.

  • The Legend of Bagger Vance (PG-13) – Innovation and determination helps a woman organize a golf tournament to avoid foreclosure.

  • Seabiscuit (PG-13) – A racehorse gives Americans, who are struggling to survive at different levels of society, a reason to cheer.

  • Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (G) – Difficult financial times encourages individual resilience and brings family unity.

  • King of the Hill (PG-13) – A young boy whose mother is hospitalized and father is constantly on the road is forced to fend for himself during the Depression.

  • Sounder (G) – With his father in prison during the heart of the Depression, a son still yearns for an education and sees it as a key to a better life.

Movies that show money in everyday life:

  • Mean Girls (PG-13) – Teen girls demonstrate just how powerful peer pressure can be as an influencer on people’s behavior.

  • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (PG-13) – Based on true story of 1950s housewife who supports her family with ingenuity and wit by winning prize money by entering jingles.

  • Big (PG) – A 12-year-old in 30-year-old body proves that childlike creativity can pay off in the business world of adults.

  • Blank Check (PG) – A young boy who is taught “money lessons” by his parents suddenly comes in to an illegal windfall. Avoiding the police and crooks provides him a real lesson in prioritizing money, possessions and family.

  • It Could Happen to You (PG) – Based on a true story, a New York policeman does the ethical thing when he follows through on a promise to share with winning lottery ticket with a waitress.

  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (NR) – When a Manhattan family moves to the country they learn just how expensive it is to own a home.

  • Confessions of a Shopaholic (PG) – Compulsive shopping and spiraling credit card debt threatens to destroy a girl’s love life and career.

  • The Money Pit (PG) – New home owners learn the hard way how much a deal that’s too good to be true can cost.

  • Citizen Kane (PG) – A powerful newspaper tycoon rises to great wealth and power at the expense of his moral principles.

  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (G) – Watch just how far people will go to win the race for riches.

  • Flushed Away (animated) (PG) – A pampered mouse finds himself in the London sewers and learns that even though he’s out of his element, he’s still among friends.

  • Gold Rush (NR) – Charlie Chaplin tackles dangerous situations as he learns the hazards of trying to get rich quick.

  • Billy Elliot (R) – With the local economy falling apart and his family out of work during a miner’s strike, an 11-year old boy secretly skips his boxing lessons so he can learn ballet. He finds success in pursuing his dream and passion rather than depending on what others think he should do.

  • Muriel’s Wedding (R) – Young woman learns that while money can buy nice things, it can’t buy love or happiness.

  • Quiz Show (PG-13) – Quiz show contestant compromises his ethics by cheating. Both he and the producers of the show benefit … temporarily. In the end, everyone loses.

  • Marie Antoinette (PG-13) – Wealth, position and extravagance can’t protect the new queen from her own rebellious behavior.

  • Mary Poppins (G) – A magical nanny shows two children and their father the incredible power love has over money.

  • All Roads Lead Home (PG) – A rebellious child learns the value of hard work and giving to others – including animals.

Classic TV shows on DVD:

  • The Waltons (NR) – Depression Era family proves that simple living and their bond with each other can go a long way towards surviving difficult times.

  • The Beverly Hillbillies (NR) – A poor mountain family comes into a financial windfall. There humble background provides a source of laughter while they choose to live a life of riches.

  • The Millionaire (NR) – This 1950s drama shows how different people deal with million-dollar windfall.

  • The Honeymooners (NR) – New York bus driver tries unsuccessfully to find innovative ways to make money so he and his wife can enjoy a better life. After all is said and done, he realizes money is not the source of happiness.

  • Duck Tales (animated) (NR) – Scrooge McDuck’s pursuit of money sets an example for his nephews Huey, Dewy and Louie.

Movies about Business and Wall Street:

  • Trading Places (R) – Wealth and poverty change places in this humorous look at the role heredity and environment play in managing financial success.

  • Wall Street (R) – This movie’s signature line – “Greed is good” – sets the tone for the personal price some people will pay to achieve financial success.

  • Other People’s Money (R) – Corporate raider tries to execute a hostile take-over of a small company while trying to win the heart of the owner’s daughter. It begs the question of balance between love and money.

  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (R) – Personal excess masquerades as corporate values in this documentary with behind-the-scenes look at what brought the company down.

  • Startup.com (R) – Hard work and determination are challenged as formulas for success when friendship and external market influences get in the way.

  • Working Girl (R) – An ambitious secretary proves that opportunity, perseverance and creativity provide the right ingredients for corporate success.

  • The Pursuit of Happyness (PG-13) – Based on a true rags-to-riches story, a down-on-his-luck salesman is determined to work hard and survive adversity so he can provide a better life for himself and his son.

  • Boiler Room (R) – Young college dropout finds financial success and ethical turmoil in selling uninformed investors phony stocks.

  • Norma Rae (PG) – An uneducated textile worker recognizes that success depends on what she can create for herself, which includes rallying her co-workers against the unfair treatment of labor.

  • Barbarians at the Gate (R) –High-level corporate maneuvering demonstrates the differences between leveraged buyout and hostile corporate takeover.

Letter in parenthesis are Motion Picture of America (MPAA) movie ratings.

  • NR = Not Rated
  • G – General Audiences: Suitable for all ages
  • PG – Parental Guidance Suggested: Some material may not be suitable for children
  • PG-13 – Some material may be inappropriate for children under age 13
  • R – Restricted: Under age 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
  • NC-17 – Adult: No one age 17 or younger is admitted

More detailed ratings information can be found at the MPAA Web site.

Special thanks to Angela Arregui, Preti Chadha, Penny Elmquist, Jeanne Greenwald, Susan Pepperdine, Jennifer Pumphrey and Kristin Raven for their contributions to this list.