RR Films: Money

Today sees the introduction of the new 12-sided £1 coin, so let’s have a look for films about the stuff that, it is said, makes the world go round and yet also brings evil to its lovers.

Many films cover the subject of making money – and we have covered Greed before – but I’m more interested here in stories where the money itself is the issue (because, say, its sudden loss or gain changes the dynamics of a relationship). As in 1998’s A Simple Plan, where the discovery of a big bag of greenbacks leads to a whole heap of trouble.

What films about money would you recommend?

29 thoughts on “RR Films: Money

  1. Re A Simple Plan. I enjoyed the book (read before the film was made), but then read a couple of reviews when the film was released that were much less than complementary when comparing the two, so I’ve never got around to watching it.

    Brewster’s Millions is the first money-centric film that springs to my mind.

  2. Argh! So many choices here. The first thing that came into my head was a double bill kind of thing, both featuring Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson. The films are The Hustler and its belated sequel The Color Of Money.

    • OK, before Chris gives me the “shoehorn” yellow card again, I’ll state for the record that the money is secondary in this one, but as you mentioned Paul Newman and money, Carole, I thought Cool Hand Luke. The spilt coins from the meters he drunkenly decapitates, and the way in which he completely corners the cash market in jail with THAT eating bet!

      Hmmm, time for lunch. Egg mayo butty, anyone?

  3. First thought is, as ever, Hitchcock. Specifically, Psycho. Where Janet Leighton steals $40,000 from her boss. The aftermath is unpleasant.

  4. Another one that I just saw a few weeks ago. In Blow, Johnny Depp’s dad goes bankrupt, and tells him that money doesn’t mean much anyway. Depp becomes a weed, then coke dealer. Long story short, and the plot turns could be as much about greed as money I suppose, at the end he realizes his dad was right after all.

  5. The Magic Christian (1969)

    I’m not sure whether I’m recommending this exactly. It is an incredibly flawed film. Typical late 1960s satire mixed with oddball absurdity and more than a touch of self-indulgence. Based on the concept that if you offer a person enough money, you can make them do pretty much anything. The Terry Southern Script – adapted from his novel – was rewritten by John Cleese and Graham Chapman. Then, most of their improvements to the script were ditched in favour of creating cameo parts for all of Peter Sellers’ showbiz friends. Well that’s G Chapman’s version of events, anyway.

    Despite (because of?) all of the above I always find it quite fascinating watch. Particularly the final, rather disgusting, scene where bank notes are scattered into a pool full of unpleasant bodily fluids, just to see if people will wade in and retrieve them. They do of course.

    And now, here are our special guests: Roman Polanski and the very lovely…..

    • Talking of lengths people go for money: about 3 years ago a leader of the hard left Communist party (we have two major versions of the Reds) wanted to know how it felt to lie on a bed of cash and had himself photographed “fulfilling his life long ambition.” To make the whole thing more ironical is that this happened in the north eastern state of Tripura, where Marxist ideology rules, or at least used to.
      Needless to say he made the news big time.

  6. Speaking of money, I don’t think we ever did find out what the story was with the pallets of cash Obama flew to Iran.

  7. Fargo – The kidnappers fall out over the ransom cash – from hazy memory.
    Schindler’s List – money for people.

  8. Two spring to mind

    1) L’Argent – Robert Bresson’s final film which, unsurprisingly, is no barrel of laughs. The plot revolves around a series of forged banknotes that find their way into the possession of Yvon, a gasman, who uses them to pay a restaurant bill, is discovered and although he escapes jail loses his job. Desperate for money he becomes a getaway driver in a friend’s robbery, is caught and serves 3 years in prison during which time his daughter dies and wife leaves him ! When he comes out of prison he murders a couple of hotel managers, stealing their money, and moves in with a kindly woman who shows pity for him. After a short time he goes mad and kills the woman and her father with an axe then enters a police station and gives himself up !!

    2) Wages of Fear – Henri Georges Clouzot’s most famous film, about those desperate for money. A group of 4 men who have wound up in some godforsaken south American republic without money or the possibility of work are offered a chance to earn $2,000 by driving truckloads of nitroglycerin 300 miles to an oilfield where an oilrig has caught fire and needs to be closed. 2 pairs of men each drive a truck along rough roads where excess vibration could blow themselves up. One truck does explode but the other one gets through although one of the 2 drivers dies en route ! Flushed with his success the surviving driver drives back along a clifftop road and loses control plunging to his death !!

  9. Gion no Shimai (Sisters of the Gion) is really great film from the time before the Pacific War. It was made in 1937 and directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.

    It is the story of two sisters who are both Geisha living in the Gion entertainement district of Kyoto. One sister is a dedicated Geisha committed to the tradition and the other one just sees it as a job and wears western clothes when not working and manipulates men for money.

    The first sister takes in a patron who has become broke and cares for him and supports him, which the second finds to be stupid as she is spending the money she should save for her older years on a guy. The film is very dark indeed as both sisters loose in the end. The first sister looses her lover who she has cared for as he leaves her for his wife again and the second sister is thrown out from a car as revenge for he manipulations and seriously injured and the second sister looks after her. They both end in poverty with no hope.

    If you have the opportunity to see it I think you find it rewarding, maybe not entertaining but certainly interesting ! ! !

  10. Danny Boyle’s ‘Millions’ that’s all about finding, spending and feeling guilty about money – with added nuns :

  11. How about; It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
    Crazy chase comedy about a diverse bunch of folk on the hunt for some stolen cash rumoured to be buried in a National Park somewhere near Mexico, cue a rush to get there first. Ends badly to the loot hunters. Very funny if you like slapstick silliness. Great cast too.

  12. Goldfinger – One of the better Bonds

    The Italian Job – Original “you’ve blown the bloody doors off” version

    Mr Robot. Team of hackers wipe out everyone’s debt by destroying Evil Corp’s computer records.

  13. Not immediately obvious, but I love Cocktail and it is all about the pursuit of financial success, getting rich quick or ‘landing a rich chick’.

    Bryan Brown finds out that money doesn’t buy happiness and pays the ultimate price, can our hero Tom realise the error of his ways and find true happiness??!

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