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Movie for high school economics?

I've been leading an economics discussion course for high school students. We've mostly watched short videos on various topics, and it has gone reasonably well. For the last meeting, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we're thinking to have a full length movie.

Do you have any suggestions?

Note: The Matrix has been pretty much ruled out due to language, though I did show the red pill/blue pill scene and discussed how we are born into a deceptive life which feeds our senses and uses our lives as batteries. Beyond that, I'm not sure there is much to be gained, from an economic perspective, anyway.

What would be great is to have something entertaining with a fairly significant (and reasonable) economic theme.

My other obvious choice, Ghandi, was ruled out due to the length of the film. Something like that, except shorter, would be great.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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tasmlab's picture

Schindler's List

Might be too long and too distracting toward sentimentality, but the whole premise of saving the imprisoned jews through fascistic connections of a business man might be interesting.

Have them read Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" and Schindler's List can be the 'ta da' of what happens when a National Socialist government insists that the financial sector is vital to the economy, devolves through hyperinflation, over-militarizes, and then murders everybody they can get their hands on.

Yay, economics!

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

tasmlab's picture

The Smartest Guys in the Room

It's a great documentary on the Enron debacle. While it is corporate criminal misconduct, it is rife with regulators, limited space monopolies being handed crony-style, and all sorts of nasty collusion between industry and government to juice a phony stock price amidst a stock market bubble.

I'd watch it in advance and get your talking points ready, though. The 'villains' might be mistaken for laissez faire to someone with a immature view of markets/economics.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

tasmlab's picture

Disney's Robin Hood (the cartoon)

Besides being delightful, there are some great themes about whether Robin Hood is stealing from the rich to feed the poor (a bit socialistic) or whether he is stealing back taxes from the government to give to the taxpayers (more libertarian).

The later is the case of course as taxes are the obsession of King John through the movie.

The downside is that the final resolution comes from the return of 'good government' in the form of King Richard. But then you also have talking foxes and bears to contend with as well.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

"The Light Bulb Conspiracy: The Untold Story of

Planned Obsolescence." Very interesting, not too heavy, and a real eye-opener as to what drives the "consumer society" and its need for never-ending growth.
I think the students would real enjoy it, and learn a lot in the process.


Linda Cross's picture

How an Economy Grows and Why it Doesn't( by Irwin Schiff )


If you see something, say something, the government is listening.
Silence isn't golden, it's yellow.

Our economy is in High School? After 250 yrs, no matriculation?

Japan Set To Replace China As Number One U.S. Creditor“Japanese demand for Treasuries is rising along with its holdings of foreign exchange, as international investors seeking safety amid the global economic slowdown snap up yen…The ruling Democratic Party of Japan indicated last month that it may support the central bank’s purchases of foreign bonds to weaken the yen and counter deflation.”

Our economy is still in High School? After 250 yrs, no matriculation

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

No.7's picture

Milton Friedman - Free to Choose

There are ten 1 hour segments that cover different topics. Here is a youtube playlist of all ten http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0364ACCE6C7E9D8E.

My high school economics teacher introduced me to libertarian ideas with these videos and Stossell in the classroom. Which you can see here http://www.youtube.com/user/StosselClassroom

The individual who refuses to defend his rights when called by his Government, deserves to be a slave, and must be punished as an enemy of his country and friend to her foe. - Andrew Jackson




A magic trick for those that still believe there is an economy.

RepublicanMother & Her Economics Class, Middle School

Dear RepublicanMother,


  • Black cap & wand
  • Stable table w/ white linen tablecloth.
  • China place setting for one. Silverware & glass.
  • Student assists to hold in place whatever you don't wish to break.
  • Painter's tarp to cover floor.
  • $1 Federal Reserve notes.
    • Extra credit: A US Dollar note (a pawn shop will loan you one).

Explain how our National Debt is sold to the Federal Reserve... with the paper-money we just gifted to them. Who in turn sell it as US Treasury bonds to any that will buy them. These days, foreigners included. 2/3 of our cash is used in foreign countries along side of their own currency. Japan, then China have bought near a trillion each of Dollars that represent our National Debt in the form of Treasury Bonds.

Mention that our cash... the green stuff, is a promissory note. A bank note authorized & witnessed as a debt to be paid to the Federal Reserve Bank. Show Rosie Rios, US Treasurer as US Government Agent & Timmy G, US Secretary of Treasury as the witness sign below "Federal Reserve Note" & the nice portrait of a historic figure. Pass out a few $1 notes. Each note represents our National debt. A cash register receipt, if you can imagine.

Script: Class, I wish to give you a live demonstration of economics. May I please have a volunteer to hold things in place just in case.

The best laid plans of economics & men... In 2007, the whole world stood in shock as seemingly, the whole world economy shrank out of sight. What happened & where it went is to this day... still a mystery.

All right? And now.... [With magical drama & assistance, remove the painter's tarp which was covering the table setting.] I will show you. [Pull linen tablecloth representing the economy from underneath dinner place setting. Hide table cloth. Stare at someone showing disbelief.] The economy is gone... I don't know who did it... Nor where they hide the whole world economy... Nor will it be returned... But as I look back [Look over your shoulder.] The China is still there.

I don't know who did it. I don't know if they will bring it back..

Regards to you & your class,

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

Cyril's picture



"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Here is a perfect video for a HS economics class...

The American Dream by The Provocateur Network - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPWH5TlbloU

Haha, beat me to it.

Haha, beat me to it.

Everyone that I've ever known to watch it really enjoys it...

Great show. I haven't seen anything else from The Provocateur Network. I may have to look into that.


but we already watched that near the beginning of the semester. It was a hit, but I'm looking for something that is perhaps a little less direct.


I'm glad that there are some teachers out there like you that are actually providing America's youth with useful information.

I would suggest "The Great Dictator" with Charlie Chaplin (full movie on youtube) but it is 2hrs long and not directly about economics.

Cyril's picture

Check out my relevant laissez-faire link

You may want to click on the second link which ends with "/Economics" in my signature.


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

End of the Road: How Money Became Worthless

Here is the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPuTCBlgf-4

I'm a high school student (10th grade) and I thought it was great.

It's more of a documentary than a movie, though, so I'm not sure if you would want to show it.


“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien

This might be the ticket....

End of the semester, er, I mean road. Seems to fit in. I'll have to watch it.

Many thanks.

The Incredible Bread Machine

This would be my suggestion, it's an oldie but extremely good.

Here's the description:

Released in 1975 by World Research, Inc. Includes an introduction by then-Secretary of the Treasury, William E. Simon, and interviews with professors Walter Heller (University of Minnesota) and Milton Friedman (University of Chicago). Moderated by Dr. Richard Rogge (Wabash College). The film also features a cameo appearance by Murray N. Rothbard. Written by Karl Keating, Susan Love Brown, Patrea Post and Stuart Smith, based on Richard Grant's provocative poem.

The film starts a 5:10 if you want to skip the introduction (55 mins long including intro) .



will watch.

"Money as Debt"

47 minutes long, so easy to understand the students may begin using "adult language."

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.


This really is perfect for a high school crowd. The conclusion, where he recommends an interest-free, government issued fiat currency economy would make for a great departure for discussion. Having diagnosed the problem, does the film suggest the best solution?

If you're looking for a hollywood movie along the lines of the Matrix, there are precious few that don't idolize socialism. Maybe Quantum of Solace? It's not great for a Bond Movie, but there are parts of it that address the rampant corporatism, especially in developing countries, and the willingness of our own CIA to cooperate with oppressive regimes around the world in the interests of American business.

This is a great one too.

This is a great one too.

There is no better movie than this

for high school students.

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    Farmer, this is it, there is none better

    Entertaining with a significant economic theme? This is it, if there is any better I would love to see it.


    The youtube is playing for me with the video lagging 1.5 seconds behind the audio. I like it, but I need to find a version with audio and video together...at least that would be better.

    Many thanks.

    The Collapse of The American Dream Explained in Animation

    I would recommend this 30min video.


    With Bikini burglar masks and fake balls?

    Might be a little raunchy for the kids. However, when I was in school, we watched Conair (Rated R) in chemistry class full of "f bombs" and all that. I really wish they had a G version of The American Dream cartoon because I would have Loved to have shown it to my middle school economics homeschool group.