Business Documentaries
December 1, 2007 12:43 PM   Subscribe

What are some good and/or insightful and/or illuminating business-related documentaries?

By good, I mean fairly comprehensive and not overtly biased with a pro- or anti- corporation/capitalism/etc stance.

I'm currently half-way through an MBA, and whilst I have around 20 feet of shelf space devoted to business-related books, I have perhaps no more than a couple of hours-worth of video documentaries.

Bonus points for links to downloading goodness!
posted by mooders to Work & Money (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:50 PM on December 1, 2007

If you consider the MPAA a business, you may appreciate This Film Not Yet Rated.
posted by mcbeth at 1:00 PM on December 1, 2007 is good, as is Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
posted by jbickers at 1:04 PM on December 1, 2007

The PBS series Frontline does good work. Most of their recent shows are viewable free online. Several business-related ones in there.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:18 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

direct link to the online viewing area of Frontline's site. Most of the docs there have some segment of them devoted to business considerations (eg in "News War", the third part of the series is about the changing effect of business considerations on news in various media).
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:21 PM on December 1, 2007

low budget and somewhat narrow in focus - but still illuminating - is democracy in the workplace: three worker owned businesses in action (aired on pbs in 1999)
posted by ioesf at 1:47 PM on December 1, 2007

It's a docudrama, but Barbarians at the Gate (based on the book, which is in turn based on Wall Street Journal coverage) is an entertaining look at the the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. (Plus, James Garner is great in the movie.)
posted by kirkaracha at 2:25 PM on December 1, 2007

PBS Did "Empire of the Air" about radio and television. Both the invention of the devices and the invention of the business.
posted by Gungho at 2:50 PM on December 1, 2007

"The Corporation." The link provides the whole film in sequence via YouTube links.

It's about the role of the corporation as an institution in the modern world. It's over three hours total and it has voices ranging from Milton Friedman to Michael Moore. The most interesting interview, however, are from actual business practitioners. It's one of the best documentaries on any subject.

The documentary's site is here.
posted by McLir at 2:55 PM on December 1, 2007

I agree that The Corporation is a classic. However, I don't think it could be considered unbiased. Great film at any rate.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 2:57 PM on December 1, 2007

This may be a bit "biased" (towards mom-and-pop stores) for you, but on a recent Qantas flight I saw a documentary about two young filmmakers who went across the US and only bought from small family-run businesses. It was a discussion on the impact of "big box" companies (Wal-Mart, etc) in local communities, as well as community commerce.
posted by divabat at 4:52 PM on December 1, 2007

Seconding "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room." Not only is it educational, but it has a highly compelling central narrative. You get to watch these exceptionally powerful people ruin one of world's largest corporations, completely through their own hubris. I'd think it would be essential viewing for MBAs.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:47 PM on December 2, 2007

There was a fantastic series by the BBC back in the very early 90s about the fashion business, called The Look. It wasn't a fluff piece at all and had some really interesting episodes on how magazine covers are chosen, the intricate politics of the business (e.g. turning a blind eye to fakes) and a good deal on branding. Funny that it's not mentioned anywhere on the BBC site, but it's in my pile of video tapes that I'm going to add to tvtorrents, so if you're interested I'll be putting it there in January.
posted by gatchaman at 5:13 AM on December 3, 2007

A little late to the game, but how about Barbara Kopple's American Dream and Harlan County, USA?
posted by stefnet at 10:36 PM on December 5, 2007

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