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The Your Money Advice Oscars - six money lessons from the movies

Every year, the Oscars celebrate film by recognising the best actors, movies, directors and more besides. So we decided to join in the spirit of awards season by handing out our very own money advice themed movie prizes. 

The award for thinking long and hard before moving goes to…

Money Pit

It is perhaps best not to watch this if you are moving home any time soon. Tom Hanks and Shelley Long star as a couple who think they’ve found a property bargain. But they soon encounter staircase collapses, crashing bathtubs and delinquent racoons in this ‘what can go wrong, does go wrong’ comedy caper. 

Money message: moving house can be stressful. Make sure you’re across the key financial points (sorry, we can't help with racoon-related issues!).

The award for showing the perils of spending recklessly goes to…

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Isla Fisher stars, as the title implies, as shopaholic Rebecca Bloomwood. To try to beat her addiction she freezes her credit card in a bowl of water. It doesn’t get much better as her life spins out of control due to an inability to say ‘no’ to buying stuff. 

Money message: it pays to know the pros and cons of credit cards.

The award for revealing how the stock market can be a risky business goes to…

Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo Di Caprio stars as Jordan Belfort in this memoir of a corrupt stockbroker’s lavish lifestyle, and his subsequent downfall. Another film which deserves an honorary mention is Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Here Michael Douglas plays Gordon Gekko, a broker who uttered the immortal phrase: ‘lunch is for wimps’. In all fairness, he was probably wrong about that.

Money message: investments go down as well as up – check out our guide.

The award for bizarre ways to help people budget better goes to…

Brewster’s Millions

In this 1980s hit, legendary comic Richard Pryor plays minor league baseball player Montgomery Brewster. His life changes when a mysterious uncle leaves him a vast fortune - but to inherit the full amount, he has to spend $30m in 30 days. The logic, apparently, is to teach him about squandering cash! Various conditions are attached to the challenge and Montgomery soon finds the task more difficult than he thought – especially when his ‘wacky’ investments return unexpectedly huge yields. 

Money message: Bizarre will challenges may not be the best way to help people manage money. Try our budget planner instead.

The award for highlighting you should talk through money worries in a relationship goes to…

Indecent Proposal

The premise of the film is simple: Robert Redford plays a billionaire who offers Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson a pretty unusual deal. He wants a night with Woody’s wife for $1 million. With Harrelson and Moore having just gambled away all their money, the film serves up a fairly horrific moral dilemma. Well, it did for certain people anyway!

Money message: if your relationship hits difficulties, make sure you think about the financial implications

The award for proving shiny new things aren't always a good idea goes to…

Moneyball

Can sport teach us anything at all about money? Moneyball is the fascinating true story of how a young college upstart (Jonah Hill) joins the staff of a hard up baseball team. He proves that computers are far better at finding new – and cheaper - players than a grizzled team of veteran scouts. Brad Pitt plays the somewhat obsessed coach who takes his underdog team close to glory using a stats system which saves them fortunes to boot. 

Money message: Budgeting on a low income isn’t easy but there are things you can do to prevent yourself from getting into too much debt

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  • Chris / 9 March 2015

    Or what about Buster Edwards The Great Train Robbery - staring Phil Collins...Love that film. Its a good lesson actually as a lot of the robbers ended up with lengthy sentences for their part in one of the most infamous crimes of its time.

  • Chris / 9 March 2015

    Love this article, great stuff Money Advice Service. If you need cash fast then perhaps Ocean's Eleven is a good movie contender, although I'm not sure its one that Money Advice would want to endorse :-)

  • Alistair / 23 February 2015

    Honourable runners-up presumably include 'The Colour of Money' and 'Jerry "Show me the money" Maguire’.

  • Summa Mann / 20 February 2015

    Love it!