Stockbrokers, accountants, millionaires - we've seen them dealing with their financial dramas on the big screen. Hollywood likes to spin a tale around love and money and sometimes makes things up as they go along to suit the story. Think you can tell the real deal from the reel deal? Here's a list of movie money myths, and the truth behind the story. (Do the characters in these classic films reflect what it's like to work on Wall Street? Find out here. Check out Financial Careers According To Hollywood.)

IN PICTURES: Celebrities With Big Dreams That Paid Off

Movie Myth No. 1: Investment Bankers Are Rich and Ruthless
OK, so maybe Bernie Madoff, although not an investment banker, sort of proves this myth - he was certainly ruthless. The reality about the average investment banker is not nearly as black-and-white as Hollywood movies like "Wall Street" or "Boiler Room" would like you to think, however. Most investment bankers are men and women who go to work, often in a cubicle, and most of the time not even on Wall Street. The truth is that life as an investment banker is pretty normal - and most of them don't smoke cigars either. (This job takes guts, hard work and a predator's instincts. Do you have what it takes? See Swim With The Sharks As A Stockbroker.)

Movie Myth No.2: Women Can't Handle Money
Hollywood often uses stereotypes to keep things simple, and women get the worst financial deal. Rich girls are always shopping, like Alicia Silverstone's character in "Clueless," or they marry for money, like Sharon Stone's character in "Casino." In "Indecent Proposal," Demi Moore's character must decide whether or not to sleep with a man for money - a million dollars, no less. The truth is that most women go to work every day to earn a living (and not in the oldest profession in the world, thank goodness) or are busy raising children - the spoiled, supported woman Hollywood likes to depict is just a stereotype.

Movie Myth No.3: Rich Guys Always Hang Out at the Golf Course
It's your typical scene: the detective is investigating Mister Fatwallet, the murder suspect and millionaire. So naturally, he goes to the golf course, because that's where all the rich people hang out, right? Actually, a full 80% of millionaires created their own wealth through hard work, meaning that they do much more than just play golf all day.

Movie Myth No.4: All You Need Is a Break
It's not easy living paycheck to paycheck like most of us do - and Hollywood knows exactly how to play on our hopes. All you need is a break, right? You just have to win the lottery or get on a TV game show, like in "Slumdog Millionaire" to get out of your financial jam. The reality is that these types of breaks are rare. The odds of winning the average lottery are approximately one in 18 million - you're about six times more likely to be struck by lightning. The boring truth is that the best way to get rich is to just save your money and work hard.

Movie Myth No.5: The Universe Will Right All Financial Wrongs
The greedy man got his money, but then loses it all by some act of fate - like in "Solitary Man." Thankfully, our greedy man has realized that money doesn't matter, and in a true Hollywood ending, it all works out anyway: he gets the job, the money and the happiness. The reality is that Bernie Madoff is in jail, but few of his victims got their money back, your neighbor is still out of a job, and your paycheck doesn't actually stretch at all. But it sure is nice to watch a happy ending, right?

IN PICTURES: 7 Millionaires By Marriage

Movie Myth No.6: It's Love or Money
Back to "Indecent Proposal," where Demi Moore's character is seduced by a million dollars (and Robert Redford, of course) - will she choose the love for her husband over the pay for infidelity? It's a crazy concept, but Hollywood loves to make its characters choose between love and money, as if those are mutually exclusive. Just look at movies like "Jerry McGuire." The reality is that millionaires are typically married - proof that love and money coexist just fine, as long as you put the cap back on the toothpaste.

The Bottom Line
How did your financial knowledge stack up against Hollywood movie myths? We all know a movie is just a work of fiction, and that reality means a job, cubicle, and commuter traffic. Still, at the end of the day, it sure is nice to sink into the couch with some popcorn, a movie and a happy ending - even if some of it is built on a Hollywood money-myth. (It's been 10 years in the making, but you can now bet on which movies will hit it big or which will flop. To find out how, read Invest In Hollywood With The Film Futures Market.)

Find out what happened in financial news this week. Read Water Cooler Finance: G20 Leader Spats And China Fakes It.

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    7 Millionaire Myths

    Here are seven millionaire myths and realities that reveal they don’t quite have it all.
  2. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Netflix Stock

    Examine the current state of Netflix Inc., and learn about three of the major fundamental risks that the company is currently facing.
  3. Retirement

    Why Some Celebs Say 'No Inheritance for My Kids'

    To some of the super rich, inherited wealth is not the ultimate gift, it's a burden. Here's how their children—as well as charities—stand to benefit.
  4. Investing

    Kevin O'Leary Biography

    Kevin O'Leary is a television personality, businessman and investor from Canada. A brash public personality with a net worth of roughly $300 million, he is considered to be the Canada’s answer ...
  5. Entrepreneurship

    7 Top-Earning Child Stars

    These seven top-earning child stars earned millions through different parts of the entertainment industry, including television, film and music.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    8 Top-Earning Country Singers

    These eight country singers have built careers singing about men and women who’ve done them wrong, and they’ve shared their heartache to the tune of millions of dollars.
  7. Investing

    Movie Vs. TV Industry: Which Is Most Profitable?

    Which entertainment sector is more profitable: movies or TV? Let’s take a look. You might be surprised by the results.
  8. Investing

    The 8 Best Business and Finance T.V. Shows

    With so many talking heads to choose from, which is the right show for your business and money matter needs? We review the best shows on now.
  9. Investing News

    How 'Honesty' Could Pay off for Jessica Alba

    Is it possible that Jessica Alba is one of the savviest businesswomen on the planet?
  10. Investing News

    Famous Celebrities Who Love Investing

    Celebrities have a bit of a bad reputation these days. These five celebrities, though, have used their fame and their money to invest successfully instead of spending it on looking good.
  1. How are Rupert Murdoch's holdings distributed?

    Rupert Murdoch owns a controlling share of News Corporation and over 750 different businesses. Some of the major brands he ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How did Rupert Murdoch become a media mogul?

    Rupert Murdoch's father was a journalist and newspaper owner in Australia. Upon his death in 1952, Rupert inherited the News ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Purchasing Power

    The value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy. Purchasing ...
  2. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  3. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  4. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  5. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  6. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!