Movie List: PASSING IT ON – Stories about Generational Wealth
DALLAS (1978–1991) and DALLAS (2012–2014) The granddaddy of generational sagas tells the story of evil oil baron J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), who manipulates his family and blackmails his rivals in his quest to achieve and preserve power and wealth. The three seasons of the show filmed in the early 2010s reprise the story of the Ewing dynasty and its next generation.
GAME OF THRONES (2011–2019) One of the most popular fantasy shows of the last decade is about many things, but especially the fight for power and the lengths to which people will go to gain it or to preserve it. Different royal families try, mostly unsuccessfully, to preserve their wealth and dynastic continuity, even if their children are corrupt or unsuited to ruling. A new show, written as a prequel to the original, is premiering this year.
Dallas Trailer Season 1
Game of Thrones | Season 8 | Official Trailer (HBO)
DOWNTON ABBEY (2010–2015) This is the show that inspired a revived interest in period dramas, stories about the English aristocracy, and sagas of the super-rich. A perfect cast (Dame Maggie Smith delivering priceless quips in every episode and Hugh Bonneville being every inch a stuffy lord), historic English mansions, meticulously researched details of the genteel lifestyle—all make this a guilty pleasure to watch. The show also tackles the consequences of entail—an English law designed to preserve grand estates intact by imposing strict rules of wealth inheritance between generations. The show spawned two movies that bring the saga to the mid-1920s—an era when preserving family wealth meant that the English gentry had to fully embrace commerce over any social stigma.
YELLOWSTONE (2018–) This much-awarded TV show, now in its fifth season, was Solari’s choice for Movie of the Year in 2019. It depicts the saga of a rancher family (Kevin Costner plays the patriarch of the clan) whose large holdings in one of the most celebrated areas of the American West are both a blessing and a curse. The family has to fight off murderous neighbors as well as greedy government, political rivals, land developers, and others who are looking at the family’s Montana land with envy.
Masterpiece | Downton Abbey: Season 5 Trailer | PBS
Yellowstone Season 4 Official Trailer | Paramount Network
SUCCESSION (2018–) Currently one of the most popular TV shows, Succession is the drama of a transition between a media mogul (a role played by Brian Cranston, evoking bios of real moguls Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone) and his totally messed-up offspring. They all are motivated by greed, hunger for power, and fear, which lead them to commit atrocious sins of disloyalty, cruelty, stupidity, and viciousness—all in the name of a smooth generational transition and preservation of the family empire.
THE GILDED AGE (2021-) Written and produced by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, this is a show that takes a look at America toward the end of the 19th century. The setting is New York in the 1880s—a place and time when newly minted barons of industry and heiresses followed rules of social inclusion and exclusion to increase the accumulation and preservation of their newly created wealth. Characters from all walks of life vie for money, prestige, social advancement, and ways to pass their achievements on to the next generation.
Succession (2021) | Season 3 Official Trailer | HBO
The Gilded Age | Official Trailer | HBO
WHAT A WAY TO GO! (1964) Shirley MacLaine stars in this classic comedy about a four-time widow who became wealthier each time her husband died in an attempt to become even richer. Convinced these inheritances are a curse, the widow is trying to donate all the money to the IRS. She is sent to a psychiatrist for her troubles. Needless to say, it’s a comedy.
THE GODFATHER (1972) The original movie and its sequels have now been embedded in popular culture for half a century. The saga of Vito Corleone and his three sons is a story of a dynasty and the transition of wealth and power to a younger generation. The fact that the dynasty is a crime organization and that the transfer is executed with guns only makes the story more dramatic, but at its core, it remains the story of a father who discovers that his youngest son is his most qualified successor.
What a Way to Go! Trailer 2
The Godfather (1972) - Trailer
BARRY LYNDON (1975) This period drama by Stanley Kubrick is almost forgotten now but was awarded four Oscars, including Best Picture. An 18th-century rogue of low birth manages to cross the social barriers when he seduces a widow of an aristocrat. The movie is based on a novel by William Thackeray, the Victorian satirist of English society and its transformations.
RAIN MAN (1988) One of the best movies of the 20th century, the movie paired the established star Dustin Hoffman with rising heartthrob Tom Cruise in a tearjerker story of inheritance that brought together two estranged brothers. Hoffman’s character is the titular “Rain Man,” an autistic savant whose brilliance with numbers astounds his brother, who learns to appreciate his sibling and look beyond the hustle scheme he had originally planned. The movie was awarded four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Hoffman. It also contributed to the public’s recognition of autism as a complex condition afflicting many people in many ways.
Barry Lyndon - Trailer
Rain Man Official Trailer #1 - Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman Movie (1988) HD
HOWARDS END (1992) Set in Edwardian England, this story of three families from different social classes (nobility, bourgeoisie, and working class) revolves around a denied inheritance and the consequences of deceits committed in the name of preserving money, a good name, or family unity. Good intentions prove yet again to be the fodder for hellish outcomes.
GREEDY (1994) Kirk Douglas stars as millionaire Uncle Joe who is surrounded by grasping relatives—a niece and three nephews—who hope to inherit his fortune. Michael J. Fox, at the height of his “cute young man” phase, portrays Danny, a distant relative who is struggling financially but who has a heart of gold. Predictably, old Uncle Joe is quite crafty in discerning that Danny is the only good guy in that family. Full of slapstick gags, the comedy is nonetheless right on the money as far as greedy relatives are concerned.
Howards End (1992) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
Greedy Official Trailer #1 - Kirk Douglas Movie (1994) HD
THE ULTIMATE GIFT (2006) Jason, a spoiled trust fund baby, expects to inherit millions from his grandfather whom he did not like or appreciate. He is surprised to learn that the 12 “gifts” named in the will are a series of tasks designed to teach him lessons on work, friends, giving, gratitude, and more. An encounter with a child who suffers from leukemia turns Jason into a different person—a goal that his grandfather had in mind when he devised the inheritance conditions.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) A ruthless oil prospector and an obsessed preacher get entangled in a destructive fight for an oil-producing property in 1900s California. Sudden access to wealth and power bends both men.
The Ultimate Gift - Official Movie Trailer
There Will Be Blood (2007) Official Trailer - Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano Movie HD
THE DESCENDANTS (2011) A Hawaiian landowner tries to repair his relationship with his daughters after his wife ends up in a coma. The enormous size of the land that he is managing as a trustee complicates the family decisions that he must make.
JOY (2015) A true and uplifting story of a woman inventor who builds her company despite a lack of funds, a family that is more of a burden than support, and the struggle to be taken seriously by business partners.
THE DESCENDANTS - Official HD Trailer
JOY | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX
THE HANDMAIDEN (2016) A woman hired as a servant of an heiress is actually part of a plot to defraud her mistress. The fortune hunter who hired the servant fails in his plot when the handmaiden and heiress set up their own double-crossing. An elegant, plot-within-a-plot structure and an exotic setting in 1930s Asia make this inheritance thriller stand out.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS (2018) A perfectly entertaining comedy about the problems of the super-rich. When Connie, an ordinary New York teacher visits her fiancé’s family in Singapore, she discovers that not only is he heir to an immense fortune but also that at this level of super-rich, her good looks and education are insufficient to win his mother’s acceptance. The mother is much more concerned about the transfer of wealth and family obligations than her son’s happiness—an issue that has defined life in affluent families since time immemorial. But this story is funnier and more colorful than most such tales.
The Handmaiden - Official Trailer
CRAZY RICH ASIANS | Official Trailer | 2018 [HD]
THE LAUNDROMAT (2019) Meryl Streep plays one of the characters in this collection of tales about tax havens. Her character Ellen is an American widow who is trying to collect insurance that was purchased to protect her family from a disaster, but which now leads her to exotic islands that serve as tax shelters.
KNIVES OUT (2019) There is nothing that can bring out the worst in a family than a fight for an inheritance. A large group of descendants who have been kept in style by the success of novelist Harlan Thrombey suddenly discover him murdered in the family mansion. It falls to debonair detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig in his post-Bond career) to untangle the web of deceit that is spun by this very dysfunctional family, whose every member is trying to grab a piece of the wealth.
The Laundromat | Official Trailer | Netflix
Knives Out (2019) New Trailer – Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
BORN RICH (2003) Directed by Jamie Johnson—an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune—this “talking heads” documentary provides an insider’s view on the lifestyles of inheritors.
DIVORCE CORP (2014) The financial side of divorce and custody battles is examined in this documentary. Family wealth gets dispersed and subjected to battles once the family falls apart. This documentary is scarier than any horror film might be.
Divorce Corp Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Documentary Movie HD
GENERATION WEALTH (2018) Photographer and documentalist Lauren Greenfield studies obsession with wealth with the acute eye of an anthropologist. She shows the types, the rituals, the customs, and the costumes of rich families as if making a documentary about exotic tribes. Which is what they are, in a way, compared to the rest of the population.
PLANET OF THE HUMANS (2019) No passing along of wealth can take place if there is no planet for the next generation. The documentary examines the mistakes and failures of the environmental movement. Controlling consumption might be a solution but is one that will not be chosen—it’s bad for profits.
Generation Wealth - Official Trailer | Amazon Studios
Planet of the Humans - Teaser Trailer
TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY (2013) As anybody who has used any online service or company website knows, clicking on “I agree” is what allows us to obtain a service or purchase something. What most people ignore, though, is the fact that clicking an agreement exposes them to sharing their personal data, mostly financial, with countless data aggregators, government bodies, and companies who resell and reuse this info. The documentary examines the process of losing privacy through the use of the Internet.
Terms and Conditions May Apply Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Documentary Movie HD