Life Lessons from Movies

The Great Dictator

In Comedy, Movies on December 1, 2014 at 9:20 PM

The Great Dictator (1940) is a comedy written and directed by Charlie Chaplin about a humble Jewish barber who is mistaken for Adenoid Hynkel (Charlie Chaplin), the cruel, anti-Semitic, and inept dictator of a small country.

Life Lesson:

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Nelson Mandela

Movie Scene:

Barber: “We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there’s room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful. […] You the people have the power – the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. […] Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance.”

Warren Buffett

In Documentary, Movies on June 27, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Warren Buffett: Bloomberg Game Changers (2013) is a documentary from Bloomberg Television about Warren Buffet, a billionaire investor who became the world’s wealthiest person by buying stocks from companies, and later companies, that were: easy to understand, well managed, competitive, enduring and profitable businesses, such as See’s CandiesGEIKO insurance, and Fruit of the Loom clothing – all of which became subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, his investment company.

Life Lesson:

One path to obtaining wealth is investing long term in the stock market, which has an S&P 500’s historical average return of 10% per year: Buy stocks when the market goes down/stock prices drop, keep those stocks for multiple years/decades, and “know what you buy, and buy what you know.” — Motley Fool

Movie Scene:

Buffett: “Many people take their cues as to what to do from what the market itself is doing, but [Benjamin] Graham would tell you that the market is there to serve you, not to inform you. And basically he was saying the market will be wrong… sometimes the market is very, very wrong and if you look at the prices of stocks as buying pieces of businesses, you will be able to recognize when the market is very wrong.”

Narrator: “He was picking stocks that others were ignoring, and his stocks kept going up.”

Roger Lowenstein: “He’s devouring every annual report, and they stayed devoured. He remembers them and he’s got these balance sheets in his mind, so that if a stock gets cheap, you know, three years later, he remembers what the fundamentals of the company are. This is a ‘buy now’.”

Alice Schroeder: “Warren has always quoted Gus Levy, who said, ‘be greedy when others are fearful; be fearful when others are greedy’.”

March of the Penguins

In Documentary, Movies on May 8, 2014 at 7:20 PM

March of the Penguins (2005) is a documentary co-written and directed by Luc Jacquet about the annual back and forth 70-mile walk Emperor penguins take in order to find a mate and raise a baby chick in the harsh climate of Antarctica, where the average temperature is 58 degrees below 0.

Life Lesson:

Life is a beautiful struggle: splendor and sadness co-exist for us all.

Movie Scene:

Narrator (Morgan Freeman): “With the wind’s return, the temperature drops. This year, winter’s going out with a bang. This is the first storm for the new chicks, and many of them will not survive it. When the winds stop, the search for lost chicks begins. Some have kept warm by huddling together. Others have not been so lucky. The loss is unbearable. Every year, some bereft mother will respond to her agony in an unimaginable way. Having lost her own chick, she will attempt to steal another’s. But the group will not allow it. Back in it’s mother’s care, the chick is not eager to leave again. Despite having known each other only a few days, the bond between mother and child is surprisingly strong. In the next few weeks, it will only grow stronger. Winter’s grip slowly weakens, and the chicks begin to run free. Some need a little encouragement, but eventually, they all find their way.”


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