It is not everyday that Hollywood makes a movie about a young American inspired by Russian achievements. October Sky (1999) is a movie based on the true-life story of four young boys who, inspired by the Russian launch of Sputnik, decide to develop their own rocket. The problem is that the four young boys are neither children of NASA employees nor private school students with unlimited resources, but are small-town residents with very few resources and even fewer supporters. Homer (the main character in the story) and his three friends live in a small mining town where the destiny for people is to work for the coal mines. However, Homer does not want to follow his father to the coal mines and dreams of building a rocket. Homer ultimately achieves his dream and launches a rocket, but not before his loving father becomes the biggest obstacle in his path.
I think what makes October Sky a movie worth watching is that it is based on a true-story. If the movie was fictitious, it would just be another typical Hollywood movie with a feel-good message. But this is a movie based on a real-life story about innovation and determination. It is not about entrepreneurship, but is about innovation, which some consider is the hallmark of entrepreneurs.
Guru (2007) is a movie from the Indian film industry. It describes the life and success of a young man Gurukant Desai from a little Indian village who starts a small business against everyone’s advice, succeeds against all odds, and goes on to establish India’s largest company. Like all ambitious entrepreneurs, Guru was driven and passionately believed in his dreams. (In fact, the movie begins and ends with Guru recalling his pragmatic father’s advice: “Don’t dream”). The drama in the movie comes from Guru’s interesting relationship with an idealist and committed newspaper editor who makes it his life’s mission to stop the young entrepreneur from manipulating the system. The battle between the dreamy-eyed entrepreneur and the idealist editor was inconclusive, though the stress causes Guru to have a stroke and lose the use of a hard, but does not diminish his passion.
Most international viewers may not realize that the movie Guru is based on the true story of Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries and one of the world’s richest people. Though the movie fictionalizes many aspects of Ambani’s life, it does a good job of staying true to the basic story- the rags-to-riches success, the ability to identify and exploit opportunities, building relationships, and his dream to bring Indian business to a world stage.
I recommend the movie to any audience with interest in entrepreneurship, especially with an interest in entrepreneurship outside of the U.S. (Hollywood movies are generally about US entrepreneur)