The most ruthless, unscrupulous businessmen in film history

  • The most ruthless, scrupulous businessmen in film history

With the release of The Founder, starring Michael Keaton as ruthless McDonald's businessman Ray Kroc, we're taking a look at the most cutthroat, underhanded businessmen ever to appear on the big screen.

With no morals and even less regard for the law, these businessmen will sell their own grandmother for more money...

Ray Kroc - The Founder

The true story of a milkshake machine salesman from Illinois, who, back in the '50s, discovered Mac and Dick McDonald's California burger restaurant and its unique 'Speedee System' of burger making, which made it extremely popular among hungry diners.

With the McDonalds' small-scale dreams hampering Kroc's plans; he manoeuvred himself into a position to pull the company from the brothers with assorted underhand ways to deprive them of royalties and undermine their ownership.

Kroc successfully ousted the brothers, and secured the rights to the McDonald's company, turning the restaurant franchise into the global icon we know today.

Watch the trailer

Patrick Bateman - American Psycho

The ruthless investment banker personified the yuppie culture of the '80s, with an intense obsession with designer clothes, restaurant bookings, personal grooming and one-upping his colleagues, even having a near-breakdown at his co-worker's barely-noticeably superior business card.

Full of insecurity and self-hatred, Bateman is driven to insanity, as he kills people to stop feeling inadequate and also climb the ladder at his firm, although they may just be hallucinations.

Peter Weyland - Prometheus

In a surprise twist in Prometheus, we are introduced to the 101-year-old billionaire owner and CEO of Weyland Corp., who has been secretly smuggled aboard the ship in a bid to find a way of extending his life.

Despite meeting his demise in the film, it is through his actions that the first alien is created, and after his death, the company (which buys out the Yutani Corporation) continues the foolish efforts to capture an alien, resulting in many avoidable deaths throughout the Alien series.

Gordon Gekko - Wall Street

The prototype Patrick Bateman, Michael Douglas plays the big-time Wall Street player who will make money by any means.

Milking aspiring stockbroker Bud Fox of insider trading information, Gekko lives by his mantra: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good" and rakes in a vast fortune through illegal means.

Eventually, Fox, overcome with guilt for his activities, dupes Gekko into confessing his crimes, resulting in a long and overdue prison sentence for the trader.

Harry Wormwood - Matilda

While Matilda's Dad may not be a global megalomaniac, he is as underhanded and unscrupulous as any other on this list.

The used car dealer buys stolen parts and winds back the cars' speedometers so that the clapped-out motors appear to be much newer and more reliable than they actually are.

Before the FBI catch up with the Wormwood family, they flee to Guam, so Harry doesn't even get to suffer the consequences of his underhanded actions.

Mark Zuckerberg - The Social Network

The Harvard student who turned into a billionaire virtually overnight, Mark Zuckerberg was invited to work on the Winklevoss twin's social network, only to take the concept and use it for his own business called Facebook.

Dazzled by Napster founder Sean Parker's vision for Facebook, Zuckerberg ruthlessly takes other peoples' ideas and money to make himself and Facebook into a success, before dumping them by the wayside.

Zuckerberg's partner Eduardo Saverin has his share of Facebook diluted from 34% to 0.03%, and both Saverin and the Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg for the money they feel they deserve, as a callous Zuckerberg reluctantly pays the settlement.

Elliot Carver - Tomorrow Never Dies

While most of the Bond baddies are megalomaniac businessmen, Tomorrow Never Dies' Elliot Carver (very loosely based on Rupert Murdoch) was perhaps the most typical unscrupulous businessman.

Instead of reporting the news, Carver decides that, in order to get the first scoops and boost sales and ratings, he would make the news by making the Chinese believe they were under attack from the British, and therefore incite a global war, of which he would be bringing exclusive breaking news.

Of course, Bond dispatches the psychopathic media mogul with one of his trademark quips.

Jordan Belfort - The Wolf of Wall Street

Based on the memoir of the real Wall Street trader, Martin Scorsese's epic tells the story of the rise and eventual fall of the legendary trader who manipulated the stock market to his benefit.

Using his brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont, Belfort encourages his employees to engage in the illicit 'pump and dump' scam which earns him and his colleagues millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.

In a bid to hide his money from the circling FBI and SEC, Belforte smuggles his illegal money into a Swiss bank account, but ultimately gets arrested for fraud after his colleagues inform on him.

The Founder is released on 17th February

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