ChatGPT & AI in
Procurement Course

Free Preview Lesson

Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

Negotiation Movies — The 10 Best Truly Inspiring Scenes

Key take-aways

  • Negotiating is more than just an exchange of words that aims to sway one another to get the best deals.
  • Negotiation skills are rooted in the deepest part of our history and are often portrayed in entertainment like movies and TV series.
  • Movies dedicated to negotiation provide real-world scenarios, offering practical insights into the complexities of negotiation.

Mastering negotiation can be tough and confusing. A negotiator or procurement manager always has to learn how to be calm, collected, and confident during the whole ordeal, but striving to achieve those things can be difficult. This is why you have so many mediums of training and communication on how to achieve those things. 

For this article, we are going to discuss the power of movies in mastering negotiation. We’ll talk about the top 10 movies about negotiation and why we picked them on this list.

Once you’re done reading this article, we expect you to start looking for these movies either on Netflix or Amazon Prime! 

The Top 10 Movieson Negotiation

So why movies?

It’s because movies are highly entertaining yet educational as well. You might not notice it much, but your support team here in Procurement Tactics will be more than happy to point out to you the lessons that you’ll get from such movies.

So if you’re excited, let’s get right into it. Lights, camera, action!

1. A Hijacking (2013)

The movie is all about the kidnapping and attempted release of a Danish freighter and its crew. The center of the movie is all about the negotiations between the CEO of the shipping company and the translator for the Somali pirates. It’s a suspenseful train ride as a single mistake from either party could cause serious consequences. Emotions flare up as the negotiations extend up to 120 days with either party giving up with their demands.

The Lessons Learned: It’s a prime negotiation movie where lives are at stake, so the actors during the negotiation scene are all dead set and serious in achieving their end goals. You’ll see concessions and various negotiation styles in this movie.

Featured Download: Enjoying this article? Click here to find out your own negotiation styles so that you can prepare your upcoming negotiation and gain better results.

2. Lincoln (2012)

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this movie is all about the 16th President’s negotiation prowess as he overcomes adversities while trying to get the Congressional majority to vote against slavery. He finally succeeds in the end, despite the strong opposition he faced from the plantation owners and pro-slavery politicians.

The Lessons Learned: Lincoln’s negotiation tactics change to adapt to the situation. At times, he persuades through metaphor and storytelling. There are also other situations where he appeals through logic and reason; then through pressure and incentivizing if he still can’t get what he wants using his first tactic.

3. Big Miracle (2012)

A movie that is clearly underrated, Big Miracle is about the international effort to rescue three gray whales that were trapped under the ice near a small town in Alaska. The film is based on a true story and is set in 1988 where groups that clearly had their own interests set are united by a common goal.

The Lessons Learned: When a group of diverse, disparate, and conflicting parties realizes their own common goal through the creative use of self-interest, even the most bitter of foes can become momentary allies.

4. Thirteen Days (2000)

“Thirteen Days,” tells the re-telling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This time, it’s in the viewpoint of Kenny O’Donnell, President Kennedy’s special advisor. It’s a race against time as powerful negotiations move by a few good men ultimately save the world from a near nuclear holocaust.

The Lessons Learned: The movie shows a variety of negotiation styles. From contentious to compromising to collaborative, the Kennedy brothers are actually master negotiators and are able to unlock solutions to otherwise impossible-to-negotiate problems. There is a lot of debate and discussion in this movie as seen in the clip below.

5. The Founder (2017)

The Founder is an amazing movie that depicts the rise of Ray Kroc’s rise to power. For those who have no idea who he is, Ray Kroc is just the businessman who transformed a small drive-in restaurant in Saint Bernardino, California into one of the biggest fast-food franchises in the world. A story about business relationships, capitalism, and avarice, the Founder is a must-see for any negotiation master.

The Lesson Learned: The movie is all about how Ray Kroc managed to negotiate his way to actually ousting the original owners of McDonald’s. All throughout the film, we will see actual evidence of how poor communication ultimately eroded the trust that is supposedly seen between two partners. Or in this movie, between Kroc and the McDonald brothers.

6. The Godfather

Francis Ford Copolla’s masterpiece, The Godfather is another movie that all negotiation masters must watch. Each character is presented wonderfully and the negotiation scenes are also set in a powerful way. This movie is all about how the most powerful of men are not exactly the ones with actual money and physical strength, but those who think ahead and negotiate like a boss.

The Lesson Learned: From start to finish, the movie is all about negotiations. From Don Vito Corleone’s offer-that-can’t-be-refused to famed Hollywood director and studio head Jack Woltz up until Michael Corleone’s distributive negotiation style with Moe Green on buying him out of Vegas, the Godfather is all about hardball negotiation.

7. Tommy Boy

This is a comedy film, so why is it here? Well, you’d be surprised to know that this movie actually has fun bits of negotiation tactics. It’s hilarious, it’s stupid, but it’s good fun. So if you’re itching for a good laugh while still learning about the wonderful world of negotiation, then watch Tommy Boy.

The Lesson Learned: The film is all about the heart during negotiation. It’s a good example of showing concessions and having confidence and humanity while talking about a deal. Just look at this clip of Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) explaining to the waitress why he is a loser salesman. He does this in order to get his chicken wings, which he actually does. Because in negotiation, “…there’s book smarts and street smarts”.

8. Dog Day Afternoon

 A crime drama starring Al Pacino, it’s another movie where it highlights the importance of being cool and collected during an intense negotiation. Again, another awesome movie where Pacino delivered a great performance as an actor and as a petty criminal who is trying his best to weasel out of confrontations through negotiation.

The Lessons Learned: During the bank robbery scene, Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) is completely surrounded by the police. At first, Sonny is the one holding the negotiations because the other party, led by a sweating and emotional police officer is too intense to handle the situation. 

However, things turn around when an actual ice-cold negotiator, an FBI officer, informs Sonny that “…there will be no more new favors”. This is the kind of negotiation that Sonny is most aware of, so he finally starts to negotiate.

9. The Negotiator

Probably one of the best action movies and a movie that’s about negotiations at the same time, The Negotiator is the kind of movie that you want to see if you want to pit two master negotiators having at each other. Both Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey make convincing master negotiators, which is why this movie is on the list.

The Lessons Learned: One of the most memorable lines in this movie is probably the one where Samuel L. Jackson is taunting the negotiator on the other line with his “Never Say No” line. Just listen to it and watch how the other party reacts.

10. Captain Phillips

Another negotiation movie where lives are at stake, “Captain Phillips” is based on the true-to-life accounts of Richard Phillips, captain of a merchant ship that was held hostage by Somali pirates. Portrayed by Tom Hanks, it’s another movie where emotions should always be in check or else, you won’t get anywhere.

The Lessons Learned: Watch the clip below and witness how intense emotions will ruin any chances of creating a good atmosphere for negotiation. However, it is always where a skillful negotiator shines the most when he/she is able to calm down everyone before the negotiation can begin or continue.

The Powerof Videos and Movies

From the written form of communication, you have books, magazines, brochures, and pamphlets. While those are very easy to come by, reading too much information can cause a person to lose interest in a topic as big as negotiation. This is why for today, we are going to talk about movies about negotiation.

In mastering negotiation, videos and movies are actually a big help because they are always informative and entertaining at the same time.

One of the biggest challenges in mastering negotiation is always about focus and interest. This is why variety is very important when it comes to learning materials. This is one of our principles when we at Procurement Tactics created the Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals, which is why most of our students have mastered the art of negotiation in mere months!

In any case, social media nowadays are filled with viral videos that do nothing but attract millions of viewers and followers. And even the subject of negotiation has caught up with the viral video effect. One can view millions of tutorial videos on negotiation on Youtube or Vimeo. 

Procurement Expert’s Insights and Recommended Negotiation Movies

For this article, we asked an experienced procurement expert to share her insights and recommended movies that can help you in negotiation.

Hilce Vallenilla
Procurement Manager, Sanofi

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/hilce-vallenilla

1. What negotiation movies do you recommend for procurement professionals to watch?

I think most of the movies have a part dedicated to negotiation, you only have to observe closely to identify the different techniques that the characters are playing.

2. What negotiation movies do you recommend for procurement professionals to watch?

  • Erin Brockovich 
  • Pursuing the happiness

3. Can you give us examples of negotiation movies that made you become a negotiation expert or contributed to your career to become a negotiation expert?

  • The negotiator

Featured Download: Enjoying this article? Click here to find out your own negotiation styles so that you can prepare your upcoming negotiation and gain better results.

In Conclusion

To master negotiation, one needs a combination of educational and entertaining resources. Traditional written materials are valuable but might not hold one’s interest in this complex subject. Negotiation movies are an answer to this challenge as they bring theoretical concepts to life through visual storytelling, making it more engaging.

The impact of negotiation tutorial videos on platforms like YouTube further democratizes access to this knowledge, making it accessible to millions and engaging to learn.

In a world full of information, negotiation movies are a dynamic and effective tool that strikes the right balance between educational depth and entertainment to captivate learners in the pursuit of mastering negotiation skills.

Frequentlyasked questions

What is a negotiation movie?

A negotiation movie is a movie that highlights negotiation scenes as important scenes.

What are the best negotiation movies?

The best negotiation movies are those where the plot is centered around an important negotiation.

What are the big five in negotiation?

In Psychology, the “Big Five” personality traits that play a big part in negotiation are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.

Learn more about Mastering Negotiation!

Join our Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals course today and learn everything about how to become a professional negotiator. It’s as simple as watching a movie!

Talk to us at www.procurementtactics.com for more information!

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics