Accountants at the movies

2nd October, 2017

Accountants aren’t often seen as the hero of the story (but they totally should be), but believe it or not, they’ve made their mark on Hollywood.

What’s the first thing you think of when the word ‘accountant’ comes to your mind?

Action? Excitement? Romantic lead? Maybe not, but there’s no denying that there have been plenty of awesome accountants in the movies over the years.

Here are five of our favourites.

Oscar Wallace in The Untouchables (1987)

If there’s one perfect real-life example of accountancy saving the day, it’s got to be the bringing down of brutal Chicago bootlegger and mobster, Al Capone.

During the Prohibition era, the FBI had tried for many years to bring Capone to justice with no luck, until they partnered with the United States Treasury Department. And what did they finally bust him for? Tax evasion!

Brian De Palma’s famous film might veer away from the facts, but it does feature an accountant named Oscar Wallace who comes up with the tax evasion angle.

Wallace is based on the superhero accountant, Frank J. Wilson, who led the investigation that finally brought down Capone.

The Crimson Permanent Assurance in Monty Python and the Meaning of Life (1983)

When the Monty Python crew gave Terry Gilliam permission to make a six-minute animated film about pirate accountants to appear in the middle of the Meaning of Life, he came back with a 17 minute live-action epic that swallowed up a good portion of the movie’s whole budget.

Their accountant must have been horrified!

But lucky he did, because this incredible film about a group of accounting employees who hijack their building, turn it into a ship and “sail the wide accountan-sea” is an incredible piece of film history.

Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Anybody else feel like they’ve seen this film way too many times? That aside, there’s no denying how much people love this epic tale of accountant-turned-convict, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins).

When Andy is wrongly convicted to two life sentences for a brutal crime, he finds an unlikely way of keeping himself safe – doing people’s books.

Of course, anybody who’s seen the film knows he’s also secretly using that big brain for another purpose. But, you’ll just have to watch and find out!

William Blake in Dead Man (1995)

When east-coast accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp) arrives in the western frontier town of Machine, he expects he’ll be taking up a position managing the finances of a local factory.

But a series of escalating pieces of bad luck soon turns the meek and mild accountant into a hardcore gunslinger.

One of Depp’s better performances, and one of Jim Jarmusch’s finest directorial efforts.

Allen Gamble in The Other Guys (2010)

What happens when you team up a hard-edged but useless cop (Mark Wahlberg) with a fumbling forensic accountant ironically named Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell)? Comedy gold as it turns out.

These two incompetent law enforcement officers soon find themselves falling face-first into a dangerous investigation, having to take on their friendly neighborhood billionaire.

How do they save the day? Gamble’s accounting skills, of course.