Published On: Mon, Apr 19th, 2021

Top 5 Documentaries About The 2008 Subprime Mortgage Debacle

More than a decade later people still don't know what exactly happened.

Ben Bernake and Paul O’Nneill in Panic The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis 2018 (Movie Snapshot)

In 2008 the world entered into a recession after the subprime mortgage market crashed. At the time people did not understand what the underlying causes of the crash and economic crisis were. Today experts still debate what exactly went wrong.

Some people blame the failure of governments to properly regulate the financial markets. Others blame the greed on Wall Street which led to confusing investment devices such as Collateralized Debt Obligations and the packaging of mortgages into huge piles which were then sliced up into different levels. Others put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the borrowers who bought homes which they could not afford.

If you are as confused about what really happened in 2008 and what exactly a subprime mortgage was anyway, then you should probably watch all of the following movies. They give important information about what happened and include interview with the people who were at the center of the crisis as well as archive footage.

Here is the Jewish Business News list of the top 5 documentaries to see about the 2008 subprime mortgage debacle.

Inside Job 2010
Directed by Charles Ferguson, “Inside Job” tells the story about the late-2000s financial crisis. Ferguson,] says the film is about “the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption.”

The movie is divided into five parts and explores how changes in the policy environment and banking practices helped create the financial crisis. It deals with what caused the bubble in the first place, the bubble itself, the crash, the aftermath and who should b held accountable for it.

Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis 2018
This documentary aired on the HBO news show “Vice.” It looks at factors that led to the 2008 financial crisis and the efforts made by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Timothy Geithner, and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke to save the United States from an economic collapse. The feature-length documentary explores the challenges these men faced, as well as the consequences of their decisions.

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are also interviewed.


The Queen of Versailles 2012
This movie tells the true story of Jackie Siegel and David Siegel, owners of Westgate Resorts, a timeshare company. The “Queen” is Jackie, who tried to build her own version of Versailles during the height of the subprime mortgage bubble.

Versailles House Wikipedia

Jackie is 30 years younger than 85 year old David whom she married in 2000. David made his fortune with Westgate which he founded in florid in 1982. The couple began construction on a new mega mansion just outside of Orlando, but did not complete the home because of the 2008 subprime crash. The film shows how they had to deal with their sudden drop in income and wealth.

David Siegel tried to sue the filmmakers saying that they had not acquired the proper legal releases from the people interviewed. But arbiters dismissed his claims. The mansion is currently under construction again.


American Casino 2009
From married couple Leslie and Andrew Cockburn, this movie deals with the after effects of the 2008 crash. Specifically, how it affected working class Americans.

The New Yorker called it “a terrific documentary chronicling the subprime-mortgage mess and the financial collapse.”

“The Cockburns have finally made a movie about a nuclear disaster that actually happened—their subject is the social ecology of financial meltdown. They filmed interviews with bankers, business commentators, and homeowners battling foreclosure, but they go much further than talking heads. They pull together sorrowful footage of stable neighborhoods—both prosperous and working-class—slipping into dereliction, with junk-laden yards, boarded-up doorways, squatters taking control of abandoned houses and charging rent to the homeless.


The Warning 2009
This one comes from the PBS series “Frontline.” It tells the true story of Brooksley Born who tried to warn people of the impending crisis. She opposed the legislation which removed regulatory safeguards over Wall Street which allowed the subprime crisis to happen. She resigned as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after Congress prohibited the FTC from regulating derivatives.

In 2009, Born received the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award in recognition of the “political courage she demonstrated in sounding early warnings about conditions that contributed to the current global financial crisis”.


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