10 times developers became notorious Hollywood villains

10 must-watch movies featuring RE related plot lines

New York Weekend Edition /
Dec.December 31, 2017 01:09 PM

Are you a George Bailey or Henry F. Potter? (Credit: Insomnia Cured Here/Flickr, left; National Telefilm Associates, right)

The immoral, corrupt developer was the go-to villain for a spell in Hollywood with one of the most celebrated — and seasonally appropriate — examples being the ying and yang of George Bailey and Henry F. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Though the trend of the developer-as-a-bad-guy seems to have tapered off after the 1980s according to City Lab, saving a threatened piece of land from big business remains a universal story of struggle, regardless of where your allegiances truly lie.

In time for the final days of this holiday season, here’s a list of some of the most celebrated movies where real estate drives the plot line (usually for the worst) as compiled by City Lab:

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
A classic with a good developer (now a rarity) pitted against a slum lord.

2. Scooby-Doo (1969 to 1986)
That gang of kids who continually outfox a ghostly real estate speculator just in the nick of time.

3. Herbie Rides Again (1974)

(Sicnag/Wikimedia Commons)


The beloved car with personality helps an elderly lady stop a developer from building a mall.

4. Superman (1978)

(Gareth Simpson/Flickr)


An unscrupulous developer plans to up his property value by sinking California so he suddenly has coastal property. Superman, obviously, intervenes.

5. Poltergeist (1982)
Another good vs. bad developer case: the good guy faces off with spirits after moving into a home built on a former cemetery.

6. The Goonies (1985)

(Toni Castillo Quero/Flickr)


A treasure hunt sparked by a greedy developer threatening a pair of brothers’ home.

7. Beetlejuice (1988)

(Erwin Soo/Wikimedia Commons)


A real-life developer moves into a new house with his family without knowing a ghost couple also call it home; comedy and conflict ensue as the ghostly couple tries to chase out the humans.

8. Medicine Man (1992)
The development of a road throws the cure for cancer into jeopardy. Set in the Amazon jungle.

9. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Office politics get intense in this one: real estate agents compete head-to-head after their head office announces they’ll be firing all but two members of the sales team.

10. The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

(ABC Television/eBay)


In this architect vs. developer movie, the Bradys’ gaggle of a dozen kids try to help their architect dad win money to stop a bad developer from taking their house.

[City Lab] — Erin Hudson


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Howard Hughes buys 37K acres to build “city of the future”
Howard Hughes buys 37K acres to build “city of the future”
Howard Hughes buys 37K acres to build “city of the future”
Radson Development co-founder Jacob Rad and the site of the development (Google Maps, LinkedIn via Rad)
Pair of mixed-use towers to rise at site of Hell’s Kitchen slaughterhouse
Pair of mixed-use towers to rise at site of Hell’s Kitchen slaughterhouse
Kushner CEO Laurent Morali (center) with Nicole Kushner Meyer and Jared Kushner (Kushner, Getty, Morali via Sasha Maslov)
Kushner Companies names Laurent Morali CEO
Kushner Companies names Laurent Morali CEO
Developers make big resi bet on Mott Haven
Developers make big resi bet on Mott Haven
Developers make big resi bet on Mott Haven
Prologis Chairman and CEO Hamid Moghadam (Getty, Prologis)
Industrial space “effectively sold out” amid leasing frenzy, Prologis says
Industrial space “effectively sold out” amid leasing frenzy, Prologis says
Resurrection! Work resumes on stalled Clinton Hill residential project
Resurrection! Work resumes on stalled Clinton Hill residential project
Resurrection! Work resumes on stalled Clinton Hill residential project
State Sen. Jabari Brisport and a rendering of 840 Atlantic Avenue (Getty, IMC Architecture, iStock)
How a senator’s vampire politics hurt real estate — and NYC
How a senator’s vampire politics hurt real estate — and NYC
Tavros' Dov Barnett and a rendering of the current proposal at 44-54 Ninth Avenue and 351-355 West 14th Street (Tavros, Renderings via BKSK)
City orders Meatpacking office developer to dismantle, rebuild slouching façades
City orders Meatpacking office developer to dismantle, rebuild slouching façades
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...