3 Memorable Accountants in Film

Accountants are universally recognized as being relatively boring number crunchers, sitting behind desks and obsessing with tax returns and endless forms. In films, however, accountants often rise to the status of heroes, using their skills and abilities to save others or, in some cases, themselves. Here are three famous movie accountants that deserve a bit of recognition.

Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption”

Based on the Steven King novel of the same (similar) name, “The Shawshank Redemption” follows Andy Dufresne, a skilled accountant wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his wife at the tough-as-nails prison known as Shawshank. There he befriends Red, a convicted murderer who helps Andy adjust to his new life. Unbeknownst to them all, especially the cruel, devoutly religious warden Andy has a scheme to get him out of prison that utilizes his accounting abilities.

Throughout his tenure at Shawshank, Andy assisted the warden in laundering money received through kickbacks using the alias Randall Stevens. After Andy escapes, he uses this fabricated identity to withdraw the money that was laundered from a bank and disappears to begin a new life as a free man.

Never let anyone say being an accountant doesn’t have practical implications.

Itzhak Stern in “Schindler’s List”

Portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the Academy Award-winning film directed by Steven Spielberg, Itzhak Stern was Oskar Schindler’s Jewish accountant during World War II. In the film - and in real life - Stern handled all of the accounting for Schindler’s factories, which were used as a cover to save the lives of as many Jews as possible.

One of the ways Stern helped in saving the lives of the Jews was convincing Schindler to use Jewish workers as opposed to Polish ones, as they were cheaper and their intended salary went straight to the SS. He would forge documents to make otherwise unskilled Jews appear to have specific skills that were needed at Schindler’s factories. Ben Kingsley gives one of his finest performances in this film, showcasing the deeds of an incredible man who used his skills as an accountant to save hundreds of lives.


Louis Tully in “Ghostbusters”

The most lovable and awkward of nerds, Louis Tully, neighbor to Dana Barrett and unwitting host body to Vinz Clortho the Keymaster, is the Ghostbuster’s certified public accountant and, by the time the sequel arises, lawyer. He’s incredibly socially awkward, often launching into conversations about accounting at taxes during parties, but by the time the second film rolls around, he’s more confident, especially around women, as he enters into what appears to be a casual fling with Janine, the Ghostbuster’s receptionist.

The role of Louis Tully was originally offered to John Candy, but he passed on it, resulting in Rick Moranis getting the part. Methinks this was a very good decision.

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM