Art of Accounting: Top 10 Accountant Movie Roles

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IMGCAP(1)]This week I digress from my autobiographical stories. I understand that Ben Affleck will be playing an accountant in a movie he is now filming, but until then here are my top 10 movie roles of accountants.

1. Dave – Dave’s accountant, played by Charles Grodin, helps the President, played by Kevin Kline, trim costs so the First Lady’s homeless project can be funded.

2. The Producers – Accountant Leo Bloom, played by Gene Wilder, hatches the plan for a Broadway flop.

3. Prizzi’s Honor – The cover for Kathleen Turner’s mob assassin character was as a tax expert.

4. Schindler’s List – The real-life person, Itzhak Stern, played by Ben Kingsley, who typed and maintained the list was an accountant.

5. The Untouchables – Oscar Wallace was a tax accountant, played by Charles Martin Smith, who figured out how to get Capone on tax evasion charges.

6. Mobsters – A 1991 movie with Patrick Dempsey playing Meyer Lansky, who was known as the “Accountant for the Mob.”

7. It’s a Wonderful Life – An accountant appears at the end of the movie tallying up the collections for George Bailey on an adding machine (perhaps this might be a stretch). He is George’s Cousin Eustace, played by Charles Williams.

8. The Shawshank Redemption – Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, gave estate tax advice and prepared tax returns. He also helped the warden hide his graft money and figured out how to steal it from the warden.

9. Midnight Run - Charles Grodin, playing accountant Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas, is on the lam with ledgers that would send his bosses up the river, and also with $15 million he embezzled from them.

10. Same Time, Next Year – Accountant, played by Alan Alda, has a once-a-year affair with Ellen Burstyn’s character when he travels to the West Coast to get his clients’ tax information.

There are others, but these get my kudos. Note that Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan passed the CPA exam, but I never read about him doing anything “accountant like,” so I do not feel he qualifies as playing an accountant. You can also do a web search for accountant movie roles and come up with a lot more. If you have favorites not listed here, enter them as a comment. Enjoy!

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, published by and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition,” published by the AICPA. Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or

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