One of the movies opening in theaters this weekend is Lottery Ticket, about a young man who finds out the ticket he bought is a huge winner. I love seeing what characters in movies do when faced with a sudden acquisition of wealth, whether it's from the lottery, an inheritance or ill-gotten riches. Few seem to enbark on a life of philanthropy -- it's always a good excuse to show off the vulgarity of the nouveau riche. The Beverly Hillbillies is the classic comic example of how funny it is to give millions of dollars to just plain folks, but Hollywood movies have a number of amusing instant rich people as well. Many characters do show their best selves when given a lot of money, too.

Here are seven fine examples of how movie characters have dealt with becoming millionaires, or at least a lot wealthier than they originally were. I thought I'd include more gold digging dames from the 1930s, but usually their "wealth" is someone else's credit line, not money of their own to spend. However, my very favorite example is at the end of How to Marry a Millionaire but I don't want to spoil it, so you'll have to find it for yourself. These are rather less spoiler-y examples.
categories Cinematical