Movies have glamorized many occupations over the years. The films of Humphrey Bogart let viewers live vicariously as street-smart private eyes. James Bond made audience members imagine themselves as debonair, globe-hopping spies with exotic seductresses in every port of call. And Clint Eastwood’s westerns made people visualize themselves as the frontier’s messengers of bloody vengeance.
What these films failed to do was accurately convey a picture of their main characters’ day-to-day finances. Was James Bond paid enough to afford all that Beluga caviar, or did he have to expense it? Did Sam Spade earn enough to cover what he spent every day on cigarettes? How many people did “The Man with No Name” have to kill to collect enough bounty to buy his poncho? The movies never answered these questions.
CNBC.com looked at several contemporary films and considered how their main characters made their living. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and job search sites such as Indeed.com, we determined what the characters’ actual salaries would be in real life, and then tried to determine if they could really afford to live in that apartment, drive that car, or eat at that restaurant.
Which movies had main characters that lived within their onscreen means, and which depicted unrealistic fantasies? Click ahead and find out.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 28 October 2011