The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film directed by Gabriele Muccino and based on the life of Chris Gardner. The film stars Will Smith as Gardner, an on-and-off-homeless salesman-turned stockbroker. The screenplay by Steven Conrad is based on the best-selling memoir written by Gardner with Quincy Troupe. The film was released on December 15, 2006, by Columbia Pictures. For his performance, Smith received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and a Golden Globe nomination.
In 1981, in San Francisco, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) invests his family's savings in Osteo National bone-density scanners, a portable medical imaging device more expensive, but with a higher resolution than a traditional x-ray. The investment proves to be a white elephant which financially breaks the family and as a result, his wife Linda (Thandie Newton) leaves him and their son Christopher. Chris is barely able to make ends meet through the occasional sale of one of the devices. One day, while downtown he meets a manager for Dean Witter and impresses him by solving a Rubiks Cube during a short cab ride. This new relationship earns him the chance to interview for a stockbroker internship which he is offered, but nearly turns down when the position turns out to be unpaid. Chris is dealt a further setback when his bank account is garnished by the IRS for back taxes. He is unable to make his rent and is evicted from his apartment. Homeless, he is forced at one point to stay in a bathroom at a BART station. He eventually finds the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, which offers shelter to the homeless, but due to demand for the limited room, he must leave work early every day in order to secure a place in line. Disadvantaged by his limited work hours, and knowing that maximizing his client contacts and profits is the only way to earn the one position that he and his 19 competitors are fighting for, Chris develops a number of ways to work more efficiently and reaches out to potential high value customers defying protocol. Despite his personal challenges, he never reveals his circumstances to his co-workers even going so far as to loan one of his bosses five dollars for a cab, a sum he can barely afford. At the end of his internship, Chris is called into a meeting with his managers. His struggle has paid off and he is offered the position. Fighting back tears, he gratefully accepts. He rushes to his son's daycare, hugging him. They walk down the street, joking with each other and are passed by a man in a business suit (the real Chris Gardner in a cameo). The epilogue reveals that Chris went on to form his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm.