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Young and ambitious stockbroker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) hits the big
time when he ends up going under the wing of ruthless, but highly
successful stockbroker Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Gekko takes Fox
under his wing and helps Fox to become a wealthy and successful
stockbroker, but do wealth and power ultimately come at a price?
The first 15 minutes or so of this film are explosive and extremely fast-paced and Oliver Stone certainly helps to give us an insight into stockbroking and the world of commodity sales etc. On the one hand this is interesting and sets the stage well for things to come, but on the other hand (to someone like me who knows nothing about the world of stockbroking), the rapid fire dialogue and early segments of the film make it difficult to ascertain what's actually going on? Does any of this have any relevance to the story or is Stone merely showing off? I'll let you be the judge of that.
Another problem with the rapid fire script is that it doesn't really allow the characters much room to breathe (both Gekko and Fox always felt a bit one-dimensional to me and the script never seemed to allow much room for development). As a result of these things I found Wall Street to be well-made but also quite an alienating experience. If this had been presented in a less 'showy' manner then this could have proved to have been an interesting character study, but as mentioned before the flashy script never manifests itself in this manner and it ultimately leaves Wall Street feeling a bit superficial at times.
The performances between Douglas and Sheen are both excellent and do make the film a little bit stronger; Douglas at this point in his career almost felt born for this role. The father/son dynamic was OK, but again probably would have been stronger if it had been given a bit more focus. I also thought that the ending was good and from a 'moral' perspective I felt that it was probably the best way to wrap it up.
Wall Street is by no means a terrible film and does offer some interesting commentary by the time the credits roll around, but Stone's presentation in the main is a little too flashy and at times the film comes across as being a bit pretentious. It's an easy film to admire, but it's a little too cold and clinical to be enjoyed from an emotional perspective.
Oliver Stone has always been a director willing to tackle social and
political subjects within his films. Whether it's the evils of war,
corporate evil, political conspiracy or the influence of mass media, he
takes on all of these subjects with intelligence. His first film after
the success of 'Platoon' was to look into the shadiness and corruption
within stockbroking. It is the story of rookie stockbroker Bud Fox who
comes under the wing of Gordon Gekko, an affluent corporate raider
whose determination is unparalleled. From this premise the film builds
as Bud becomes more involved in Gekko's suspicious business plans
whilst getting to experience both the highs and the lows of such
What is most impressive (and positive from an entertainment aspect) is how you don't have to know much about trading or the stock market to enjoy the film. I myself know very little on the matter, yet the film manages to make some rather complicated issues understandable and the dialogue is very snappy throughout which makes it easy to swallow. The dialogue manages to do something very notable, which is make almost everything said sound equally naturalistic and quotable. What the characters say carries enough authenticity to make it sound like something they would actually say, whilst retaining a flair that allows it to be memorable. Gekko's famous ''Greed is good'' speech is a perfect example of this. Bud's conversations with his father and witty interactions with his workmate Marvin provide a nice contrast to the corporate elements.
Michael Douglas won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Gekko and it's easy to see why. The character has become synonymous with the business world and the corruption of the stock market. Douglas himself strikes the perfect balance between hammy and intense. The character is very slimy and cunning but he's also magnetic and interesting, and Douglas captures all of these sides without diluting the part. Charlie Sheen also deserves some praise for his solid performance as Bud. It's not an easy role to play given he isn't as brash as Gekko and has play around the characters naivety, yet Sheen leads the film fine and his rigid acting style fitting the role surprisingly well. I think Sheen could have had an interesting career had he stuck with more serious roles.
The film is quintessentially 80's and I mean that in the nicest possible way. The fashion, the technology, the cars, the décor, it's all stylised to large degree. The surprising thing is that the film doesn't suffer from feeling dated. I think that this story is so strongly linked to the time period that it manages to suit the stylisation perfectly. Adding to this is Stone's exceptional direction and some very slick editing. Stone's films always have a fluidity and energy to them, which can make even the slowest moments engaging. He also has a good gage how long a scene should go on for and when it is time to move on, none of the scenes here outstay their welcome. The editing also stands out, as with many of Stone's later films everything moves along at a swift pace without coming at the price of any story or character development.
I think all the characters are well developed and have clear motivations. The supporting roles are especially important. The always interesting James Spader, Stone's regular John C. McGinley and the great Terence Stamp are all excellent actors and add credibility to their small roles. Martin Sheen as Bud's honest working-class father playing off against his real life son creates an interesting contrast and actually gives the relationship added realism. The only blemish is the wooden Daryl Hannah whose vacant performance is lost here as Bud's girlfriend. Elsewhere, Stewart Copeland provides a very complimentary score. Filled with a lot of ambiance and clattering yet subtle rhythms, it gives the film an edge and works well with many of the visuals.
Wall Street is a very memorable film and one that always come to mind when you thing of either the stock market or excess within film. It has retained its power after all these years. I think this is in large part down to the success of its director and cast. Stone proved that once and for all that he was a director of great understanding with this film, whilst the performance of Michael Douglas has pretty much become synonymous with 80's greed and corruption. It isn't a completely flawless film, but it is one that understands its own story and importantly the message it's trying to get across. Throughout the film we ask, will Bud turn out like his greedy mentor or his honest father? It is this dilemma that keeps us gripped and guessing.
"Wall Street" was made in 1987, by writer and director Oliver Stone and
starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Darryl Hannah,
and John C. McGinley. A young stockbroker after months of persistence
finally bags the big fish, Gordon Gekko, a man whose presence and
lifestyle he idolizes. He shuns his blue collar background in pursuit
of greed and impatiently engages in illegal insider trading. The 80's
was characterized by hotshot young executives looking for the quick and
easy buck, and Oliver Stone portrayed that very well here. Gordon Gekko
is the benchmark corporate villain, someone who one see's the world
only in shades of green. The acting in this movie is first rate,
especially from Michael Douglas. The long lines of dialogue, the
speeches, and the emotional undertones are a challenge for any actor,
and all involved here did an excellent job. I often watch "Wall Street"
just for the acting.
Probably an undervalued asset to this film is one of my favorites, John C. McGinley whom you'll remember as one of the Bob's from Office Space and his role of Dr. Cox on Scrubs. Always there to heckle and mock his good friend and has some of the best one-liners in the movie. Actually three of the main five lines people quote from this movie can all be attributed to this character he developed. The dealing room-scenes are some of the most exhilarating scenes in the history of cinematography. Spielberg sucked in audiences with his scenes of Normandy's beaches in '44. Stone creates the same spellbinding grip on the audience without getting anybody shot or brutally maimed. That alone is a great achievement for any director in Hollywood. Honestly, everything about this movie seems to work perfectly, in closing, I would like to praise Wall Street for being such a great film. An absolute masterpiece of 80's filmmaking and one of the best films ever made.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Definitely one of Oliver Stone's better films, this indictment of
corporate raiders and unscrupulous stock brokers hasn't lost any of its
impact since the same type of activities are still in practice, and the
gap between rich and poor in the United States has never been higher.
But nowadays, since Wall Street has learned to finance the Democrat
Party and pay lip service in the press to liberal causes, we hear a lot
less about "wall street greed" in the national media. Now many of them
are just as hypocritical as they are greedy. But Stone's film is all
about the Wall Street of its day. In other words, we get lots of
suspenders, big gray cell phones, women with big hair, and shots of
people smoking in public. Throw in a scene with a cheesy robot, and you
have a an 80s film on your hands. Seriously, what was is with lame
robots in 80s films? Rocky IV, R.O.T.O.R., Revenge of the Nerds, Short
Circuit.... digressing here.
The plot deals with a fresh-faced, but oily-haired Charlie Sheen working as a hustling young stock broker. He doesn't seem to be doing that well at it, he is mired in debt, and his working-class hero father doesn't respect his line of work. He spends every free minute trying to get into business with Michael Douglas, who is one of the most feared and respected traders in the business. Finally a box of Cuban cigars hand delivered on his birthday is enough to get Sheen into the door. Desperate to get on Douglas's good side, Sheen leaks some insider info about the airline his father works for. It ends up making Douglas some $$, and starts Sheen on his way quickly up the financial ladder. But as you'd expect, Sheen wants it all too fast, and he ends up not only using illegal insider trading practices, but he also ends up as a pawn in Douglas's plan to take over the the airline. You don't have to know all that much about the business to follow the story, but it helps to pay attention. There is a lot of dialogue, and most of it is important.
The casting is exceptional. Charlie and Martin Sheen make a great father-son pairing. Probably better than they do in real life. Martin Sheen gets to do plenty of sermonizing about the value of hard work and whatnot, and you have to think he loved the chance to play this character. Michael Douglas gives probably his most memorable performance as the evil Gordon Gekko. "Greed is good..." etc... He is almost good enough to convince you his character isn't even that bad of a guy. Douglas actually rises about the character in a sense. Hal Holbrook is on hand as a veteran broker who tries to talk Sheen out of chasing the quick buck. He is always appreciated in any film. Wall Street strikes out, however, with its two main female characters. Darryl Hannah is lost as Sheen's tacked-on love interest. Its a thankless role she isn't even talented enough to handle. Honestly, why was she wearing a wet-suit in her scene on the beach. Wouldn't some kind of swimsuit have been more logical or hot? And Sean Young as Douglas's wife?? Always a train wreck, she was apparently such a problem on the set that her role was drastically reduced. Overall, a very good film though. 8 of 10 stars.
First of all, I enjoyed MIchael Douglas's performance. He is a natural heel and his Gordon Gekko is superb. He has been created to be the most formidable of bad guys with no regard for anyone but himself. It sound like a certain race for the Republican nominee for President that is going on right now (2016). Beyond this, I found the rest of the cast stiff and uninteresting. The Sheens, for instance, are tired clichés in this. Not only that, they deliver their lines as if they had the script in hand at the first reading. I tired of the pontificating of most of the characters. Bring in Hal Holbrook to say pithy things about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket, wasting his talent. Then there is the usual endless noise of the broker's offices. Finally, the whole thing is so unbelievable. And what's with Darryl Hannah? She is singled out for her great performance. I found her to be absolutely uninteresting. I always thought she looked particularly spooky. It's not the worst movie ever made and it does have that "greed" speech, but even that seemed a bit contrived.
First of all this movie isn't just about money, this movie is about
human nature in your more basic form, with love, ambition and greed.
Show us human as we really are, for good and for bad. But more than it,
shows society how the system works.
Although the main theme is about Wall Street the movie has a excellent story, the main business man in this movie is Gordon Geeko, which represent a experiment and wealthy man, and his pupil, Bud Fox, a young and hunger for money business man. Greed is the main ingredient for this film, but not just, in the list is Wall Street and all the society, is sad, but is true.
Finally this movies shows two big things: lacks in the meritocracy when someone break the moral and how all the capitalism works. The main lesson is cash is just one of the capitals in this system. Greed is the main capital of all.
I strong recommend this movies, not just by his amazing final directors cut, but for his lessons about our society and ourself.
A young and impatient stockbroker (Charlie Sheen) is willing to do
anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside
information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who
takes the youth under his wing.
Looking back on this film over twenty years down the road, it can be looked at one of two ways: either as an indictment of the 1980s and its consumerism. We learn, of course, that "greed is good", which may sum up the Reagan years. Or we can see it not so specifically and see that this is Wall Street, whether the 1980s or 1990s or beyond. Indeed, a sequel was made, and while I have not seen it, I suspect this is very much what we would see: the same bad behavior still going.
That being said, this film ages really well. Just as it was an instant classic in its day, it is every bit the classic now (2015).
"Greed is Good"- that's Gordon Gekko's philosophy. I was very excited and interested in watching this film and was very pleased to find it on Netflix. Michael Douglas got an Oscar for Best Actor for this film and I thought Oliver Stone's Platoon was pretty great, so I had high expectations. Those expectations were half-met. I was really hoping that this film would show how money cannot make you happy (a view that I think is all too commonplace today). I really don't think that was what this film was going for, it treated Gekko as a player of a game who wanted money only to beat his opponents (everyone else) to it rather than as an end in itself. In a sense I think that is part of the essence of greed- to want to have MORE money than others rather than just lots of money in the wider sense. Additionally I enjoyed a scene where Charlie Sheen kept asking Michael Douglas "How much money will be enough?", I found this scene challenging in that it made me consider what is money FOR and what do I need/ want from it. But while this film works in the fact that it brilliantly and (as far as I can tell) accurately portrays greed, Stone seems to forget the fact this is meant to be a story. And this is where the film falls flat. I'm genuinely shocked that a man such as Charlie Sheen managed to bag the job of playing the main character in both Wall Street and Platoon. The problem is that (as far as I have seen), the man can't act. I never really felt any sympathy with his character and there were several face-palm moments when the film should have been emotional or dramatic but in the end, I didn't care. For example there is a moment when Charlie Sheen's character says "I love you, Dad" to his father (played by the far more capable Martin Sheen) but the scene stinks of falsehood even though it's near the climax of the film and is essential to the plot. To put it bluntly I never believed for one moment that Charlie Sheen's character existed- it was just Charlie Sheen reading lines. So this film works in that it creates the character of Gordon Gekko who is of course played chillingly and competently by Michael Douglas and on one level explores greed quite fantastically- possibly better than any other film I have seen and yet fails to be dramatic, convincing or moving thanks to Charlie Sheen. 6/10
Maybe watching this back in the day would have made a greater
impression, I think Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas is a great
performance, and the green Bud Fox by Charlie Sheen fits in very
I don't get the Wall Street world and never will I guess, but I can see the glamor and money and esteem by the peers if you do it well. That is what this is all about, making money and thereby making a name for yourself. In such a competitive world, wouldn't all try to cheat just a little if they had the knowledge to it...
This is a good film, has a lot of content I can't understand, but the basics is alright, if Greed is Good, well if you don't get caught up in it or caught by doing something illegal to achieve it, yes then it might be worth it.
You can't bring up "Wall Street" without mentioning Michael Douglas.
The man owns this movie. His "greed is good" speech is iconic because
it's so alluring. You've got this despicable corporate raider yapping
about survival of the fittest, but oozing charisma throughout. And he
takes Charlie Sheen to school in every one of their scenes. He is a
thrill to watch. The whole movie has that same level of appeal, which
makes for some staggering replay value. Sure, subtlety isn't the
movie's strong suit, but then again, you pretty much know that early
on. This is a story that's easy to get sucked into. Even the dialogue
is seductive (trading jargon comes at you pretty fast, but still
manages to make sense - which says a lot, seeing as I don't have a head
for finance or stocks).
For me, this movie is purely a time capsule; the phones, the look, the feel. It just seems to transport you to a certain 1987 that feels manufactured, but also somehow authentic. There's the sense that this is the world you'd inhabit if you'd just traveled in Gordon Gekko's circles. And it's got its finger on the pulse of the decade's excess, so it feels totally real. In short, this is a pure, uncut '80s movie. And I love everything about it. Copeland's unconventional score, the brilliant casting of Martin Sheen as Charlie's dad (Martin elevates almost every movie he's in) and the easy watchability of the whole thing.
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