The Wolf of Wall Street: The Rise to Fame and Fortune


Zachary Bailey

Can a movie have a poor message for its audience and still be entertaining?

“I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a rich man, and I choose rich every single time.”

This is a tagline from The Wolf of Wall Street, which tells the true story of 1990’s New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who through the use money laundering and stock manipulation, made millions on Wall Street.

The films starts out with Jordan Belfort, a low-wage earning man from New York who is just starting out on Wall Street. After the company Belfort works for goes under, he decides to create his own business, with the help of friend, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), thus the creation of Stratton Oakmont Inc. After making millions by selling  penny stocks, where shares cost just a few cents, and the commision is 50%, and the use of blue chip stock, which is normal priced stock with a 1% commision, Belfort begins to move up in the world. But along with the rise to fame and fortune, Belfort begins to gain bad habits, such as drug addictions and money laundering.

With it’s familiar but compelling storyline, superb acting, and thought-provoking characters, the movie earns its  five Oscar nominations for best picture, best actor in a leading role (Leonardo Dicaprio), best actor in a supporting role (Jonah Hill), best directing (Martin Scorsese), and best adapted screenplay (Terence Winter), Wolf of Wall Street is definitely a movie I would recommend seeing.

Even though this movie was very well made, with amazing acting and superb directing, there was one thing that is not positive in the film, and that is the underlying message of the film. The meaning of this film, seems to be that if you’re rich enough, you can get away with anything, and you can always talk your way out of trouble, and in the end… You’ll still have more money than the person next to you.

Jordan Belfort, who in real life was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the crimes that he had committed, ended up getting out after only 22 months.  The movie is very entertaining, but doesn’t seem to criticize the main character for his behavior.

With it’s strong language, large amount of drug use, and graphic sexual content and dialogue, the movie is only recommended for people ages 17+. This movie does break the record for most “f-bombs” in a movie at 506 uses of the word, so if you find obscene language  offensive this is not the film for you.

Overall though, this movie is a reflection of the excess of money and pursuit of pleasure on  Wall Street, and if you can make your own judgment about the movie’s message, you may find it worthwhile.