9. Wall Street
Year Released: 1987
Available on Amazon Prime
“Wall Street” is the prototype of all finance movies. No list of finance movies would be complete without it. The movie introduces the archetype of greed in the character Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Directed by Oliver Stone as a tribute to his stockbroker father, the character of Gekko is said to be a composite of a lineup of rogues, including Ivan Boesky, Carl Icahn, Asher Edelman and Michael Milken. A critical mass of people working in finance today admit the movie influenced them to become traders. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a junior stockbroker who is determined to work with the legendary Gekko. Under Gekko’s dubious tutelage, Fox becomes more and more compromised. When Gekko’s criminality becomes too much, Fox devises a plan to stop his mentor. Here the financial machinations become complex, but it’s a tribute to the storytelling that it all makes sense because the motive behind everything is so consistent: greed.
Academy Award for Best Actor (Douglas).
► “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
► “Money never sleeps, pal.”
► “You've got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I've still got a lot to teach you.”
► “If you need a friend, get a dog.”
► “Money's only something you need in case you don’t die tomorrow.”
► “This is your wake-up call, pal. Go to work.”
► “I'm tapped out. American Express' got a hit man lookin' for me.”
► Greed may be legal, but it corrodes character.
► High-pressure tactics damage both salespeople and customers.
► Instant gratification is no long-term solution.
► Heed the time value of money.
► In every transaction, there are winners and losers.