The movie exposes corporate greed in its purest form. It shows how much power the financial elite have and how wealth corrupts.
Michael Douglass portrays a powerful Wall Street player who isn’t afraid to step on people’s backs as long as it makes him money. His blatant disregard for the well-being of his employees and stakeholders is a perfect picture of what Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry at. Michael Douglas’ portrayal of the greedy Mr. Gekko was so compelling, it landed him the Academy Award for Best Actor that year.
Charlie Sheen portrays a stock broker rising to the top of his game.
Gekko takes Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) under his wing and educates him in the ways of insider trading and greed. Bud is so desperate to get to the top that he forgets the value of the relationship he has with his father (Played by real-life father Martin Sheen,) and gives up any integrity he has left.
The movie, directed by Oliver Stone, begs the question: How far are we willing to go for money? It also depicts the subjugation of the lower class to better meet the desires of rich company executives.
Bud Fox is a struggling stock broker with something to prove. He wants to show his dad he can make it on his own.
Bud realizes Gekko is his ticket to the top, and does everything in his power to get a meeting with him. He finally gets a meeting with Gekko and provides him with numerous stock options that he rejects. Desperate to get his business, Bud gives Gekko some insider information on his dad’s company, Bluestar Airlines. Gekko considers the option and later calls Bud to tell him he’s in.
What Bud doesn’t realize is that Gekko wants to keep a short leash on him. He teaches Bud how to get inside information and use that to gain the upper hand in the corporate world. Soon enough, Bud is rolling in the cash and has more than he ever dreamed. He begins living the high life and embraces his new found fortune.
The turning point comes when Bud tells Gekko he could earn serious profit by buying the company his father works at. Bud’s father is a union representative and is against the purchase when he realizes what kind of man Gekko is. This leads to a serious fight and Bud becomes estranged from his father.
Later, Bud realizes Gekko plans to dissolve the company, leaving all the workers at Bluestar Airlines unemployed. Bud decides to go with his conscience and fight for the workers’ rights.
The movie ends with Bud finding redemption in exposing Gekko for the monster that he is, but it comes at a cost. Bud must now pay for his insider trading crimes in jail.
Why it’s awesome
The movie, made more than 20 years ago, is still relevant to what’s happening today. There is still the idea that the rich have all the power and abuse it. Michael Douglas’ most iconic line from the film is “Greed is good.” It’s what drives him to take such cutthroat measures to secure his money. Greed is a powerful theme here.
Wall Street teaches us that there are things more important than money in this world, family being one of them. “Money is just something you need in case the world doesn’t end tomorrow,” Bud’s father says. What a fantastic message.
Bud’s journey from the bottom, to the top, and back down again is compelling and it draws the audience in. The actors and actresses all do a phenomenal job portraying their respective roles. Wall Street is worth a watch, but be warned! You may just find yourself at the real Wall Street protesting on behalf of the working man’s rights. There will be nobody to stop you!
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