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HISTORY

“Gordon Gekko” is listed as the #24 Villain on AFI’s 2003 list 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains, and Wall Street is ranked #57 on AFI’s 2005 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list, for Gordon Gekko’s line, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” According to a 31 Dec 1987 NYT article, the speech in which Gekko recites the line is partly based on a real-life speech by inside trader Ivan Boesky.
       A 15 Dec 1987 LAHExam item noted the following inaccuracy in the film: stockbroker “Marvin” jokes that Gordon Gekko sold his National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stock fifteen minutes after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded; however, while the story is set in 1985, the explosion did not occur until 1986.
       The film concludes with the following dedication to writer-director Oliver Stone’s father: “Dedicated to Louis Stone, Stockbroker, 1910-1985.”
       In the 5 Oct 2008 LAT, screenwriter Stanley Weiser recalled that he and writer-director Oliver Stone were collaborating on a project about 1950s television quiz show scandals when Stone, who grew up in New York City with a stockbroker father, suggested they make a movie about Wall Street, instead. Stone initially wanted to model the story after Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. However, after reviewing the “Cliffs Notes” version of the novel, Weiser determined it would not be a good foundation for their screenplay. The two spent three weeks visiting Wall Street firms and interviewing investors. According to a 30 Aug 1987 NYT article, Wall Street consultants included “corporate raiders” Carl Icahn, Asher Edelman, and T. Boone Pickens; confessed insider trader David ... More Less

“Gordon Gekko” is listed as the #24 Villain on AFI’s 2003 list 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains, and Wall Street is ranked #57 on AFI’s 2005 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list, for Gordon Gekko’s line, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” According to a 31 Dec 1987 NYT article, the speech in which Gekko recites the line is partly based on a real-life speech by inside trader Ivan Boesky.
       A 15 Dec 1987 LAHExam item noted the following inaccuracy in the film: stockbroker “Marvin” jokes that Gordon Gekko sold his National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stock fifteen minutes after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded; however, while the story is set in 1985, the explosion did not occur until 1986.
       The film concludes with the following dedication to writer-director Oliver Stone’s father: “Dedicated to Louis Stone, Stockbroker, 1910-1985.”
       In the 5 Oct 2008 LAT, screenwriter Stanley Weiser recalled that he and writer-director Oliver Stone were collaborating on a project about 1950s television quiz show scandals when Stone, who grew up in New York City with a stockbroker father, suggested they make a movie about Wall Street, instead. Stone initially wanted to model the story after Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. However, after reviewing the “Cliffs Notes” version of the novel, Weiser determined it would not be a good foundation for their screenplay. The two spent three weeks visiting Wall Street firms and interviewing investors. According to a 30 Aug 1987 NYT article, Wall Street consultants included “corporate raiders” Carl Icahn, Asher Edelman, and T. Boone Pickens; confessed insider trader David S. Brown; investment bankers John H. Gutfreund, Alan C. Greenberg and Michael Milken; proxy solicitor Don Carter; Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor Gary Lynch; and federal prosecutor Charles Carberry. Weiser stated that Gordon Gekko was based on Ivan Boesky, Carl Icahn and Asher Edelman, and given character traits inspired by Michael Ovitz, and Oliver Stone, himself. As noted by Weiser, Stone came up with the name Gordon Gekko.
       According to a 2 Feb 1987 DV item, Hemdale Film Corporation, which had financed Stone’s two previous films, Platoon and Salvador (1986, see entries), passed on the project before Stone brought it to producer Edward R. Pressman. Twentieth Century Fox’s involvement was confirmed in the 10 Mar 1987 DV. According to an item in the 14 Dec 1987 HR, the film cost over $15 million to produce.
       Chief technical advisor Ken Lipper, a former partner at Salomon Brothers investment bank, was offered a percentage of the film’s profits in lieu of a salary. At Stone's request, Lipper created a six-week course to expose actor Charlie Sheen to “a cross section of young Wall Street denizens.” Stone also assigned Lipper to write a novelization of the film, which, according to a 30 Dec 1987 NYT article, veered “boldly” from the screenplay.
       Charlie Sheen had previously collaborated with Oliver Stone on Platoon. However, Wall Street marked the first time he appeared in a film with his father, Martin Sheen.
       In a 20 Apr 1987 New York item, actor Michael Douglas stated that he modeled his performance after businessman Donald Trump. Douglas’s research included videotapes of Trump on various television programs, including 60 Minutes, which Edward Pressman’s staff obtained from Trump’s office.
       Principal photography began 15 Apr 1987, according to a 10 Mar 1987 DV item. Production notes cite the following New York City filming locations: 222 Broadway in the Wall Street financial district of Manhattan, where Gekko’s office was filmed on the 23rd floor, and “Jackson Steinem Co.” was filmed on the 20th floor; a mansion in Bridgehampton, that stood in for Gekko’s home; a townhouse on Riverside Drive, that doubled as “Sir Larry Wildman’s” home; Le Cirque restaurant; Tavern on the Green restaurant; the 21 Club restaurant; and the AT&T boardroom at 550 Madison Avenue. According to a 30 Aug 1987 NYT article, some scenes were filmed at the Bridgehampton home of technical advisor Owen Morrissey, a Wall Street trader who had been accused of defrauding customers of over $20 million in 1985.
       Oliver Stone used his connections with art gallery owners and private collectors to borrow numerous pieces of fine art for the film. As noted in the 14 Dec 1987 NYP, paintings by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Louise Nevelson appear in Gekko’s office, while his Bridgehampton home is decorated with others by Jean Dubuffet and Jim Dine. Elsewhere, artworks by Keith Haring, Donald Sultan, Julian Schnabel, John Alexander, and George Condo, are on display, and an art auction scene shows Gekko bidding on a painting by James Rosenquist.
       Wall Street featured a record number of computer monitors assembled in one scene, to that time. According to an 18 Dec 1987 Back Stage article, 246 computer monitors appear in the “Jackson Steinem Co.” office, all running hardware and software created for the film by SMA Video, and customized to run at twenty-four frames per second to synchronize with the film cameras shooting the Jackson Steinem Co. scenes.
       Principal photography concluded on 4 Jul 1987, nine days ahead of schedule, due to a looming Directors Guild of America (DGA) strike. Initially, Edward Pressman planned to put the film “in abeyance” when the strike began, as noted in the 24 Jun 1987 DV, and resume after it was over; however, production was sped up to avoid a hiatus. The final scenes were filmed in the newsroom of New York Daily News, as stated in the 6 Jul 1987 LAT. The script originally named the Wall Street Journal as the newspaper that “Bud Fox” tips off, but the Wall Street Journal refused to cooperate, and threatened to sue if a copy appeared in the film. Although filmmakers considered using the Financial Times instead, the newspaper depicted onscreen is the ficitional Wall Street Chronicle. Unlike the Wall Street Journal, financial magazines Fortune and Forbes fought over the chance to appear in the film, according to a 29 Feb 1988 WSJ article. Fortune was initially written into the script, and won the bidding war with Forbes by offering two free advertisement pages, valued at roughly $94,000. A mock copy of Fortune with a photograph of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko and the cover line “Gekko The Great” appears in the film, when Bud Fox shows the magazine to Gekko’s secretary and refers to it as “the bible.” Gekko the Great was also an early title of the script, according to Stanley Weiser in the 5 Oct 2008 LAT.
       Actress Sean Young was rumored to be disliked on the set. A 22 Aug 1987 LAHExam brief stated that Charlie Sheen pulled a prank on the actress one day by sticking a demeaning note on her back without her knowledge. At some point during six days of shooting in Bridgehampton, Young confronted Oliver Stone for keeping her waiting all day to film just a few lines of dialogue, and Stone responded by firing her. Young left with her wardrobe, and was chased by crewmembers, who retrieved the clothing. A 5 Jan 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram item stated that Young was “vocal about the personality problems” between her and Stone. Actress Darryl Hannah later weighed in that she, too, had difficulties with the director. Hannah stated that Stone “alienated” her with his bullying and criticism, which was meant to rile her up and help her get into character.
       A 25 Oct 1987 LAT article noted exhibitors’ fears that the recent “Black Monday” stock market crash on 19 Oct 1987 would drive away potential moviegoers when Wall Street opened two months later. At the time, posters advertising the upcoming film included the grim slogan, “Every dream has its price.” A 19 Dec 1987 LAT article noted that a “second wave” of advertisements played up the picture’s romantic subplot, with a picture of Charlie Sheen embracing Daryl Hannah.
       The picture opened 11 Dec 1987 on 730 screens, as noted in the 14 Dec 1987 HR “Hollywood Report” column, and was set to expand to 1,000 screens on Christmas Day. The opening-weekend box-office gross was an underwhelming $4.1 million, but the film went on to become a moderate hit, ranking as the twenty-sixth highest-grossing film of 1987 with cumulative box-office earnings of $44 million.
       Despite mixed reviews, Michael Douglas won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Douglas was also named Best Actor by the National Board of Review, which named Wall Street one of the top ten films of 1987.
       A 3 Mar 1988 LAHExam item noted that New York Senator Olga Mendez and others protested a line in the film, in which realtor “Dolores” states, “The only things moving in New York are Puerto Ricans and cockroaches.” Filmmakers reportedly agreed to remove the line in the home video version. However, the DVD version of the film viewed by AFI retained the line.
       In the 5 Oct 2008 LAT, Stanley Weiser lamented Wall Street’s often misunderstood legacy, after meeting numerous young people who told him the film motivated them to be like Gordon Gekko. According to a 15 Apr 2012 LAT article, Michael Douglas echoed Weiser’s sentiment in an interview with NYT, in which he stated that he would be happy “never to have another ‘drunken Wall Street broker come up to me and say, ‘You’re the man!’” In 2012, Douglas appeared in a Federal Burea of Investigation (FBI) public service announcement against insider trading, in which he stated, “The movie [ Wall Street ] was fiction, the problem is real.”
       A 7 May 2007 DV brief announced Twentieth Century Fox’s plans for a sequel as a “potential starring vehicle” for Douglas. Oliver Stone initially passed on the project, but changed his mind in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. The sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010, see entry), was directed by Stone, with Douglas reprising the role of Gordon Gekko, and Edward R. Pressman returning as producer.
       End credits include “Special Thanks” to: Charivari; Alan Flusser; Robert Stock; Salvatore Ferragamo; Ermenegildo Zegna; Main Events – Footage of Lou Duva; Sound by Singer; Transcontinental Corporation; Quotron Systems, Inc.; Italian designer wardrobe for Daryl Hannah by Krizia; Suits, SanSevero by Fabrizio Capigatti; Shirts, Cesare Conti – Florence, Italy and ties and vests, Maximilian – Florence, Italy; Baskerville + Watson – R.M. Fischer; Wally Findlay Galleries – Pablo Picasso, Dinsdale, Nessi, Herbo and Taylor; Sperone Westwater – Carlo Maria Mariani and Mimmi Paladino; Richard L. Feigen and Co. – James Rosenquist; The Pace Gallery – Jim Dine, Lucas Samaras, Jean Dubuffet, Louise Nevelson, Miro; Sherry French, Inc. – David Klass, Robert Birmelin; Collection of Julian Schnabel – Julian Schnabel, George Condo; Albert Mozell; John Alexander; Blum Helman – Donald Sultan; Lynn Isaacson; Tony Shafrazi Gallery – Keith Haring. End credits also include: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of: The New York City Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting, Pat Scott, Director; NYPD Movie and Television Unit; The Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development, Jaynne Keyes, Director”; and, “A very special thanks to the New York Stock Exchange.”
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
18 Dec 1987.
---
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1987
p. 6.
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1987.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1987.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 2007.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 1987
p, 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1987.
---
LAHExam
22 Aug 1987.
---
LAHExam
15 Dec 1987.
---
LAHExam
3 Mar 1988.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
5 Jan 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1987
Calendar, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jul 1987
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1987
Calendar, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1987
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
19 Dec 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jan 1988
p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
5 Oct 2008
Section E, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 2012
Section D, p. 5.
New York
20 Apr 1987.
---
New York Post
14 Dec 1987.
---
New York Times
30 Aug 1987
Section A, p. 34.
New York Times
11 Dec 1987
p. 3.
New York Times
30 Dec 1987
Section C, p. 16.
New York Times
31 Dec 1987
Section C, p. 18.
Variety
9 Dec 1987
p. 13.
WSJ
29 Feb 1988
p. 1.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Edward R. Pressman Production
An Oliver Stone Film
Produced in association with American Entertainment Partners L.P.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Cam trainee
Best boy elec
Elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
2d unit dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art dept coord
Art handler
FILM EDITORS
Addl film ed
Post prod supv
Assoc ed (L.A.)
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Assoc ed (N.Y.)
Apprentice ed (N.Y.)
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
Addl negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Shop elec
Prop master
Lead set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Chief carpenter
Carpenter
Head const grip
Const grip
Master scenic artist
Standby scenic
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
MUSIC
Orig mus by
Mus supv
Orig mus eng and co-prod by
Supv mus ed
Mus coord
VISUAL EFFECTS
Computer image des by
Computer display eng by
Computer display eng by
Main and end title seq and montage created by
Titles and montage opticals
Opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Chief tech adv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc staff
Loc staff
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Extras casting
Prod office asst
Asst to Mr. Stone
Asst to Mr. Pressman
Asst to Mr. Douglas
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Post prod coord
Asst to Dan Perri
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Video segment prod
Chief video coord
Video tech
Twenty four frame equip by
Transportation capt
Addl casting
Addl casting
Principal casting asst
Principal casting asst
Dial consultant
Pub consultant
Pub consultant
Pub consultant
Pub coord
Craft services
Craft services
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Exec asst
Exec asst
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv to Daryl Hannah
Casting consultant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dailies adv
De Luxe col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Fly Me To The Moon," words and music by Bart Howard (ASCAP), published by Tro-Hampshire House Publishing Corp. (ASCAP), performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Projects
"America Is Waiting," music by David Byrne, Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Tim Wright, David Van Teighem, published by Index Music, Inc./Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP)/E.G. Music Ltd., (BMI) © 1981, performed by David Byrne & Brian Eno, courtesy of Sire Records/E.G. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products, from the David Byrne/Brian Eno album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts"
"Mea Culpa," music by David Byrne & Brian Eno, published by Index Music, Inc./Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP)/E.G. Music Ltd., (BMI) © 1981, performed by David Byrne & Brian Eno, courtesy of Sire Records/E.G. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products, from the David Byrne/Brian Eno album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts"
+
SONGS
"Fly Me To The Moon," words and music by Bart Howard (ASCAP), published by Tro-Hampshire House Publishing Corp. (ASCAP), performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Projects
"America Is Waiting," music by David Byrne, Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Tim Wright, David Van Teighem, published by Index Music, Inc./Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP)/E.G. Music Ltd., (BMI) © 1981, performed by David Byrne & Brian Eno, courtesy of Sire Records/E.G. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products, from the David Byrne/Brian Eno album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts"
"Mea Culpa," music by David Byrne & Brian Eno, published by Index Music, Inc./Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP)/E.G. Music Ltd., (BMI) © 1981, performed by David Byrne & Brian Eno, courtesy of Sire Records/E.G. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products, from the David Byrne/Brian Eno album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts"
"Desafinado," original text by Newton Mendonca, music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, performed by Stan Getz, courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
"Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)," original music & lyrics by Antonio Carlos Jobim, performed by Stan Getz, courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
"Midnight Motion," written by Kenny G (BMI), performed by Kenny G, courtesy of Arista Records, Inc.
"Burning Guitar," written and performed by Dave Alvin & Steve Berlin, courtesy of Enigma Records
"Rigoletto," original music & text by Guiseppe Verdi, performed by Callas/Gobbi/Di Stefano and Orchestra E Coro Del Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano, conducted by Tullio Serafin, courtesy of Angel/EMI Records
"Moonlight Magic," original music by Alan Moorehouse, courtesy of Associated Production Music (ASCAP)
"This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)," lyrics by David Byrne, music by David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth & Chris Frantz, published by Index Music, Inc./Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP) © 1983, performed by The Talking Heads, courtesy of Sire Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products, from the Talking Heads album "Speaking In Tongues"
"Happy Birthday To You," written by Patti S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill, published by Birch Tree Group, Ltd.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Gekko the Great
Release Date:
11 December 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 11 December 1987
Production Date:
15 April--4 July 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
12 January 1988
Copyright Number:
PA349001
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28787
SYNOPSIS

Bud Fox, an ambitious junior stockbroker at the Wall Street financial firm of Jackson Steinem Co., hounds millionaire investor Gordon Gekko for a meeting. Gekko’s secretary, Natalie, dismisses him, until Bud shows up at Gekko’s office, bearing the businessman’s favorite Cuban cigars. Gekko grants Bud a five-minute meeting, during which the young stockbroker recommends several investments that Gekko rejects as “dogs.” However, Gekko perks up when Bud mentions Bluestar Airlines, a small company about to receive a favorable ruling in a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation, that will allow it to expand its business. Bud has the information because his father, Carl Fox, is a Bluestar employee and mechanics’ union representative; therefore, it is technically illegal for him to share it. When Gekko asks how he knows about the FAA ruling ahead of its announcement, Bud responds, “I just know.” Gekko orders Bud to buy him 20,000 shares of Bluestar. As expected, the airline’s value appreciates when the ruling is reported, and Gekko profits. He gives Bud more money to invest, and rewards him with perks, including beautiful women, fancy dinners, and cocaine. When Bud’s investments lose money, Gekko summons him to a sports club. There, after beating Bud in racquetball, Gekko lectures him on the ruthlessness of capitalism and suggests that he read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Bud begs for another chance. Gekko encourages him to break the law again by spying on Sir Larry Wildman, a business rival against whom Gekko has a vendetta. Bud reluctantly agrees. He follows Wildman around the city and discovers his plans to buy Anacott Steel, an ... +


Bud Fox, an ambitious junior stockbroker at the Wall Street financial firm of Jackson Steinem Co., hounds millionaire investor Gordon Gekko for a meeting. Gekko’s secretary, Natalie, dismisses him, until Bud shows up at Gekko’s office, bearing the businessman’s favorite Cuban cigars. Gekko grants Bud a five-minute meeting, during which the young stockbroker recommends several investments that Gekko rejects as “dogs.” However, Gekko perks up when Bud mentions Bluestar Airlines, a small company about to receive a favorable ruling in a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation, that will allow it to expand its business. Bud has the information because his father, Carl Fox, is a Bluestar employee and mechanics’ union representative; therefore, it is technically illegal for him to share it. When Gekko asks how he knows about the FAA ruling ahead of its announcement, Bud responds, “I just know.” Gekko orders Bud to buy him 20,000 shares of Bluestar. As expected, the airline’s value appreciates when the ruling is reported, and Gekko profits. He gives Bud more money to invest, and rewards him with perks, including beautiful women, fancy dinners, and cocaine. When Bud’s investments lose money, Gekko summons him to a sports club. There, after beating Bud in racquetball, Gekko lectures him on the ruthlessness of capitalism and suggests that he read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Bud begs for another chance. Gekko encourages him to break the law again by spying on Sir Larry Wildman, a business rival against whom Gekko has a vendetta. Bud reluctantly agrees. He follows Wildman around the city and discovers his plans to buy Anacott Steel, an ailing company based in Eerie, Pennsylvania. Gekko orders Bud to drive up the price of Anacott Steel by buying tens of thousands of shares. He also instructs Bud to tip off the Wall Street Chronicle about the stock, and encourage fellow brokers at Jackson Steinem to sell it to their clients. By the end of the day, Anacott Steel’s stock has risen to over $50 per share. Bud goes to Gekko’s home in the Hamptons to deliver paperwork, and is drawn into a cocktail party thrown by Gekko and his wife, Kate. Among the crowd is Darien Taylor, a beautiful but materialistic interior decorator, with whom Bud is instantly smitten. Sir Larry Wildman arrives and demands a meeting with Gekko. Bud is pulled into the meeting, during which Wildman accuses Gekko of sabotaging him. Instead of liquidating Anacott Steel, he plans to keep it in business. Thus, he is compelled to offer Gekko $65 per share for all of his shares. Gekko drives up the price to $71.50, and revels in Wildman’s comeuppance. He tells Bud to “astonish” him with new deals. Bud tries to elicit information from his college friend, Roger Barnes, now a successful lawyer. Barnes refuses to risk disbarment for leaking information, but suggests which lawyer at his firm is in possession of the most priceless files. Bud notices a maid from Marsala Maintenance on his way out of Barnes’s office. He finds Marsala’s headquarters and offers the owner capital in exchange for a partnership. Later, Bud disguises himself as a Marsala worker to break into the firm and steal information. His illegal maneuvers lead to more lucrative deals. Bud begins dating Darien Taylor, who decorates his lavish new apartment. When Darien discusses her new relationship with Gekko, who was once her boyfriend, he warns her against falling in love with Bud, who is not as worldly or jaded as she. Bud and Gekko attend a stockholder meeting for Teldar Paper, in which Gekko recently became majority shareholder. A Teldar executive calls for restructuring of the stock to prevent Gekko from breaking up the company. Gekko responds with a speech in praise of greed, and encourages fellow stockholders to support his plan to make the company profitable by downsizing its overpaid executive pool. Back at Jackson Steinem, Bud’s record commissions earn him a prized corner office. Increasingly fueled by Gekko’s brand of greed, he mistreats his co-worker, Marv, and again exploits his insider information on Bluestar Airlines by suggesting that he and Gekko take it over. However, instead of liquidating the company, Bud wants to make it profitable again by reducing salaries. He sets a meeting at his apartment between Gekko, his father, Carl, and two of Carl’s co-workers who represent the pilots’ and flight attendants’ unions. Gekko presents Bud’s plan to revive the company by temporarily reducing salaries. Carl does not believe him and warns that Gekko is using Bud. In turn, Bud accuses his father of being jealous because he lacks the courage to be truly ambitious. Despite Carl’s disapproval, Gekko buys Bluestar and instates Bud as the new chief of the company. However, when Bud stops by Roger Barnes’s office for a visit, Barnes invites him into a meeting concerning Bluestar, and Bud discovers that Gekko has betrayed him by arranging for a liquidation. Barnes also warns that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Bud. Infuriated, Bud goes to Gekko’s office and accuses him of betraying the Bluestar employees. Gekko coolly explains that he had a change of heart, and reminds his protégé that deals are about money, and nothing more. Bud leaves in a daze. Darien finds him sulking at home. When Bud recounts what happened, she forbids him from dropping Gekko as a client, since her decorating business is also dependent on Gekko’s connections. Bud insists that he can no longer work with the man, and Darien ends their relationship. Shortly after, Bud learns that Carl has suffered a heart attack. At the hospital, Bud apologizes to Carl for going against his wishes with the Bluestar deal, and promises he has a plan to save the company. Carl tells his son that he is proud of him. Bud conspires with Larry Wildman to sabotage Gekko’s purchase of Bluestar in the manner that Gekko sabotaged the Anacott Steel deal. Before Gekko purchases more Bluestar stock, Bud spends the day selling it to various clients, tipping off other brokers to buy it, and successfully driving up the price. Thus, Gekko is forced to buy the majority of shares at a much higher price than intended. However, just as he makes his purchase, Bud sells his other clients’ shares, and encourages the rest of Jackson Steinem’s brokers to “dump” their shares, driving down the price, and causing Gekko to dump his shares out of fear. Just before the stock exchange closes, Wildman purchases the majority of Bluestar at a cut-rate price. The next day, Bud triumphantly returns to work, only to be arrested for insider trading. Sometime later, he meets Gekko in Central Park. Gekko physically and verbally attacks him, reminding Bud of all the illegal tips that he gave him. Having turned state’s evidence, Bud is secretly recording the conversation, to be used in a larger investigation of Gekko. Later, Bud’s parents drive him to the courthouse, where he faces conviction for his crimes. Dropping him off at the courthouse steps, Carl commends his son for returning the money he made off illegal investments, and suggests the ordeal is an opportunity for Bud to turn his life around. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.