Oliver Stone’s 1987 classic “Wall Street” paints a vivid picture of life on – you guessed it – Wall Street.
The versatile Charlie Sheen (“Scary Movie 3”) is Bud Fox, an up-and-coming stockbroker who feels the pressure of the market and yearns to succeed at almost any cost. His desire to get ahead leads to him idolizing a man who will succeed at any cost. Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas (“Wonder Boys”), is that ruthless role model.
To win over Gekko, Fox goes to him on his birthday and along with expensive gifts, offers Gekko numerous stock options, only to be Gekko continuously and snidely shot down.
In a last ditch attempt to win over his hero, Fox inadvertently exploits his own father, Carl, played by Martin Sheen (“The Departed”), who works as a maintenance chief for Bluestar Airlines.
Bluestar Airlines is a small airline that will expand soon and expects its stock value to rise. Gekko is glad to accept the insider information, and he begins to warm up to the idea of Fox as an apprentice of sorts.
Fox begins to live his dream and becomes very successful under the tutelage of Gekko. He enjoys all of the good life’s spoils, including a hot blonde named Darien, played by Daryl Hannah (“Kill Bill”).
Fox and Gekko continue to become closer and Fox gives Gekko an idea to make a lot of money from Bluestar Airlines. However, Gekko has a change of heart and uses his control of Bluestar Airlines to sell its assets, essentially destroying the company and its employees – one of whom is Fox’s father.
Fox revolts against Gekko and starts to plot against his former mentor. He finds a way to kill the value of Bluestar Airlines stock until it is so low Gekko will dump it and rivals can pick up the pieces. Gekko is enraged his plan is falling through and lashes out at Fox without even realizing he is fully behind the busted scheme.
Fox eventually goes to court to be tried for his part in the underhanded undertakings of the movie. He is arrested at his office and actually tries to condemn Gekko as well. Fox meets Gekko in public and Gekko attacks Fox, who is wearing a wire. F ox is left beaten up and presumably jailed at the end of the film.
Sheen and Douglas played off one another perfectly. Their verbal exchanges were mostly tense and engaging to watch. Martin Sheen did his part well as Bud’s father, and Hannah turned in a very accurate portrayal of a blindly loyal, vapid trophy girlfriend.
“Wall Street” is a gritty movie with a clear message that cheating to win in the stock market can lead to the destruction of many lives. Even though it isn’t clear in the movie, it can be assumed that Gekko also felt the repercussions of his actions in some way, at least being picked up for assault.
With what is happening in today’s economy, “Wall Street” is a dark reminder that greed is still a driving force in the market and in the hearts of those who play a hand in it.
It’s a film worth a first or even a second look to get a better idea of who is handling our businesses and who is playing dirty with our money.