on November 14, 2007
This film has captured so many viewers in the 80's more so for the brilliant acting. Michael Douglas plays his role to the T. Charlie Sheen plays Buddy, who is young and eager to learn to be stock brokers. Martin Sheen who plays Charlie's real father was so amazing that you can tell they were not acting. You can see they had to get some tension off their chests.
The special features were also great I have been waitng for this special edition for some time now, and to know now that Oliver Stone made a movie about his father who was a Wall Street broker is cool. There are so many great lines in the film that stock brokers started to imitate all over the world based on this film. Not so suprising because it was written by Oliver who is truly gifted, remember SCARFACE. Another interesting note is many brokers today say this film inspired them to become stock brokers.... Truly one of Oliver Stones greatest films.
It must be interesting to work in the financial world, but it's certainly not a topic that attracts the attention of most moviegoers. Whenever we see stockbrokers depicted on the screen, it appears to be utter chaos. Screens show numbers, people shout and make frantic phone calls, and we discern from their reactions whether they made money or not.
Wall Street overcomes some of the limitations of the subject matter by giving us well-acted characters that we care about. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) begins the story as a struggling broker who hopes to one day make a phone call that will change his life. Most of his potential clients aren't in a position to do that, but one is.
Gordon Gekko (Douglas) doesn't waste a second of his time when he's working, and he's usually working. After calling for 59 days straight, Bud delivers a box of Cuban cigars on Gekko's birthday and is given five minutes to convince him that he can help the man make money. He doesn't really hold Gekko's attention, but uses a desperate ploy before he is thrown out. Bud's father, Carl (Martin Sheen), works for Bluestar Airlines and has given Bud information about the company which will result in the price of the stock rising. Gekko decides to take a chance and Bud is hired.
It soon becomes clear to Gekko that Bud had inside information. He tells him that he doesn't like to lose and he'll need similar information in the future if he's to keep him around. Bud has a decision to make. Does he try to work ethically and within the law, or take a chance and do what Gekko asks? This is a story of greed and corruption and we see Bud take the latter option. He follows around another investor in an attempt to find out what company the man might be trying to buy. The information is useful to Gekko and he makes a fortune.
Bud's life will never be the same. He's finally on a path that will result in him becoming a major player. He begins spending money on a new apartment and artwork which reflects his success. He also starts a relationship with a woman who would normally have been beyond his reach. We see what money and success can do to a person. Previous relationships are harmed or completely abandoned. His father is an ethical man and is particularly hurt by Bud's actions. Despite warnings from some of his colleagues, Bud ruthlessly pursues success.
Will Bud achieve his dream and stay one step ahead of the law? Can he continue to provide Gekko with enough relevant information? Will he prove his father and work colleagues wrong?
Charlie Sheen is convincing as Bud, but the real highlight of the film is the Oscar-winning performance from Michael Douglas. He exudes power and gives the impression that he doesn't tolerate failure in any form. He's a brilliant public speaker and easily wins the support of companies he's taking over, even if he means to destroy them.
It's very strange seeing images of the twin towers in older films and it's a little sobering to see them here. There are a few other things which date the film and the funniest change has to be the differences in technology. Take a look at the computer screens without laughing or at cell phones the size of a brick.
I always take note when a film holds my interest with subject matter that I usually find boring. Wall Street is one such film and it's a gripping drama.
The Blu-ray presentation is disappointing to say the least. The picture quality is barely adequate and some of the longer shots look like an upconverted DVD. You can normally count on Fox, so maybe it's the fault of the source material?
With the film Wall Street (1987), Director Oliver Stone accomplished something that is nearly impossible - he made a film about Wall street, financial brokers, investors, etc. that was somewhat realistic and true and accurate, that isn't above people's heads in terms of understanding buy and sell tactics, and that is still entertaining.
He did this largely by focusing on very real and faulty characters and having a great cast to portray them. Everyone is "grey" (good and bad, not all good or all bad) in terms of their motives and behaviours. Even the Michael Douglas' "villian" role is so charismatic that he's likable, and he gets the best and most memorable lines and speeches in the film. Having Charlie Sheen's father in the film played by his real father, Martin Sheen, is another brilliant move... but only because of the strength of their acting.
It's a very good film, a unique and successful business themed film. If you like it, I highly suggest you watch the sequel Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, which Oliver Stone made in 2010. Michael Douglas revives his role as Gordon Gekko in that film, but the plot is very different. You don't need to have seen the first film to appreciate the second film. Watching one will likely make you want to see the other.
Now here's a comparison of the DVD and the Blu-ray for the Wall Street film:
- For either, you get the single disc and no booklet or insert with chapter numbers/titles, etc.
- The menu on the DVD works fine but looks very dated. The menu on the Blu-ray looks very modern and slick and I like how the Chapter Selection works much better.
- The DVD special features are: commentary, making-of documentary, trailers and TV ad. The Blu-ray special features are: commentary, deleted scenes, 2 documentaries.
- The DVD is shown in 1.85:1 widescreen while the Blu-ray is shown in 2.35:1 widescreen, so you see the entire image as originally shown.
- On the DVD, the audio is adequate (English track in surround sound, French track in mono) and the video quality is rather poor and grainy... it feels like watching a VHS tape. On the Blu-ray, the audio is louder and clearer and the video is also much improved... although it feels like watching a good DVD. The film really needs a better remastering for the video.
Final verdict --- don't watch the DVD, get the Blu-ray. FYI - I found the Blu-ray in a sale bin for $3!!!!
on July 15, 2004
Oliver Stone will never be known for subtlety. "Wall Street" bashes you over the head with its message- getting to the top in society requires duplicity, dishonesty, and the willingness to destroy any obstacle. However, unlike Ayn Rand, Stone vilifies rather than lauds this dubious morality. Bud Fox is a fresh faced, innocent stock broker trying to get ahead through hard work and elbow grease, as he was taught by his father. Bud soon meets powerful, charismatic corporate raider Gordon Gekko, incapable of love, remorse, or empathy. Gekko, we are told, sold NASA short 15 minutes after the Challenger exploded (impossible since the shuttle was destroyed in 1986 and the film is set in 1985!). Gekko predictably seduces Bud with his world of "perks", and Bud's star rises dramatically the farther he falls into corruption.
Throughout the film, Bud serves as a sounding board for the rival values of Gekko and his father. The speech most cited by critics and fans is the immortal "Greed is Good" monologue. While this speech, standing alone, is a vigorous defense of capitalism and selfishness, it is important to note that Gekko is using it at a shareholders' meeting against a lousy, entrenched, and greedy management!
Inevitably, Bud is forced to decide whether to follow his father's philosophy or Gekko's, and to pay the price for his misdeeds. A slight complaint with the ending- the fate of Gekko is hinted at rather than displayed. Gordon Gekko has become something of a hero for young, wanna-be big shots, who are attracted to the glamour of his lifestyle and his "up your's, I got mine!" attitude much as Bud was. Perhaps seeing Gekko get his comeuppance could have made an impression.
Overall, Wall Street is a tight, well done character drama populated with iconic characters delivering iconic dialogue that acts as an indictment of a decade. The movie and its message will stay with you long after viewing it.
As for the DVD, the sound, although in 5.1, is relegated almost exclusively to the center channel. One does not hear the sounds of Manhattan from all directions as Bud navigates the concrete jungle. The video quality appears grainy in some areas. This is a great movie worthy of better treatment on DVD.
on May 10, 2004
The above is part of the long speech that actor Michael Douglas gives as Wall Street power-player Gordon Gekko. Contrary to Amazon's reviewer, this role was NOT tailor-made for Douglas, who in fact came out of a long string of TV-and-movie roles as the somewhat light and romantic type. He initially struggled in the role that would ultimately win him the Oscar.
Charlie Sheen plays Bud Fox, an aspiring power-player wannbee, who eventually gets to work for Gekko. Ultimately it leads to the take-over and subsequent downfall of the company that Bud's father, played by Martin Sheen, works for. It all comes crashing down around Bud, but he is determined to take Gekko down with him. Does he succeed? Financially, yes, but legally or morally, it is ambiguous.
Other notables include Darryl Hannah, Terence Stamp, Hal Holbrook, John C. McGinley, and James Spader.
As in all Stone films, there is a lot of power and depth. The DVD has a good "making of" documentary, and Oliver Stone's commentary about the film and his own father's real life occupation as a Wall Street broker.
on February 29, 2004
I saw this film back in college, late 80's early 90's, when I was more young and impressionable. I was a business major setting my sights on the world of Corporate America. (such arrogance!!!) I was gonna wear $1000 suits and having lunch with the CEO in these plush executive boardrooms and making a million. I was highley impressed by Gekkos speech about greed. We used to recite it in our business classes. We would listen with bated breath to our professors about financial reports and 10K's. What naivete.
Then the market crashed, 1987. And subsequently the early 90's recession. I learned that my college degree wasn't even worth the paper it was printed on. My business schooling couldn't even get me a cup of coffee. I recently watched the film again. Everytime I hear that Talking Heads song I'm reminded of this film. The movie looks a bit dated (the power ties and mousse hair). It is just too 80's-ish. To imagine I wanted to be like that, yuck. If you really want to see what corporate america is really like, watch Roger & Me by Michael Moore.
on December 7, 2003
In "Wall Street" everything moves around the money. The main motivation of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) and Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is getting as much money as they can, no limits, no boundaries. Director Oliver Stone managed to capture on-screen the '80s decade perfectly.
"Wall Street" is a very good movie thanks to the script, the direction, the dialogues, and above all the performances of the lead actors Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen, all of them gave an outstanding performance, specially Michael Douglas in the role that got him an Academy Award.
As usual, Oliver Stone created a very personal movie, he co-wrote the screenplay and dedicated the story to his father, a former stockholder. But Stone didn't exclude the audience because the movie presents the fascinating and complex world in Wall Street, and also the movie shows very human feelings such as the ambition, the greed, the envy, the revenge and the personal integrity.
The DVD doesn't include a lot of extra material, but the features that does include are quite good: an audio commentary by Oliver Stone, very valuable, of course, theatrical trailers and a very interesting "Making Of Wall Street" documentary, with interviews and commentaries by the cast and the production crew of the movie. "Wall Street" is a very interesting and entertaining movie, very recommendable.
on May 21, 2001
Real-life bigtime investment banker Jeff Beck not only advised Oliver Stone when he made 'Wallstreet' but also stars in this film for a few minutes playing himself at a climactic meeting of topdog-lawyers and bankers. He delivers one of the many exhilirating monologues in this Epic tale of greed, pride and innocense lost. "Now your boss will really start thinking he's Gekko the Great!" He shouts at Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) who plays a struggling young stockbroker who's desperately trying to get on the fast-track to becoming a "player".
Michael Douglas who plays 'Gordon Gekko' (not 'Gecko' as the Amazon review suggests, the name can be seen in the scene where Charlie Sheen turns on his computer in the morning and finds out it's "Gekko's Birthday") puts on such a mindblowing performance he really can be dubbed 'Gekko the Great'. The character is right up there with Don Vito Corleone, Tony Montana, Popeye Doyle and some other members of that elite group of high-octane male movie-characters that will long outlive the actors that created them.
Gordon Gekko is a high profile corporate raider that was probably modeled after Ivan Boesky (the biggest corporate raider of the 80's who eventually went behind bars for insider-trading), Michael Milken (creator and unchallenged 80's king of the high yield or junk-bond) and John Guttfreund (CEO of Salomon Brothers in the 80's who'se extravert and bizarre behaviour is documented in the classic books "Liar's Poker" (Michael Lewis) and "Barbarians at the Gate" (John Helyar).
Michael Douglas seems to have been born to play this part and from the moment he is introduced ("Lunch? whaddaya kiddin' me, lunch is for wimps!") to the moment we viewers have to part from his hypnotic character ("I gave you Darian, I gave you everything!") he reduces any leaps of faith that his character may present us with to tiny hops due to his powerhouse presence. In fact, whenever I see Michael Douglas in another movie I have the strange feeling that Gordon Gekko is trapped inside and might burst out at any time to hose us down with sardonic one-liners. ("Love is just an old lie created to keep people from jumping out of windows.")
Gekko is truly the "mother of all high-rollers", and his performance alone more than warrants the purchase of this film.
Charles Sheen plays a believable 'Bud Fox' but one wonders what a late 80's Tom Cruise or Kiefer Sutherland might have done with the part. Charlie never really creates the electricity that Douglas shocks the audience with.
I won't get into the details of the story here but will post some comments on the general themes in the movie.
There's the theme that Stone had already explored in 'Platoon' of two fathers fighting for the soul of their son. In Platoon it was Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe battling for custody of Charlie Sheen's spirit. In Wallstreet it's Douglas and Martin Sheen representing the 'exciting but evil' and 'wholesome but tedious' ways to go for Charlie Sheen's character. This theme introduces some good tension in the storytelling.
The other theme that Stone put into this narrative is the bleeding heart "Capitalism is bad and unfair" jingle. "I don't produce anything...I own..." Gekko confesses at one point. "How many boats to waterski behind do you need? When is it enough?!" cries a shocked Bud Fox. The moral comments on succesful capitalists come accros somewhat naive and in my opinion don't really work. I won't go into the details but most people I've met who've seen the movie don't even remember what it was about Gordon Gekko that was so wrong. All they remember is the classic "Greed is Good" speech and ironically most of them agree with Gekko on the issue. The fact that Oliver Stone lets Gekko initiate industrial espionage is the reason I gave the movie only four stars instead of five.
I personnaly think this was a real blooper. A man in Gekko's position doesn't need the aggravation of blatantly breakin the law. There's a good plot-line concerning a fictive company 'Bluestar Airlines' that Gekko has his own plans with to make himself rich and get scores of hard working people fired that adds enough suspense to the tale. It seems as though Stone was so set on painting a negative picture of egoistical an a-moral Wallstreeters that he went one bridge too far.
Fact is that, if anything, this movie is like a recruiting video for Investment Banking. What "Top Gun" did for Naval Aviation "Wall Street" has done for Investment Banking. Big corporate banks have never had to complain about the amount of interested well educated young hopefulls but nowadays there's probably not one person sitting in any dealing room anywhere in the world who has not seen Wall Street. I am currently a trader in Amsterdam and I am convinced that if it wasn't for the scenes that have the camera following runners and stressed out yuppies yelling "How about those september 40's!" I wouldn't have been in this racket.
The dealing room-scenes are some of the most exhilirating scenes in the history of cinematography. Spielberg sucked in audiences with his scenes of Normandy's beaches in '44. Stone creates the same spellbinding grip on the audience without getting anybody shot or brutally maimed. That alone is a great achievement for any director in Hollywood. More so for the man who made a career in gory cinematic violence with 'Scarface', 'Platoon' and 'Natural Born Killers'.
Al Hail Gekko the Great! See this movie again and again. It's full of catchy one-liners that will make you not only the toast of any party but might provide you with more of an energy boost than any Tony Robbins video ever will. "Life all comes down to a few moments...this is one of them."
on January 22, 2001
WALL STREET has always been one of my favourite Oliver Stone films. it crackles with the same intense, acerbic dialogue as SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. from his "Greed is good" speech to the way he handles day to day deals with ruthless efficiency, you can see how Michael Douglas nailed this role of the ultimate amoral insider and deservedly won the Oscar that year for Best Actor.
after watching this film on a crappy pan and scam VHS tape, it is so gratifying to finally see this film given a proper DVD treatment. the transfer is crisp and clear with good sound but the real selling points are the fascinating documentary -- which features Douglas and Charlie Sheen and their views and thoughts of the film after all this time -- and Stone's informative and candid audio commentary. for someone like myself who has seen this film a zillion times, listening to Stone's observations on his movie was a real treat. great stuff. along with GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, this is one of THE best films about money, greed and the people who ruthlessly pursue it.
on January 15, 2001
When I saw this film first ten years ago I understood that the idea of the film was to show that business is very rough and there is no place to emotions and friendship. Now, as I know a lot more about stock market, I looked at this movie again and found a lot of very interesting details what became new to me, and this was only because of a better knowlidge about stock market. Therefore, for a person who is not good in finaces and stocks, may be this film a little bit difficult. Although, as I wrote before, the basic idea is very understandable. The two main characters in this movie are Michael Douglas who plays an investment banker and does not choose between methods to earn money and Charlie Sheen who is just a usual stock broker at the age of twenties.The film is about the business they do together while in the beginning they seem to be friends and in the end strong enemies.Douglas, of coure,is in his best again. Half of the prettiness of the movie comes from Douglas's dialogues. You just listen to them and pick up the ideas and "proverbs" what are the basis for the success in this field. Sheen is, I think in this movie, playing a little bit simple minded brocker and sometimes it seems even that the character of Sheen is the type of "I sell you the best" or "I am the winner". The film is I think made for those, who try to understand the basic ideas of stock market and I am pretty sure that the scenario is taken from real life.So I advise everybody to watch this Wall street classic movie.