An Analysis of Oliver Stone’s Movie, Wall Street

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Words: 1290 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 1290|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Wall Street was a movie of controversy consisting of a young man, Bud Fox, doing all he can to attract high-quality clients with high investments, in order to climb to the top. With a particular man in mind, Gekko, Fox put everything at stake to become and once he became, continue to be his partner. Although most viewers of this movie can agree that the major moral dilemma within the film was the decision Fox had to make between his dad’s and many others’ careers, or his own successful future, it can also be stated that all the moral dilemma began when Fox provided insiders to Gekko in order to gain his investments. This decision in itself was evidently made without considerations to the airline company or the ones Fox was getting his information from, and it was ultimately due to this decision all the turmoil Fox eventually experienced took place. Gekko did lie to Fox, and put him in a hard place, however, it’s not Gekko that’s depicted as an ethical character within the film. Fox is the one who has a father with values and morals, and this is why the viewer expects it of him to make the correct decisions. Although late, Fox realizes his mistakes and finally makes the correct decision, but the film makes the critical point of him still having to pay for the bad choices he made.

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The Wall Street industry was depicted in a cynical perspective within the movie. Many of the individuals within the movie, such as Gekko and his staff, were type casted as acquisitive, and egotistic people who are careless of what’s happening around them as long as they’re earning money. Gekko’s actions were not recompensed with humanitarian relinquish, the apportion of prosperity with those less affluent, nor a revolution for the advantage of humanity. Rather, Gekko’s selfish actions were compensated by the aptness to disburse inordinately on opulent residences, exclusive planes, narcotics, and call girls.

For example, after Fox attempted to unsuccessfully pitch his ideas to Gekko, Fox ultimately gave up and unlawfully allocated insider information about the company his father has been working for many years, BlueStar Airlines. While Fox was sharing this critical insider information with Gekko, he was unaware to the fact that Gekko was already planning to use this information to his advantage, and at a great degree, to BlueStar’s disadvantage. This information, which Gekko was aware was going to earn him a ridiculous amount of profit, encouraged Gekko to send a call girl to Fox’s residence as an indication of indebtedness for the unlawful capital insider information, and provisionally captivate Fox in later enterprises. Fox revealing the insider information of his father’s company to Gekko showed Gekko that Fox has the qualities he’s seeking in a person to gather information for him.

Because Fox was so hungry for a status within Wall Street, and because he had the possibility of a partnership with the major player of the industry, Gekko, he perpetrated some performances of illegal spying in order to obtain information and earn a spot in the eyes of Gekko, while securing his future. It was plain that Gekko maintained a disturbing control over Fox, as Fox longed to follow Gekko to attain an unquestionable position of triumph. In a particular part of the film, Fox impersonated as a janitor of a building of a certain evening in order to scour for confidential information that can lead to a company to plummet immediately.

The primary moral dilemma portrayed within Wall Street is focused on Fox’s wishes to be affluent and of status within Wall Street, which frequently contradicts his ethics and values. During a particular scene in the film, Fox, subsequent to earning millions of illicit dollars, can be seen as confused and unhappy, while his questioning himself who he really is. The movie ends with Fox’s ultimate acknowledgment that he will always be Fox, no matter how much he tries to be like Gekko. Due to Fox’s father, Carl’s, constant teaching of values and ethics to Fox, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t just throw them away, which he ends up realizing at the end. Gekko manipulates Fox and others similar to Fox to acquire illegal information on other companies’ private problems. Gekko then utilizes the data he basically stole to get himself to be wealthier, and Fox is joining in these illegal actions, knowing their consequences, because he’s also earning his own profits. An interesting part of the film was how there was an emphasis on the overall corruption of the companies within Wall Street. Although Sir Larry Wildman was depicted as the good guy first, the one who could be called Gekko’s exact opposite, turned out to be yet another major player within the industry who degraded himself to utilize to illegal means in order to earn money and get retribution from Gekko. Another moral character, besides Carl, is Lou Manheim, who is sometimes seen during the movie within the trading room of Gekko’s company. Manheim ensures to constantly give advice to Fox, and confront him with his suspicions of Fox’s illegal wrongdoings.

The correspondence between Fox and Gekko begins exclusively subsequent to Fox allocating inside data about Blue Star Airlines, a corporation for which his father is a prominent worker in. Prior to Gekko’s birthday, Fox was a diligent, zealous worker, with ethics that are comparable to that of his father’s. When Fox registers that his sole possibility to carry on later business endeavors with Gekko, and thus, be of a reputable net worth, is speedily dimming, Fox allocates the inside details of Blue Star Airlines with Gekko, and his staff. Within this scene of the movie, viewers can clearly see Fox’s revulsion and torment over being forced to disturb the law and the ethics he has followed up until now to become affluent. Gekko, being the covetous malefactor, responds with a cunning smirk upon apprehending Fox’s reply. Fox has to choose between perpetrating an illicit act, and possibly earning an unimaginable amount of money, or preserving his values and ethics passed down from his father, and refusing to take part in this business happening. To his demise, Fox didn’t make the correct decision, and chose the path of quick and easy money instead. This is how the relationship between Fox and Gekko began, a relationship founded upon crime, lies, and theft. The first meeting of Fox and Gekko should’ve been different of Fox’s part that he should have just stepped away when coming to the realization that Gekko is not interested in any of his pitches.

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Fox persuades his father to induce the board of directors and other staff within his company, so they will openly accept the upcoming investment from Gekko. Upon their first introduction, Fox’s father can see right away that Gekko is going to cause the Blue Star Airlines company more harm than good. Disturbed by this realization, Fox’s father doesn’t stay for their discussion, and instead, tries to explain to Fox, and open his eyes to what Gekko is truly doing: attempting to take over the company in order to liquidate all its profits into his bank account, and thereby carelessly make many people lose their jobs, and affecting the lives of their families. However, blinded by his desires to be someone of status within the Wall Street, Fox chooses to trust the major player Gekko, instead of his father, who taught him all his values and ethics, and this is the worst decision Fox made within the movie. Ultimately, the situation turned out as Fox’s father has foreseen, and it’s too late when Fox finally understands that his father was telling him nothing but the truth.

Works Cited

  1. Stone, O. (Director). (1987). Wall Street [Film]. Twentieth Century Fox.
  2. Dyer, R. (1988). Wall Street: Power and Ethics in the Financial Community. Journal of Business Ethics, 7(5), 361-366.
  3. Bakan, J. (2004). The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. Free Press.
  4. Harvey, D. (2010). The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism. Oxford University Press.
  5. King, U. (1995). Wall Street and the Ethics of the Social Order. Journal of Business Ethics, 14(7), 541-553.
  6. Mandel, E. (2015). Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. Monthly Review Press.
  7. Murphy, P. (2017). Five Films about Finance: From "Wall Street" to "The Big Short". Critical Studies in Media Communication, 34(1), 90-95.
  8. Nocera, J. (1991). A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class. Touchstone.
  9. Russell, D. C. (2013). Ethical Decision Making in the Film Wall Street. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 10, 283-292.
  10. Storck, J. (1990). Power and Greed: A Critique of Wall Street. The Catholic Social Science Review, 5, 191-209.
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An Analysis of Oliver Stone’s Movie, Wall Street. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from
“An Analysis of Oliver Stone’s Movie, Wall Street.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
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