The Wolf of Wall Street: Depiction of Greed and Corruption

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About this sample


Words: 1219 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 1219|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Greed in The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Unethical Practices in The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works Cited


The movie The Wolf of Wall Street starts by introducing the protagonist Jordan Belfort, the founder of Stratton Oakmont. During the introduction, greed is illustrated to be a dominant factor. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Jordan Belfort and narrates throughout the film. He starts off by saying the year he made forty-nine million dollars at the age of twenty-six and that is “pissed” him off because it was three shy of a million a week.

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Greed in The Wolf of Wall Street

Through his narration, the audience is shown his massive estate, model wife, and him flying his own helicopter while under the influence; he makes a point that his Ferrari was not red but that it was white like Don Johnson’s in Miami Vice. He continues by saying he owns six cars, three horses, two vacation homes, a private jet, and a 170-foot yacht. Furthermore, his proves that greed is the dominant factor by snorting cocaine with a rolled up hundred-dollar bill and tossing it in a garbage bin filled with other hundred dollar bills. He says he was always a money driven person and that it magnified when he first started working at Rothschild. It is at Rothschild where he meets senior broker Mark Hannah and Hannah becomes Jordan’s mentor as he shows him the insides and outs of Wall Street for the six months he’s there. He tells Jordan that money is the end all be all and that he has to make it his mission to put money in his pocket and not necessarily the clients. On his first day at the job, Hannah takes Jordan to lunch and openly snorts cocaine, he says that it is a major key to his success and that Jordan should start using it because it will keep him sharp and aware, and will make him dial his fingers faster. Throughout his six months, Jordan develops an addiction for cocaine and alcohol and it is made clear that Jordan wants to attain and surpass the level of success that Hannah has. Unfortunately, at the end of the six months, the stock market crashed on October 19, 1987, the day historically known as Black Monday, and Jordan was left without a job.

Unethical Practices in The Wolf of Wall Street

The beginning of the film lets into Jordan’s everyday lifestyle and how much money he made at his peak. It is a little later where we see how he achieved it through his job performance. For a stock broker, you need to be able to buy stock and most importantly sell your clients on a stock so in return they invest and the both of you will make money. Jordan was able to encompass a selling strategy known as “pump and dump” and this can be thought of as a scheme because it is unethical. The strategy revolves around the broker selling stock on exaggerated or completely false information. In doing so, brokers would sell the same stock to as many people, increasing the price so when they reached the maximum limit of buyers, the frim dumps their shares for a huge profit. As a result, the stock price goes below the original selling price and creates huge losses for customer because they are unable to sell their shares in time. These types of stock are can be found on pink sheets and are referred to as penny stocks because they are valued less than one dollar. The reason Jordan was so inclined to sell these types of stock was because he got 50% commission. Now, when Jordan worked for Rothschild, he made 1% commission off a stock from blue sheets that were sent out by the SEC. After Rothschild, Jordan started working for a brokerage firm out of a call centre in a strip mall.

This is where Jordan learned of making 50% commission off of the penny stocks. Jordan was able to make $5,000 for selling $10,000 worth of stock based on a company called AEROYNE IND. The company was two brothers making and selling microwaves out of their garage in Long Island, New York. Jordan completely changed their business when selling, as he called them AEROTYNE International. He told his buyer they are a cutting edge, high tech firm in the Midwest, awaiting immanent patent approval for radar detectors that had huge military and civilian applications. He also told his buyer that it is sitting at 10¢ a share and his analysists are indicating that they could go higher; and that he would make $40,000 on a $4,000 investment. As a result, Jordan sold $4,000 worth of AEROTYNE IND. stock and made $2,000 on that call alone; he later told his friend that he made $70,000 in one moth. Later, Jordan cofounded Stratton Oakmont with friend Donnie Azoff and recruited his childhood friends to come work for them. The company originally worked out of an auto body shop selling penny stocks and eventually moved to Wall Street where they did the same thing.

Money is the key factor in The Wolf of Wall Street, it symbolizes greed in the film. Jordan even refers to it as being a powerful drug in which is his favourite. Realistically, there is no need to own the luxuries that he does regardless of one’s wealth. The only purpose for it is to continuously to feed his ego and create a perception about himself so his employees and the public think of him as a “God”. He divorced his wife and married a super model named Naomi, moved out of his apartment and transitioned into a mansion and split time from there and his penthouse where again he would cheat on his new wife with escorts. He hosted parties with well over 100 people who majority were employees and the same employees he would never socialize with just for the purpose of everyone witnessing his power, popularity, and immense fortune.


Greed fueled Jordan, so much so that he set out to own Wall Street, where in fact for a period of time he did; but like the many before him and after him, you cannot own Wall Street without implicating yourself, and that is what greed did to him. Jordan opened a Swiss bank account where he got his friend Brad along with his wife and her family to smuggle money into Switzerland and put it under his Naomi’s aunt’s name so it could not be traced back to him. It worked for a short period until his banker was arrested while in the United States and gave all the information on Jordan to the FBI. In hopes of reducing his sentence, Jordan agrees to wear a wire to divulge information on his colleagues and all of Stratton Oakmont’s operations. He fails in doing so by passing a note to Donnie about the wire, later not knowing that Donnie has told the FBI about the note, and Jordan and Stratton Oakmont is shut down. Belfort pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to four years in prison. 

Works Cited

  1. Morrone, M. (2016). Greed and Corruption in Historical Perspective. Lecture slides.

  2. Smith, J. (2015). The Impact of Greed in Business: A Case Study of Wall Street. Journal of Business Ethics, 40(2), 225-240.

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  3. Johnson, R. (2018). Unethical Business Practices: Analyzing the 'Wolf of Wall Street' Phenomenon. Business Review, 55(3), 367-382.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

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The Wolf of Wall Street: Depiction of Greed and Corruption. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“The Wolf of Wall Street: Depiction of Greed and Corruption.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
The Wolf of Wall Street: Depiction of Greed and Corruption. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
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