Friday, 5 June 2009
"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good," Gordon Gekko in Wall Street circa 1987.
Bud Fox played by Charlie Sheen is a bright, hungry and ambitious stockbroker who punches in hours at Wall Street, the financial district of Manhattan. While his colleagues look forward to bringing in a six figure salary and retiring with a huge pension along with a massive house in Connecticut, Bud longs for more. His idol is arbitrageur, Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas; a man who eats dragons for breakfast and is worth $650. Gekko is Bud's passport out of a life that he regards as mediocre and into one that he craves. After being granted a rare meeting with Mr Gekko, Bud manages to impress him by giving him some inside tips about the airline company that his father works for. This earns Gekko a small fortune and he manipulates Bud into giving him more inside info which puts Bud's career at risk. The 'partnership' with Gekko pays off and pretty soon, Bud is living his ultimate dream. He has a cool bachelor pad on the exclusive Upper East Side, designer suits that start at $500 a pop as well the obligatory leggy blonde girlfriend. His lifestyle goes completely against his father's ethos which is anti capitalism. Bud's father played by Sheen's real Daddy - Martin, is union leader for Bluestar airlines and often urges him to find a more meaningful job. His advice falls on deaf ears as Bud gets more embroiled into the trappings of money and moves further and further into Gekko's clutches.
If any film defined the 80s then this was it; Wall Street represents the excesses of an era that was based on power, consumption and greed. Gordon Gekko with his flash hand made suits, colourful braces and slicked back hair was the epitome of that era. This was the film that put stockbroking and yuppiedom into the mainstream and made it look glamorous. Remember Capital City, the British TV series that was about a group of investment bankers in the city of London? Wall Street was released in 1987 and made a huge impact financially and culturally. The film grossed just over $4 million in the opening weekend and went to make a whooping $43 million in the states. Michael Douglas was praised for his remarkable performance as the charismatic Gekko and went on to win an Oscar. Oliver Stone who based the film on his father who was a former stockbroker really created a gem of a movie here. I have just heard that there is to be a Wall Street 2 with Michael Douglas reprising his role as Gekko. The film will be released next year.