Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is easily one of the director’s most fast-paced and expletive-laden films ever made, setting a record for the most F-bombs ever dropped in a movie. The film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort and how he went from a mere stockbroker on wall street to helming a profitable and rule-breaking firm. He rose to a level of success where more money led to bigger houses, more drugs, and tougher problems to deal with as he navigated around the law. Belfort played by Leonardo DiCaprio is one of his most eccentric and over-the-top roles to date.
The Wolf of Wall Street is of Scorsese’s most notable financial hits in addition to being an awards darling, garnering Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. It was a fast-paced ride of a picture that showcases how American greed can have a massive high but also descend into depressing and tragic lows as Belfort has it all and loses it all. Much like Belfort’s many addictions, you may find yourself craving something similar in terms of films. You may be seeking something more about crime and greed with a stylish edge and skilled direction. Thankfully, you won’t have to look far. In fact, you can simply look below at these ten movies most like The Wolf of Wall Street.
Naturally, when mentioning any movie about stocks, it’s hard not to think of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, a scathing and engrossing picture about making money through stocks and illegal practices. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a young stockbroker seeking to find the fastest way to get to the top of the economic tower in the 1980s. He soon finds a mentor in the unsurpassed cunning of expert broker Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) who decides to take Bud under his wing. The more Bud learns about Gordon’s methods and philosophy, however, the more he questions just where his loyalties lie when his father (Martin Sheen) becomes a part of this scheme as well. The film was nominated for the Academy Award of Best Actor (Michael Douglas) and eventually continued the story of Gordon Gekko in 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
The Big Short
Director Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) takes a dramedy approach to Michael Lewis’s novel about the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The film follows a handful of people in 2008 and follows their actions leading up to a market crash. Michael Burry is an expert in the stock market and can see something dangerous on the horizon, leading to him betting against the stock market with over a billion dollars in credit default swaps. At the same time, the banker Jared Vennett and hedge-fund expert Mark Baum take notice of this development and make the tough call of deciding to take advantage of a greedy situation that will damage the lives of millions. Directed with compelling detail and dark humor, the film features an all-star cast that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt.
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) directs and co-writes this mixture of black comedy and crime drama inspired by the FBI Abscam operation. It’s the story of con artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser. They started off small with a handful of scams but then stepped up their game for bigger targets. Their antics soon get them caught by the FBI and they’re forced into a sting operation to bust the mayor of New Jersey. But a combination of misunderstandings and sexual fury could jeopardize the mission. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and featured an all-star cast that included Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C. K., Michael Peña, and Alessandro Nivola.
In yet another case of a comedy director pursuing a true story of criminality, Todd Phillips (The Hangover) directs this dramedy based on Efraim Diveroli’s memoir Once a Gun Runner and a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson. The film follows the duo of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz as they set out to become arms dealers. They landed a big US contract for supplying ammo to the Afghan National Army. Though the business proves to be successful it becomes all the more dangerous when they find themselves dealing with military forces that may not take too kindly to them not delivering the goods. As a mixture of fiction and reality, the film stars Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, and Bradley Cooper.
Seth Davis finds himself going from being a college drop-out running an unlicensed casino to becoming part of an exciting brokerage firm. Based out of Long Island Expressway, the firm known as J.T. Marlin promises that Seth can become a wealthy businessman if he plays his cards right. A slew of young and hungry brokers set out to attain a big score by any means necessary to dupe buyers. Those who are successful will win the big prizes of mansions and cars. But success may come at a price considering their questionable business practices. This intense-fueled crime drama was written and directed by Ben Younger (Prime) and stars Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, and Ben Affleck.
Of course, there’s a lot of films by Scorsese that reflect the similar nature of The Wolf of Wall Street, depicting American figures who have a rise and fall in crime. You could pick any number of his films ranging from the corrupt gambling establishment in Casino to the working-class intrigue of The Irishman. But if there’s one absolute must-watch that oozes with the same atmosphere and pacing, it’s gotta be Goodfellas. Based on the biographical novel Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, the film follows the rise to mobster life of Henry Hill and his desires to be a gangster. The all-star casting of this well-shot and expertly-directed crime drama includes Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, and Paul Sorvino.
Glengarry Glen Ross
The life of a salesman never looked and sounded as intense as it does in David Mamet’s expertly written Glengarry Glen Ross, based on his play of the same name. The film finds a collective of men desperate to make a sale having the stakes raised so high that their jobs are on the line. The job becomes far more personal as dirty tactics are used and the rivalry revs up to a boiling conclusion. Directed by James Foley (At Close Range), the all-star ensemble cast includes Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, and Jonathan Pryce.
Thank You For Smoking
Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) directs this scathing satire of the tobacco industry based on the novel of the same title by Christopher Buckley. Nick Naylor is considered the golden messenger of the tobacco industry for being chosen as the good-looking and slicktalking spokesman. He peddles misinformation and bribery to keep the tobacco industry a constant and various groups unquestioning of the business. But Nick is finding that life harder to maintain when trying to raise his son, leading to him questioning his own morality when he lies for a living. The film features a wealth of talent that includes Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Cameron Bright, Adam Brody, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, David Koechner, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy, J. K. Simmons, and Robert Duvall.
Based on the 2008 financial crisis, Margin Call showcases how the inner workings of an investment bank crumble within the span of 24 hours. An analyst uncovers some damaging information about the coming crash of markets and the rest of the firm scrambles to control the damage. While some may do enough to work another day, it could be the end of the line for many within the firm who find no future ahead of them. Some of the employees may even be considering suicide when things seem so bleak. Directed by J. C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), this financial thriller stars Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci.
The Social Network
Director David Fincher (Fight Club) and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The American President) tackle the rise and personal faults of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg first conceived of the idea about a social website in college which he developed out of spite. Soon, that website transformed into Facebook and it wasn’t long before such an experiment turned into the very business of social media. But as Mark rises in power with his company, he soon comes to destroy the friendships and working relationships of those around him, making him more alienated as his business practices grow more shrewd and vicious. Nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), this docudrama of a rising internet business stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Max Minghella.