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When Hollywood Imitates Wall Street

Five examples of actors trying to be as cool as bankers




Staring Ewan McGregor as Nick Leeson and Anna Friel as Lisa Leeson. Directed by James Dearden. Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer gives the film a 33% and an average user rating of 54%.

Rogue Trader is based on the story of Nick Leeson, an ambitious investment broker who, in 1995, singlehandedly bankrupted Barings Bank, one of the oldest and most important banks in Britain.

A lesson in back office compliance: Without a back office team monitoring the accounts and catching unauthorized trades, Leeson did what he could to cover up mistakes and gambled on the markets with the banks funds until his scheme collapsed in 1995. He was imprisoned for six and a half years in Singapore for his crime.

Read Wall Street & Technology's Exclusive Interview With Nick Leeson: An Inside Look at Rogue Trading

Memorable Quote

Nick Leeson: [voiceover] Despite rumours of secret bank accounts and hidden millions, I did not profit personally from my unlawful trading. To be absolutely honest, sometimes I wish I had.





Written and directed by J.C Chandor, Margin Call stars Kevin Spacey as Sam Rogers, Head of Sales and Trading. Paul Bettany as Will Emerson, Head of Trading, Jeremy Irons as CEO and Chairman. Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer gives the film a 88% and an average user rating of 74%.

The head of risk management is fired after creating a model that shows the firm is in big trouble. The film then follows the bankers left behind, who struggle over a 24-hour period to save their livelihood, largely by knowingly dumping their toxic assets. (Sound familiar?)

Lesson: The movie seemed to gloss over the consequences on the market and liquidity when selling all the bank's toxic positions. There were no triggers or regulatory involvement. Today, systems and consequences are theoretically in place to predict, alert, and better control the aftershock.

Memorable Quote

Sam Rogers: You are panicking
John Tuld: If you're first out the door, that's not called panicking.
---
John Tuld: There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.


Margin Call was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.


Starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy and directed by John Landis. Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer gives the film a 88% and an average user rating of 85%.

To settle a debate on nature versus nurture, two hot shot commodities brokers make a $1 wager on the results of framing and firing the wealthy trader Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd), and giving his role to a homeless street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy). Valentine quickly learns the business, and after some interesting plot twists, unites with Winthorpe to enact revenge through frozen orange juice futures on the two responsible for the mess.

Memorable Quote

Louis Winthorpe III: [approaching the New York Commodities Exchange] Think big, think positive, never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat. Buy low, sell high. Fear? That's the other guy's problem. Nothing you have ever experienced will prepare you for the absolute carnage you are about to witness. Super Bowl, World Series - they don't know what pressure is. In this building, it's either kill or be killed. You make no friends in the pits and you take no prisoners. One minute you're up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don't go to college and they've repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me?
----
Billy Ray Valentine: Yeah. You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.


Flashback to the 80's stock exchange madness at 1:30:


Trading Places won a Golden Globe for Best Actor and Best Actress in a supporting role and was nomniated for Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy category and Best actor in the same category. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song Score or Adaption Score.


Staring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox, Daryl Hannah and Martin Sheen. Directed and co-written by Oliver Stone. Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer gives the film a 78% and an average user rating of 82%.

Bud Fox is a young stockbroker desperate to succeed and quickly corrupted by his hero and mentor Gordon Gekko. Fox starts to fall apart as Gekko's illicit trading gets away from their control, eventually drawing the attention of the SEC. Ultimately, Fox goes to the police, wears a wire, and turns Gekko in.

Memorable Quote

Gordon Gekko: The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
---
Gordon Gekko:I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought.





Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort and Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer gives the film a 75% and an average user rating of 81%.

Jordan Belfort discovers his talents as a stockbroker, works the phones like no other, and becomes an overnight success. He quickly turns greedy and is tempted by the lavish lifestyle. Fraudulent trades become the norm and attracts the attention of the FBI. No further spoilers here. See it in theaters today.

Memorable Quote

Jordan Belfort: My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.


The Wolf of Wall Street has been nominated for the 2014 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor In a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Directing, and Best Writing of Adapted Screenplay.

 

Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio

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Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
1/22/2014 | 7:52:29 PM
re: When Hollywood Imitates Wall Street
Had to add this bit of advice from Business Insider:

"Bankers: First of all, don't cheer in a movie. It's weird. You can laugh, but no cheering. Second, guffawing while Leo attempts to evade federal indictment doesn't exactly help America's perception of your societal value."
Becca L
50%
50%
Becca L,
User Rank: Author
1/22/2014 | 7:48:22 PM
re: When Hollywood Imitates Wall Street
I also saw that on Business insider..

"When Belfort Gă÷ a drug addict who later attempts to remain sober Gă÷ rips up a couch cushion to get to his secret coke stash, there were cheers."

How assuring.

http://www.businessinsider.com...
KBurger
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50%
KBurger,
User Rank: Author
1/17/2014 | 6:30:20 PM
re: When Hollywood Imitates Wall Street
I read an article about a screening of the film held downtown for a Wall Street (traders) audience. Evidently they cheered every dispicable & degenerate act portrayed on the screen. The reporter felt this response was more damning of the audience then the film itself. This is a movie where you can project whatever attitudes (greed is good/bad, yea free markets, sex drugs rock & roll, jail the bankers, or whatever) you have on to it.
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