In the latest hiccup in society worth noting, regular joe internet investors have been boosting up the prices of AMC, GameStop, and various other stocks, which has traditional hedge fund guys on Wall Street (hoping to short those same stocks) crying foul and losing billions in the process.
Because we know this will continue to be buzzing news, we thought we'd pick out the 9 best movies Hollywood's produced about Wall Street - so that you can see how the elite traders have been depicted on film so far...and reflect even further on efforts by the everyman to stick it to 'em.
The Wolf of Wall Street
If asked what a Wall Street party might look like, this is the film we'd recommend. Based on the true life of Jordan Belfort, the film provides an up-close look at the broker's creation of a lucrative, totally illegal empire, complete with the drugs, women and other shenanigans that make up highly toxic, thoroughly decadent operations.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Biography / 2013
In 1987, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) takes an entry-level job at a Wall Street brokerage firm. By the early 1990s, while still in his 20s, Belfort founds his own firm, Stratton Oakmont. Together with his trusted lieutenant (Jonah Hill) and a merry band of brokers, Belfort makes a huge fortune by defrauding wealthy investors out of millions. However, while Belfort and his cronies partake in a hedonistic brew of sex, drugs and thrills, the SEC and the FBI close in on his empire of excess.
The Big Short
Based on the 2008 housing crisis, the film shows how key players identified an upcoming crash in the market, and bet against housing for their own financial gain. It's a serious affair with an enjoyable ensemble cast, including Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt. It's also a highly informative and important motion picture.
The Big Short
Comedy Drama / 2015
In 2008, Wall Street guru Michael Burry realizes that a number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting. Burry bets against the housing market by throwing more than $1 billion of his investors' money into credit default swaps. His actions attract the attention of banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and other greedy opportunists. Together, these men make a fortune by taking full advantage of the impending economic collapse in America.
Acting more as a tale inspired by the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the film brings audiences into a delicate situation happening at an investment firm. Within a 24-hour period, the company finds itself on the brink of falling apart, and needing to work together to decide what the next best step is... even if it means burning the bridges and relationships they've spent years building.
Drama / 2011
When an analyst uncovers information that could ruin them all, the key players (Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany) at an investment firm take extreme measures to control the damage.
Looking for a crash course on what it means to be involved in insider trading on Wall Street? You've found it, in this no-holds-barred 80s account directed by Oliver Stone, which espouses the motto, "greed is good." Michael Douglas is the ruthless veteran broker vying for the soul of newcomer Charlie Sheen, who tries to hold onto his roots while still making it big. Charlie's real-life dad Martin Sheen plays his father, and the voice of conscience in the film.
Drama / 1987
On the Wall Street of the 1980s, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a stockbroker full of ambition, doing whatever he can to make his way to the top. Admiring the power of the unsparing corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), Fox entices Gekko into mentoring him by providing insider trading. As Fox becomes embroiled in greed and underhanded schemes, his decisions eventually threaten the livelihood of his scrupulous father (Martin Sheen). Faced with this dilemma, Fox questions his loyalties.
This Wall Street entry's the funniest on our list, pairing up comedic legends and SNL alums Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. The two icons end up switching places as unknowing participants in a rigged social experiment. Once they discover the ruse, they try to flip the script on the wealthy rich, codger snobs who set up the experiment in the first place.
Comedy / 1983
Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a bet by successful brokers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy). An employee of the Dukes, Winthorpe is framed by the brothers for a crime he didn't commit, with the siblings then installing the street-smart Valentine in his position. When Winthorpe and Valentine uncover the scheme, they set out to turn the tables on the Dukes.
Glengarry Glen Ross
Our next pick is famously known for Alec Baldwin's ABC (Always. Be. Closing.) speech, which can either be seen as inspiring or super demeaning. In our opinion, we would say it's the latter. It's a salesman-esque environment similar to Wall Street that consists of a lot of memorable A-List (Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Jack Lemon, Alan Arkin) backstabbing and name calling.
Glengarry Glen Ross
Drama / 1992
When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon), who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss (Ed Harris) comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.
Showing that young star Christian Bale is a force to be reckoned with, this pick depicts the double life of a psychopath trying to climb the corporate ladder...even if he has to literally kill his way to the top. Bale's psycho is constantly on the edge of murdering an animal or person, but he sometimes seems conflicted before he executes on his decisions.
Horror / 2000
In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as a gruesome serial killer by night. The cast is filled by the detective (Willem Dafoe), the fiance (Reese Witherspoon), the mistress (Samantha Mathis), the coworker (Jared Leto), and the secretary (Chloë Sevigny). This is a biting, wry comedy examining the elements that make a man a monster.
This fast-paced flick has a bunch of young hopefuls doing whatever it takes to rake in dough for their brokerage firm. Sometimes these guys are moving so fast towards getting green in their pockets, they're not at all looking closely at what they're actually selling. Keep a close eye on Affleck in what's basically the Gen X version of Alec Baldwin's character in "Glengarry Glen Ross."
Drama / 2000
Welcome to the infamous "boiler room" -- where twenty something millionaires are made overnight. Here, in the inner sanctum of a fly-by-night brokerage firm, hyper-aggressive young stock jocks peddle to unsuspecting buyers over the phone -- and are rewarded with mansions, Ferraris and more luxury toys than they know what to do with. In this unassuming Long Island enclave, Gen Xers chase the green at breakneck speeds, sometimes one step ahead of the law.
Our final pick is another film based on a true story - this one about Nick Leeson and his employment at Barings Bank. Leeson is a booze-fueled loose cannon when it comes to making risky trades, but his confidence and successful business take him straight to the top, becoming one of Barings' key traders. The only thing for him, though...sometimes when you make too risky of a trade, losing is no longer an option.
Drama / 1999
This drama, based on a true story, follows Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor), a young British man working at Barings, a major investment bank. Sent to Singapore and placed in a position of authority at the bank's branch there, Leeson takes advantage of the thriving Asian market to make risky trades. Before long, he's in over his head and tries to hide the losses. Fleeing the country with his beautiful wife, Lisa (Anna Friel), Leeson eventually has to face the consequences of his actions.