Oliver Stone's WALL STREET

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SCHOLARLY ARTICLES

Beaver, Frank"Wall Street" Oliver Stone: Wakeup Cinema. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1994.  99-111.
    This scholarly article written on Oliver Stone’s Wall Street believes that there are three central themes to focus on when analyzing this film.  The first draws a parallel between Wall Street and Platoon.  The two films are similar in that they are narrative in style and both main characters struggle with some type of inner conflict.  Most importantly, though, is the concept of the "two fathers," one good and one evil, battling for control over the morals of the "son."  In Wall Street the hard-working Carl Fox and the cutthroat businessman Gordon Gekko represents the fathers.
     The second focus is on the maturing of Bud Fox.  As the movie progresses we can see the unraveling of Bud’s life. As the pressure mounts we begin to see Bud realize the evil in Gekko and return to his true values.  Then once he has this newfound virtue he destroys the "bad father" and redeems himself.
     The third focus is on Bud’s biological father and the relationship that he and Bud have.  In the beginning of the movie Bud leans on his father for emotional and financial support.  As the movie progresses we see Bud breaking away from his own father to embrace a new life style.  In the end Bud returns to the comfort of his father and to the values he was brought up with.  This relationship is analogous to the teenage years when a teenager at first relies on the parents but then rebels against them only to later understand and return to the family.

Boozer, Jack Jr. "Wall Street: The Commodification of Perception." The Films of Oliver Stone. Ed. Donald Kunz. London: Scarecrow, 1997. 127-143.
    This scholarly article analyzes the effect of Gordon Gekko, or at least this type of person, in the business world. Kunz writes, "Gekko’s attraction, therefore, is both disdained and indulged in a way that suggests a blank or ironic parody." The author discusses that Gordon Gekko represents "the new American dream." This concept refers to the American concept of attaining massive wealth and becoming a ruthless business tycoon. This is in opposition to the "original" American dream of having a nice small house and being able to raise a family and provide for them.  Boozer compares and contrasts Gekko to the Great Gatsby. "Unlike Gatsby, who at least dreams of a future, Gekko sells the future into debt for cash returns now." The main contrast is that Gatsby accumulates his wealth to satisfy a personal goal. Gekko accumulates wealth because of his "worship of the almighty dollar for its own sake." "Gekko is meant to represent a level of cynical detachment and aggressive self-interest that exists at the pinnacle of the financial empire."
    The author also goes into detail about the purpose of Wall Street. He claims that it highlights the "interior workings" (at the time a new idea) of power brokering, desire, and speculative dealings. Boozer elaborates on the fact that "Speculators thrive where monetary values have invaded the foundation of every domain of the cultural and private awareness."  Another aspect that Wall Street brings to the forefront is the "salesmanship and packaging, the creation or the image." Boozer discusses how the image of the broker and the image of the actual business is far removed from what the company can actually produce and what its true value is. This image is based on "liquid capital, credit, information, and timing."  Boozer then proceeds to give a synopsis of the movie, charting Bud Fox’s eventual demise and realization of true values. Further into the article Boozer draws comparisons between Wall Street and other movies such as Working Girl, Executive Suite, and Sabrina.
 
 
Kagan, Norman. "Wall Street." The Cinema of Oliver Stone. New York: Continuum Publishing, 1995. 112-129.
    Kagan focuses on the changes to the script made before the final film reached the box office.  Stone changed the story line several times by making a "non-Jewish" Bud Fox; by having Darien side with Gekko at the end; and by adding more "realism" through stockholder's meetings.  Kagan also focuses on Stone’s directing techniques throughout the movie.  Stone likes to be "astonished" by his actors, and he encourages spontaneity throughout the cast.  Stone wants "the camera to be a predator" to further emphasize the killer attitude on Wall Street.  He carefully plans both the setting and costumes, making every detail as realistic as possible.  Although Stone tries to make his movie as realistic as possible, "we never really know the ‘truths’ or ‘facts’ about the major characters or situations."  The audience never learns what happens to any of the major players at the end, except Bud Fox.  Kagan concludes his review by quoting both positive and negative comments made by other critics about the movie.
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Salewicz, Chris. "Wall Street. " Oliver Stone Close Up. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1997. 43-50.
    In this review, Salewicz explains the reasons why Oliver Stone produced Wall Street and Stone’s feelings about the outcome of his production.  Stone’s Father, Lou Stone who was a real Wall Street stock broker, inspired him to create a movie about the greed and corruption found in America during the 80s.  Many of the characters in the movie were based on Stone’s friends or family.  Stone modeled Gekko after a "multimillionaire" friend he had in the 80s, and he modeled Hal Holbrook after his father.
    The production was filmed in New York and some scenes were even filmed at the New York Stock Exchange to make the movie as accurate as possible.  Stone made his film ahead of schedule, in fear of  a Director’s Guild strike.  Stone replies to this quick completion: "I would rather turn out something fast, get it over with, give the gold crown to someone else so I can get on with doing things that I really care about, which are ideas.  I am ready to take the fall." Although Stone didn’t really care about the outcome of the film and many critics quoted in this review felt that Stone did not do a good job with Wall Street, Salewicz concludes that: "Oliver Stone had the last laugh.  Wall Street took in over $100 million worldwide, and in the 1987 Academy Awards, Michael Douglas won the Oscar for Best Actor."