Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is a darkly comic crime epic that tells the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s rise to power and fall from grace. While the movie opened to positive reviews, it was criticized by some viewers who felt that it glamorized Belfort’s white-collar criminal lifestyle.
The film’s sense of humor and accurate depiction of Wall Street antics do make that lifestyle look fun. But ultimately, it all becomes too much. That’s the message – a life of excess, as the name would suggest, is too much to handle. Here are 10 Quotes From The Wolf Of Wall Street That We Can All Relate To.
There are plenty of motivational quotes in The Wolf of Wall Street. The movie poses Jordan Belfort as something of a role model and many scenes revolve around him rallying his troops on the trading floor. This was noted as a negative point by some critics, as a guy who scams the poor for his own profit is hardly a hero. However, there are some lines in the movie that speak a lot of truth, like the one were Jordan basically utters a piece of advice found in the first chapter of most self-help books.
Jordan Belfort has an interesting attitude towards money. He wasn’t raised into a rich family. He grew up in a small apartment, raised by two middle-class accountants. Belfort would eventually become one of the richest people in the world by lying to investors and what he learned was that the idea that earning money honestly and working hard for a steady paycheck is overrated. As someone familiar with both the rich and poor man's worlds, Jordan definitely favors the former.
We’re introduced to Jonah Hill’s character Donnie Azoff early in the movie as he approaches Jordan Belfort and talks to him about the world of brokerage. He asks him, “How much money you make?” Jordan says, “$70,000 last month.” Instantly, an incredulous Donnie says, “Get the f**k outta here!” Jordan corrects himself: “Well, technically, $72,000 last month.”
Then Donnie makes the sweeping declaration, “You show me a pay stub for $72,000, I quit my job right now and work for you.” Seconds later, we cut straight to the outside of the diner, as Donnie speaks to his boss on a pay phone. He says, with perfect comic delivery from Hill, “Hey, Paulie, what’s up? No, everything’s fine. Hey, listen, I quit!”
When the feds finally catch up to Jordan and he’s temporarily placed under house arrest, Donnie comes over to visit him. Jordan asks him if he wants a beer and tells him he’s drinking non-alcoholic beer after getting sober. Donnie doesn’t get the concept of non-alcoholic beer.
Donnie says, “I can’t imagine ever not enjoying getting f**ked up,” and asks, “How’s being sober?” Jordan says, “It f**kin’ sucks.” Now, in all fairness, Jordan's criminal status at the time probably did not help the whole sobriety thing.
One of the most surprising turns in The Wolf of Wall Street is that Jordan Belfort was ultimately brought down by the CEO of Benihana. Belfort explains that the criminal charge that ended his career
Something about laundering drug money through off-shore boat racing and a guy named Rocky Aoki. You know, the founder of Benihana...Why would you be so cruel as to choose a chain of fucking hibachi restaurants to take me down?!
Later, during a visit, Donnie tells Jordan, “I’ll tell you what, I’m never eating at Benihana again. I don’t care whose birthday it is.”
One of the most cinematic sequences during the whopping three-hour runtime of The Wolf of Wall Street is when Jordan demands that his sailor get his yacht through a storm so that he can deal with a business problem. The bottom deck of the yacht floods and it seems like they might not make it. Jordan tells Donnie to go downstairs and “get the ‘ludes.” Donnie says, “I can’t go down there! It’s flooded! It’s three feet of water down there!” and then Jordan utters these immortal words: “I will not die sober! Get those f**kin’ ‘ludes!” Who wants to die sober?
One of the most underrated performances in The Wolf of Wall Street is that of Kyle Chandler as the FBI agent who brings Belfort to his ultimate downfall. Their passive-aggressive conversation on the deck of Belfort’s yacht stands as one of the most well-acted scenes in recent memory.
As the movie goes on, Chandler’s character becomes increasingly blunt with Belfort. In the end, he just tells him, “Let me give you a little legal advice: Shut the f**k up!” To be fair, this is great legal advice. If you say nothing, then the feds have nothing. It’s as simple as that. That’s why they’re trained to interrogate people.
Jordan Belfort is great at giving motivational speeches to his staff, like this one: “So, you listen to me and you listen well. Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing! Is your landlord ready to evict you? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing! Does your girlfriend think you’re a f**king worthless loser? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing! I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich! All you have to do today is pick up that phone and speak the words that I have taught you. And I will make you richer than the most powerful CEO in the United States of f**king America!”
When the feds try to oust Jordan Belfort from his own brokerage company, he refuses to go. Instead, he gives an impassioned speech about it:
This right here is the land of opportunity. This is America. This is my home! The show goes on! They’re gonna need to send in the National Guard to take me out, ‘cause I ain’t going nowhere!
Nobody likes being told what to do – although, for most of us, the demands don’t come from the FBI as a result of a federal investigation – so we can all relate to Belfort’s declaration.
There’s an interesting story about where this line came from. On the way to the set to film the Diner scene, the cop who was assigned to guard Leonardo DiCaprio told him that he was once interviewed for a job by the real Jordan Belfort. During the interview, Belfort handed him a pen and said, “Sell me this pen.”
So, DiCaprio incorporated it into the scene. When the actors roll with this, it’s pure improvisation. In the end, it became so iconic and memorable that it was brought back in the movie’s final moments at a conference hosted by Belfort to show how disappointed he is with the next generation of business minds.