Script To Screen: “Wall Street”

A scene from the 1987 movie Wall Street.

IMDb plot summary: A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.

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Here is the scene from the script:

The scene from the movie:

A few cuts in dialogue:

  • “When I came in in ’69, they traded six hours a day, now the clock don’t stop, London’s deregulated, the Orient is hungrier than us. Just let the money circle the world, sport, buying and selling, and if you’re smart it comes back paying.”
  • “…an old Russian proverb — ‘a fisherman always sees another fisherman from afar.” I like you sport, I ever tell you that… Gordon, call me Gordon from now on.”
  • “Remember, power is the best aphrodisiac.”

The first side doesn’t feel necessary, particularly in that Gekko makes the same point about the liquidity of money in a more dramatic way later on.

The second cut — the bonding of Gekko and Bud — is implied in their conversation and the fact Gekko just put $800K into Bud’s account.

The third side is also extraneous as the point is present in virtually every line of Gekko’s dialogue.

The most interesting thing about the scene is Gekko suddenly stopping himself as he witnesses the sunrise. It is a brief moment, but reflects a layer of his humanity we haven’t seen. This makes him a more complex and interesting Nemesis figure.

Takeaways: (1) Cut dialogue which conveys themes or dynamics already present either through other dialogue or a character’s actions. (2) Find the humanity in your Nemesis characters to make them something more than a stereotype.

For more articles in the Script To Screen series, go here.

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