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.
Here is the scene from the script:
INT. BUD'S APARTMENT - PRE-DAWN
Exhausted from the drive back, Bud takes off his sweater and
tie and collapses onto the bed, closing his eyes. The phone
rings. With a start he wakes and answers it.
EXT. GEKKO'S BEACH HOUSE - DAWN
The sky is still dark, the first rays of light coming up
over the ocean. Gekko, a lonely figure in a windbreaker,
restlessly prowls the edge of the beach, waves crashing
around him. He's been up all night and has an exhausted,
driven look as he whispers over the wind into the cellular
Money never sleeps pal. 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. I just
made $800,000 in Hong Kong gold.
It's been wired to you -- play with
it. You done good, but you gotta
keep doing good. I showed you how
the game works, now school's out.
Mr. Gekko, I'm there for you 110%.
You don't understand. I want to be
surprised...astonish me, sport, new
info, don't care where or how you
get it, just get it... My wife
tells me you put a move on Darien.
Here's some inside info for you.
That Euroflash GQ guy she's going
with's got big bucks but he's
putting her feet to sleep. Exit
visas are imminent. So don't lose
your place in line.
(gazing at the surf)
Oh, jeez, I wish you could see this.
The lights coming up over the water.
I've never seen a painting that
captures the beauty of the ocean at
...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.
Yeah, I'm gonna make you rich, Bud
Fox. I'm gonna make you rich enough
you can afford a girl like Darien.
Remember, power is the best
aphrodisiac. This is your wake-up
call. Go to work.
He lets the phone drop to his side, staring glazed-eyed at
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.