Martin Scorsese is known as one of the most influential and acclaimed filmmakers in cinematic history, having built his reputation as a director, producer, screenwriter, and film historian. He’s probably best known for 1976’s Taxi Driver, 1990’s Goodfellas, 2002’s Gangs of New York, and 2004’s The Aviator. These films point towards two actors Scorsese likes collaborating with: Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio. With Killers of the Flower Moon scheduled to release at the end of October, let’s explore another collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio—The Wolf of Wall Street.
Leonardo Dicaprio and Martin Scorsese have worked together before Killers of the Flower Moon, including The Wolf of Wall Street, now streaming on Netflix.
Released in 2013, The Wolf of Wall Street, an epic biographical black comedy crime film based on Jordan Belfort’s 2007 memoir of the same name, recounts Belfort’s career as a stockbroker in NYC and how his company, Stratton Oakmont, engaged in rampant corruption and fraud on Wall Street—which eventually led to his downfall. The movie opens up with Jordan losing his job following Black Monday, after which he takes a job at a boiler room brokerage company on Long Island specializing in penny stocks.
He then employs his Wall Street knowledge and makes a small fortune thanks to his aggressive pitching style and high commissions. He goes on to open up his own brokerage company and trains several of his friends in the art of the hard sell. His tactics and salesmanship largely contribute to the success of his schemes and, subsequently, his company’s success. After all that happens, and he becomes immensely popular, Jordan descends into a decadent lifestyle of prostitutes and drugs while his company gains the attention of the SEC and the FBI.
Think of The Wolf of Wall Street as an older and more successful brother to Catch Me If You Can, in which Leonardo DiCaprio once again delivers a charismatic and memorable performance, capturing the complex nature of the character by blending charm with repulsiveness. Besides DiCaprio, The Wolf of the Wall Street also captured the standout performances of Johan Hill, for which Hill received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Unfortunately for Hill, the Award went to Jared Leto for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.
Released in 2013, The Wolf of Wall Street is an epic biographical black comedy crime film based on Jordan Belfort’s 2007 memoir of the same name
The Wolf of the Wall Street was a massive commercial success, earning $406 million worldwide on a $100 million budget, making it one of the highest-grossing movies in 2013. Its financial success at the box office was equally matched by its critical acclaim, which made the entire movie a significant cultural touchstone and cemented DiCaprio and Scorsese as some of the greatest names in cinema. Everyone loved the movie, both the critics and the audiences, with a strong 80 percent on the Tomatometer and 83 percent audience score.
The film’s portrayal of the financial industry’s moral bankruptcy and its criticism of unbridled capitalism struck a chord with the viewers and critics. Martin Scorsese’s direction was (unsurprisingly) praised for its energy and audacity, as he managed to capture the extravagant lifestyle of debauchery led by The Wolf of the Wall Street’s main characters. In contrast, the screenplay was praised for its sharp wit and satirical description of Wall Street excess.
Hill wasn’t the only one nominated for an Academy Award for The Wolf of Wall Street; DiCaprio was also nominated as critics believed that his portrayal of Jordan Belfort was one of his best performances, but the shiny Oscars eluded the actor again. The online community made a meme based on the fact that a highly acclaimed actor, such as DiCaprio, went years without winning an Academy Award. He finally received an award for an entirely different film in 2016 called The Revenant, which follows the story of a legendary frontiersman, Hugh Glass.
The Wolf of the Wall Street was a massive commercial success, earning $406 million worldwide on a $100 million budget, making it one of the highest-grossing movies in 2013.
Regardless, The Wolf of Wall Street is a testament to DiCaprio’s willingness to take on challenging and morally complex roles, perfectly matching Scorsese’s visionary direction. The pair is again set to rejoin forces for Killers of the Flower Moon, an epic Western crime drama that centers on a series of Oklahoma murders in the Osage nation during the 1920s, committed after the black gold was discovered on tribal land. If you’re unsure whether you should watch Killers of the Flower Moon, we suggest taking a look at The Wolf of the Wall Street, which is currently on streaming.