Martin Scorsese Had To Fight To Keep A Scene In His Best Movie

Martin Scorsese had to fight to keep the yacht sinking scene in The Wolf of Wall Street.

By James Brizuela | Published

It’s hard to imagine that Martin Scorsese is subject to having to delete many scenes in his movies, especially with movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, which sits at a whopping 3-hour runtime. Well, Terence Winter, screenwriter of The Wolf of Wall Street, told The Hollywood Reporter that Scorsese had to fight to keep the yacht stranded at sea scene to be in the movie. According to Winter, “Because [the script] was so long, you know, the fear was there were going be things that we were gonna have to cut — like the sequence where the boat sinks and they get rescued at sea.”

Terrence Winter added, “To his credit, Marty just kept fighting and said, ‘We have to have that. I have to have that.'” Winter had been worried that the script being so long and that scene being so expensive, it was going to end up on the “chopping block” but Martin Scorsese begged for it to remain in the movie. Winter also revealed that Scorsese needed the scene to remain in the movie because it actually happened.

Leonardo DiCaprio

During the scene in question, Jordan Belfort is defeated after trying to get from Italy to Monaco to ensure that his overseas account isn’t seized by the federal authorities after his wife’s aunt dies and is in sole possession of the account. Jordan must then go to Switzerland to sign the documents that would have saved him millions of dollars after his Swiss connection forges his aunt’s signature to sign over the account back to him. Well, his yacht goes directly into a storm and sinks, and everyone on the yacht must be saved by helicopter, which also doesn’t go the right way.

That’s not the only revelation about The Wolf of Wall Street, as Martin Scorsese’s editor for the movie, Thelma Schoonmaker, revealed that there’s a four-hour cut that exists. However, Scorsese and studio sources have downplayed that it exists at all. According to Schoonmaker, “People loved the four-hour cut.”

Martin Scorsese had also toyed with the idea of releasing The Wolf of Wall Street as a two-part movie, though he realized that it would not have worked if they had done so. We might not ever see this four-hour cut, but we would imagine that even more of Jordan Belfort’s wild exploits are deeply laden within that version of the movie. Those exploits are far more detailed in his memoir anyway, which is obviously the basis for the movie.

The Wolf of Wall Street, despite not being four hours long, was a monumental achievement for Martin Scorsese and company. The performances in the movie would lead to nominations at the Academy Awards in Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill. The Scorsese-led feature also was up for Best Picture, though it lost to 12 Years a Slave.

For those who want to find out more about what transpired that wasn’t in this Martin Scorsese masterpiece, the Jordan Belfort memoir is available to read at any time. The memoir shares the same title as the movie, and both are wild journeys of drugs, fraud, and far more. The Wolf of Wall Street should have been the movie in which DiCaprio won his Best Actor Academy Award, but that is an entirely different conversation to have.