There’s an easy comparison I can make after revisiting Wall Street in light of the financial shenanigans of the past decade (and then some). You know what it is: the money-hungry mentality of the ‘80s displayed in that film was in full force in recent years, too. Leaving aside the technology on display, which was cutting-edge at the time but sticks out like a sore thumb in 2012, Wall Street could easily be passed off as being set in the today’s world.
The thing is, that mentality never left. It existed before the ‘80s, it’s still around now, and it will be with us forever. There will always be human beings hell-bent on personal gain, no matter what the cost. There will always be people who think the end justifies the means, that if they die with enough toys, they win.
“I always saw my Wall Street script as an extension of my Scarface script,” says director Oliver Stone in the Money Never Sleeps documentary on this Blu-ray disc. Gordon Gekko is Tony Montana, only without the cocaine and the weapons. And he’s still around.
“What shook me was the adoration of Gordon Gekko,” Michael Douglas says in Money Never Sleeps, recounting the times real Wall Street employees have approached him and expressed admiration for the character. Sadly, he shouldn’t have been surprised. Unabashed love for a Wall Street character might not be in vogue today, given the financial cliff this country almost went over a few years ago, but I still hear adoration for Tony Soprano, who I’m sure would have expressed love for Gekko on The Sopranos if the subject had come up.
If you’ve never seen Wall Street, you owe it to yourself to watch young, idealistic Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) descend into a personal hell as Gekko takes him under his wing and grooms him to follow the “greed is good” philosophy famously espoused in this film. The pair of them play off each other well, Douglas playing the personification of evil and Sheen portraying a fresh-faced kid who gets more than he bargained for. Martin Sheen takes on the role of Bud’s father, a guy who believes in working hard, playing by the rules, and staying loyal to the company.
The Money Never Sleeps documentary runs almost an hour and was ported over from a DVD release of the movie. Complementing it is Greed is Good, another hour-long piece that was created for a recent 20th anniversary DVD. It brings back the cast members from the earlier documentary and adds other actors, along with several real Wall Street folks.
Also ported over from earlier releases is Stone’s commentary, in which he talks about his deceased father’s Wall Street work and how it influenced the film, among other interesting topics. It’s a good track, although he lapses into prolonged periods of silence during the second half of the film.
Stone also offers commentary on top of the 24 minutes worth of deleted scenes, which were previously available too. Among them is an extended version of Gekkos’ famous speech.
Finally, the only new supplement is a 12-minute clip with former Fox executive Tom Rothman, who waxes corporate while talking about the movie. He doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been said already on the disc, and ironically, he comes across like just another Wall Street hustler trying to drum up a big score.
Wall Street has been out on DVD and Blu-ray a few times before, but this is a “Filmmakers Signature Series” edition that has been approved by Stone. The video quality appears to be the best seen on home video, so if you have one of the previous releases that has the bonus features detailed above but you want the best possible picture quality on your HDTV, this release is worth the upgrade.