The book The Wolf of Wall Street (2008) is a story about greed and excess in American capitalism. It is the true story of a man called Jordan Belfort who was bankrupt at the age of 24, but by the age of 26 was making nearly a million dollars a week selling penny stocks on Wall Street through his company Stratton Oakmont. This company functioned as a boiler room marketing the stocks and defrauding investors with fraudulent stock sales. He was indicted by the FBI in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering, receiving a four year sentence. Belfort was ordered to pay $110 million in restitution. The story was the inspiration for the 2000 movie Boiler Room and the 2014 movie called The Wolf of Wall Street (ironically with Leonardo Di Caprio playing the lead role.) Similarities between Belfort’s story and The Great Gatsby include, both Belfort and Gatsby acquired their wealth through illegal means, both got caught in their lies, both were born into poor families, both lived lavish lifestyles and both ended up being punished, although in much different ways. Belfort was sent to jail, whilst Gatsby was killed.
This story speaks about the nature of success and how we measure it, much like The Great Gatsby. Belfort’s story can be seen to symbolise all that is wrong with the idea of success in America, he had to lie, cheat and manipulate people so he could gain wealth and success and a glamorous lifestyle. For all this he was celebrated by many as one of the great investors of his time, breaking company records and throwing lavish parties. Though he struggled much like Gatsby and was found out much like Gatsby, I believe his story can be seen as a contemporary Great Gatsby.
The two links below are for the trailers of the films Boiler Room and The Wolf of Wall Street.