Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, unscrupulously successful Wall Street businessman
New York City, Spring 1985
Film: Wall Street
Release Date: December 11, 1987
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Tailor: Martin Greenfield
BAMF Style is back to business on this Monday morning, taking a suggestion from readers Jose, Andrey, and Ryan to heed the style—if not the business ethos—of Gordon Gekko, the corporate business raider of Wall Street who managed the task of making Charlie Sheen look like not such a bad guy.
“Greed…is good,” is how Wall Street is often best remembered, paraphrasing the famous speech given by Gekko while also summarizing his drive. Although frequently included in lists of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” (#57 by AFI and #70 by Premiere), it’s perhaps even more unnerving to know that it was inspired by the real words of stock trader Ivan Boesky. In 1986, the year before Wall Street was made, Boesky told the graduating class at the University of California:
Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.
Of course, Boesky became infamous for paying $100 million that year to the SEC to settle insider trading charges, but the damage was done and the dangerous “greed is good” mentality led to a generation redefining capitalism with unrestrained avarice. Two decades later, everyone from Australian PM Kevin Rudd to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone cited the “greed is good” ideology as a direct cause of the 2007 financial crisis. “It is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn the full lessons of the greed-is-good ideology,” realized Rudd in a 2008 speech. “We are still cleaning up the mess of the 21st-century children of Gordon Gekko.” Continue reading