Top 12 Enthralling Movies Like 'The Wolf of Wall Street'
Steeped in chaos, manipulation, and a bittersweet love affair, The Wolf of Wall Street is a one-of-a-kind movie that sets the benchmark for other films. Disarmingly poignant yet hilarious, this survival story is a rollercoaster ride—one crafted with passion and love.
But I shall be brief. Tempting as it may be, I won't unduly eulogize this crafty affair. You're here to find some movies like The Wolf of Wall Street. Let's get right into it.
Films Similar To the Wolf of Wall Street
- The Big Short
- War Dogs
- The Social Network
- Margin Call
- There Will Be Blood
- American Psycho
- Molly's Game
1. The Big Short
Directed by Adam McKay, The Big Short is a bit of a catch-all - an eccentric feature taking a dig at 2008’s infamous financial crisis. Starring Christian Bale in the lead role, the story follows few shrewd investors who predict the impending collapse of the US economy. They bet against the mortgage market, making millions in the process. However, the gravity of the situation comes into its full picture as the doom inches ever so closer.
All this financial savviness might sound like a snoozer, but don't let my synopsis dissuade you. Even if the stock market is not your cup of tea, the storyline is explained well enough for you to whizz through the whole affair.
Bale’s Michael Bury, a security market genius, steals the whole show. He's never been the one to pull any punches, and his sheer dedication and talent seep through whenever he gets any camera time. Others, including Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling, have done ample justice to their parts as well. Bale's performance, however, is head and shoulders above the rest.
2. War Dogs
Based upon a true story that appeared in a Rolling Stone (American pop-culture magazine) article written by Guy Lawson, this sly feature stars Jonah Hills and Miles Teller as two young guys engaged in the business of selling arms.
However, the film has been dramatized with a fair amount of fiction. The story takes a whirlwind when the guys land the big "Afghan Deal" where The US government assigns them a contract to supply arms to their allies in Afghanistan. These 20-somethings go about the business in a professional manner in the beginning, but soon they find themselves in more trouble than they had bargained for.
It's hard to take a movie seriously starring Jonah Hill in the lead. This film’s dark comical plot provides the perfect canvas for his patented humor to seep through. Even in its darkest moments, War Dogs is uncannily funny, especially with its tongue-in-cheek dialogues.
After the successes of The Hangover trilogy, director Todd Phillips is back with a film clearly inspired by the likes of American Psycho and The Wolf of Wall Street - one that revels in upheaval, manipulation, and all sorts of scheming. Give it a shot.
Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as a baseball team manager on a shoestring budget. Constrained by the lack of money, he goes against the grain and utilizes non-traditional methods to build his team. What nobody knows is that he's about to turn his limitations into an asset, building a team of talented individuals with a chance of winning the World Series.
I know what you're here for. Before you ask, Moneyball is absolutely worth your time. Even if you don't know a thing about baseball, you'll love this taut feature. I might get some flak for saying this, but Pitt here was better than what he was in Fight Club.
If you're looking for some movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, Moneyball should serve you well.
4. The Social Network
Based upon a true story, this David Fincher directed film stars Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Mark Zuckerberg, a programming genius who we've come to know as the eccentric founder of Facebook. Mark's desire to be cool & a non-existent social life pushes him on the mission to build a social network - a revolutionary invention - along with his friend, a Harvard undergrad. Things, however, go south when two brothers claim that this social networking idea is not as original as everyone had thought. The sudden fame leads to trouble and legal complications for Mark as people turn against him.
2010 unarguably was a milestone year for cinema, and David Fincher’s The Social Network clearly stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. The movie, just like the trailer below, is a piece of art. Fincher has a knack for eliciting dread, suspense and paranoia in every movie he helms. From the jaw-dropping Gone Girl to the sinister Zodiac, he has proved his mettle time and again. The Social Network rightly fits alongside his long list of critically acclaimed movies.
5. Margin Call
The story follows the early stages of 2008’s financial crisis in the US, chronicling the lives of a company's management division. It's an ensemble cast with heavyweights like Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Demi Moore. When the department head is fired without any specific reason, he hands over the ongoing research to his amateur protégé in the form of a USB stick (removable storage device.)
This is what I call a grown man's movie. No shootings, jumpscares, screeching music, and propaganda, yet this taut Wall Street feature still manages to evoke a wide range of emotions as you keep squirming in your chair. Inside the Pen drive lies a secret so sinister, it will impact everyone's lives around the world.
It's hard to see everything unfold before your eyes once again. If you're a finance buff, you'll love what Margin Call brings to the table.
Nightcrawler is a cruel, sadistic story revolving around a ruthless man seeking any kind of job to make ends meet. Lumbering around the sparkling city of LA, he comes across something that might just be the perfect fit for him - a thankless, relentless job that will change the course of his life. His job is to capture every road accident, shootings, or any other crime in painstaking detail. Things, however, turn ominous when he starts fabricating these accidents.
Perched right on the edge of doom, the ghoulish story is merely a shorthand for a mocking undertone - a commentary on the contemporary social media feeding off fear and uncertainty among the masses.
The first half plays like a personal story before it trades its slow-burn skin for a heavy-handed rollercoaster ride. The film marks Dan Gilroy's debut as a feature-film director, while Jake Gyllenhaal plays the dangerous 'Nightcrawler.'
Despite its undenied share of flaws, the story is rich enough to keep you hooked as you witness the monstrosity unfold on the screen.
7. There Will Be Blood
In what arguably is the best work of Paul Thomas Anderson (director), Daniel Day-Lewis stars in the lead role as a ruthless oil tycoon, willing to do anything to get what he wants. The inciting turn comes when he starts manipulating his adopted son.
Though not billed as a horror movie, the story is set up in a way that makes it impossible to not fidget, at least a couple of times through its run. Daniel's (the lead character) journey from being an earnest man to becoming an unflinchingly selfish mogul is lubricated with greed and manipulation - one that'll make you think.
A movie this tragic doesn't usually end on an uplifting note, for it will lose its potency. The catastrophic ending, thankfully, stays true to the screeching bleak tone of the movie. It's hard to watch, but a trip well worth enduring nonetheless.
Trainspotting is the story of a struggling drug addict trying to crawl his way back up the rabbit hole of life of melancholy and irrelevance. His reckless friends, however, try to drag him down the same old ways of addiction. With a clear choice to make, which path will he take?
This snarky feature has gotten flak in the past, primarily due to its pro-drug agenda. In reality, however, it's a pragmatic picture that successfully depicts the lives of drug addicts. For better or worse, this movie doesn't lead to any concrete conclusion. In my opinion, it's for the best. Drug addiction is a vicious circle. There is no happy ending.
9. American Psycho
In this Mary Harron directed film, Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman, a sociopath with a pretty face. Beneath his perfect looks lies a monster waiting to be unleashed. In an attempt to hide his alternate personalities from his peers, Patrick works for Wall Street during the day and turns into a vengeful monster at night.
I can't imagine anyone else doing this role other than Bale. He embodies the character with perfection. Confusion, hatred, self-loathing, and lust - Bale’s Bateman (not Batman) goes through all these phases, sometimes all at once.
Fans of the original book might loathe the almost comical nature of this movie, but it somehow fits perfectly into this chaotic landscape. Yes, it derails from the original source a bit, but it's all the better for it. Go have a look to experience some crazy laughs and outright menace.
Ace (Robert De Niro) has everything one could ask from life - a loving wife, a budding casino, and a luxurious life people would kill for. But life is no longer the same when his mobster friend tries his hands in the same business. They engage in fierce competition, which changes the course of their lives as things spiral out of control.
Casino is much more than a personal story; it's a clever jibe at contemporary American society too focused on winning and losing life's bets. Martin Scorsese is unarguably the greatest director of his era, and this taut film cemented his place among one of my favorite directors. His apparent effort to balance comedy and violence pays off big time as you gulp this indigestible cocktail. It messes with you, in a good way.
11. Molly's Game
Based upon a true story, Molly's Game chronicles the life of Molly Bloom, an ex world-class skier who retired in her prime, thanks to an injury. The hope of starting afresh leads her to Los Angeles where she becomes the head of a high-stakes poker game. As FBI inches ever so close to catching the mastermind, she resorts to desperate measures to save her skin.
A perfect script is complemented by an amazing performance from Jessica Chastain, who channels all her charm and energy into her dubious character. Uncannily familiar yet ever so treacherous, her character will fascinate audiences to no end.
Directional debut is not easy, and Aaron Sorkin’s inexperience seeps through at times, especially in the beginning. Though an enchanting story and some excellent performances keep things on track.
The story spins around three mobster friends, played by Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, crawling their way up the hierarchy. From petty crimes to heists and murders, their greed and bloodlust eventually land them in more trouble than they had bargained for. When one of them flips, the fissures in their friendship widen as all of them desperately try to outmaneuver each other
Scorsese's Goodfellas is an enigmatic true life story of Henry Hill - a tale that demands all your attention. Bobbing and weaving for 148 minutes, Goodfellas never outstays its welcome. The length is just perfect.
This masterpiece can be played on a loop, thanks to superb performances from the lead actors. Its larger than life portrayal of mafioso life stays firmly rooted to the ground.
The first half starts off slowly, taking time to build up the plot and characters. When it fires on all cylinders in the second half, it's a whole new ballgame. There are so many great moments that it's hard to enlist them all.
If you are looking for some gripping movies like The Wolf of The Wall Street, Goodfellas should be right up your alley.
Billions - A TV Show (Bonus Suggestion)
It follows the story of two shrewd financial wizards - a US attorney and a hedge fund king as they engage in a fierce battle to outsmart each other. With the stakes so high, they will go to inexplicable lengths to preserve what's theirs and possibly bring their foes to heel.
So strong and authenticating are the performances from the star-studded cast, it's a delight to binge watch the whole affair, even when the acting is not supported by an equally able script at times.
Most shows lose the intensity and promise of the initial storyline as they drift aimlessly in later seasons. Thankfully, Billions bucks the trend. Every season topples the earlier with panache.
That's about it, for now. I did my best to collate a list of movies similar to The Wolf of Wall Street. If you have any suggestions regarding the list, feel free to drop a comment below. I'll surely respond to that.