A wealth of Wall Street movies

Updated 1:01 PM ET, Wed December 18, 2013
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Wall Street is a place of near-mythical competition, ambition and greed -- and, as a result, it's also the setting of some of our favorite Hollywood films. On Christmas Day, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will paint a portrait of a fraudulent stockbroker living a criminally high life in "The Wolf of Wall Street," which is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort. If we're lucky, it'll be as rich as some of these: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images
Michael Douglas' Gordon Gekko is one of the defining characters of the '80s. The scheming, reptilian stock broker champions the phrase "Greed is Good" in 1987's "Wall Street," and audiences -- not to mention Hollywood -- have yet to forget it. 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection
Relying on the charms of star Melanie Griffith, 1988's "Working Girl" tried to milk more laughs out of the Wall Street scene. The movie sees Griffith's character tap into her innate talent for numbers to quietly take over for her hell-on-wheels boss, played by Sigourney Weaver. Harrison Ford was also on hand to add some romance to the comedy. 20th Century Fox Film Corp
When it comes to the book vs. movie debate, Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities" far outweighs the 1990 adaptation. Starring Bruce Willis, shown, Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith, Brian De Palma's story follows the downfall of a filthy rich and powerful stockbroker whose association with a hit-and-run leads to his ruin. Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection
After 1990's walk on the terrible side with "Bonfire," 1992's "Glengarry Glen Ross" with Kevin Spacey, left, and Jack Lemmon was a revelation. It's not set in the world of Wall Street per se but it is all about sales, and no one sold the tense, cutthroat themes of the film quite like Alec Baldwin. If you have yet to see his incredible and memorable monologue on the art of selling, which some see as inspiration, watch it here. New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection
In 2000's "Boiler Room," Giovanni Ribisi's Seth Davis attempts to trade in his illegal casino for a more impressive career and winds up as a stockbroker "a good hour away from Wall Street," and finds himself in a much shadier business. New Line/courtesy Everett Collection
What was it about the dawn of the aughts that had movie studios buzzing with ideas about the evil lurking on Wall Street? Along with "Boiler Room," 2000 also brought us Christian Bale in "American Psycho," an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' '80s-era novel. Directed and co-written by Mary Harron, Bale's portrayal of broker by day, serial killer by night Patrick Bateman has gone down in history as some of his best work. Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection
Gordon Gekko's immortal words came back to haunt us in 2010, when 20th Century Fox decided to give "Wall Street" a sequel more than 20 years after the film's initial release. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" focused on Gekko's relationship with his daughter, as played by Carey Mulligan, and her fiance (Shia LaBeouf), who aspired to be an investment broker with a heart. Of course, with Gekko out of prison, that aspiration didn't stick around too long. 20th Century Fox Film Corp/courtesy Everett Collection
In 2011, the country's very real financial struggles got a touch of movie magic with the thriller "Margin Call." Written and directed by J.C. Chandor, "Margin Call" chronicles the financiers at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis just as it was beginning to unfold. Walter Thomson/Roadside Attractions/Courtesy Everett Collection
With 1983's "Trading Places," financial industry corruption is played for laughs. Eddie Murphy stars as a street hustler who's roped into an experiment by the loaded Duke brothers. To pull it off, the brothers install Murphy's character as a high-earning broker and leave Dan Aykroyd's aristocratic Louis Winthorpe III in ruins. In the Wall Street finale, the Dukes learn they're terrible at placing bets. Everett Collection
In 2012's "Arbitrage," Richard Gere at first appears to be a man who has it all together. He's incredibly successful and married with a daughter set to inherit his abundant wealth. But in actuality, Gere's hedge-fund magnate is struggling to sell off his trading empire in hopes of escaping from his fraudulent past without a scratch. It's not a spoiler to tell you that his frantic off-loading doesn't go as planned. Myles Aronowitz/Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection