Essay on the Wolf of the Wall Street

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 1296

The Wolf of the Wall Street is a white collar-based crime movie in which the main protagonists are involved in schemes to fraud people mainly as a stockbroker. Therefore, this paper seeks to find out the content of the film and the intention behind setting such literary work. Further, analysis of theories that are related to the movie. In particular, control theory best suits this kind of film because it delves on the urge to get what one needs without necessarily explaining the concrete reasoning behind the need. Pointedly, in the selected movie, the protagonists are just fond of finding a way out through criminal activities for the sake of they want a large amount of money to satisfy their lavish lifestyle. In brief, control theory does not ask the reason as to why people engage in crime. Instead, it begins by answering that a person may commit crime because they have needs to accomplish, which can only be achieved through crime. The Wolf of the Wall Street elicits a scenario in which the chief protagonists are engaged in white-collar crimes of corruption and frauds to fulfill their desires of a lavish lifestyle.


Set in the year 2013, The Wolf of the Wall Street features main protagonists going by the stage names Donnie Azoff, Jordan Belfort, and Mark Hanna. Belfort as the main character, teamed up with his two other friends to set up a brokerage firm named Stratford-Oakmont. Notably, the company grows enormously from a set of twenty employees to over250 workers. While doing business, they indulge in all forms of corruptions and fraud activities to steal people’s money in the name of stockbroking. He, Belfort, attains the lifestyle he so desired much throughout his childhood such as living lavishly. At the same time, staffs are exposed to parties and all other forms of an extravaganza. As a result, their reputations grow enormously, which then draws attention to the FBI agents, who then begin analyzing what is going in the company. Ultimately, Belfort got caught and sentenced to prison for fraud charges and corruption.

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The Film and Crime Causation

Notably, the likes of Belfort were enticed by the need to attain the lifestyle of having too much money. In this case, their main desire was to have money and nothing else. Now, the question remains, how they could get what they wanted. Most people are driven by social pressure to get what they do not have (Rios, 2011). The Wolf of the Wall Street signifies the urge of selfishness, especially as far as having money through illegal means is concerned. Belfort then teams up with two his other friends, people he knew would make his ideas materialize. In the entire movie, right from the start, the protagonists wanted to have control of their lives and acquire the most expensive things in life. As a result, they indulge in business scheme of lies to lure of customers of their hard earned money.

Furthermore, the employees are then convinced to buy the ideologies of their CEO, and they soon conform to the scheme of lies. Notably, those who could not obtain the doctrine get fired while those who adapted to the system are encouraged to work towards attaining the objectives. After in-depth analysis, control theory is the crime related approach that best suits the film. The likes of Belfort were motivated by the need for money, which they could use to sponsor their lavish lifestyle. It could be noted by the manner in which he bought a lovely home, beautiful wife, and fantastic car, and all sorts of parties where they spend millions of cash. Significantly, no particular explanation can be used to elucidate on the reason as to why the likes of Belfort got engaged in crime. The protagonists just decided to go for what they wanted through following illegal means.

Lies, corruption, and frauds are the order of the scheme for Belfort and his followers just for the need to satisfy his want. There is no concrete reasoning behind his indulgence into criminal activities. Giving credits to control theorists, they first query why people conform to criminal acts, and their answer is; they have specific needs they would want to attain (Hagan, 2010). Likewise, in the selected film, the protagonists desire things they know they cannot get under normal circumstances, thus the urge to go extra miles and get involved in illegal activities, which then land them in prison. In the perspective of these theorists, crime does not need any particular explanation. Instead, it just occurs because it is the most expedient technique of someone getting whatever he or she desires.

Critique of Control Theory

Control theory is a total opposite of strain and social approach, all of which tends to query the reason as to why someone may engage in criminal activity. Instead, it asks why people conform to it. Strain and social theory delve on the factors that may entice people to commit crimes. In this sense, control theories often take an offense for granted, to mean, it is just something that anyone can do to meet their desires. Notably, control theorists hold that everyone in the world has a need, which can be satisfied easily through committing a crime. For example, it is much easier to steal money from people than working for it genuinely. As is the case of The Wolf of the Wall Street, the protagonists do not want to work sincerely to earn, but they see it fit and convenient to fraud people through brokerage schemes.

On the whole, the control theorists do not envisage any particular explanation for committing crimes. In a more realistic viewpoint, it queries why people do not engage in misconduct (Hickey, 2017). People do not necessarily need a constraint or control factors to commit crimes as they may be considered as barriers. While social theory delves into those things that encourage a person to commit a crime, control theory explores things that may stop a person from doing a crime.

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Furthermore, people may face a differing level of restraints, which may bar a person from committing a crime. In this sense, some individuals are freer than others, thus, may commit crime more efficiently (Reid, 2009). Concerning the selected film, the likes of Belfort did not have a personal restraint, and they never thought of FBI until they were caught and imprisoned. Instead, the focus was to satisfy the desire for money and lavish lifestyle rather than thinking of constraints.


Crime is a heinous act as it derails the rules and regulations in place to guide people on social values. The Wolf of the Wall Street is a film of a white collar criminal activity in which the protagonists involved fraud people through a brokerage firm. Belfort, the chief schemer in the entire movie, had an idea of satisfying his lavish lifestyle without, thus a logical explanation with the use of control theory, which delves crime activities without any clear reasoning. Belfort and his accomplish group are involved in scheme just for fun without apparent reason, which eventually lands them in jail to face corruption and fraud charges. Unlike causation theories, control theory delves on people desires that require satisfaction, and that can only be accomplished through illegal means.


Hagan, F. E. (2010). Introduction to criminology: Theories, methods, and criminal behavior. Sage.

Hickey, T. J. (2017). Taking sides.

Reid, S. T. (2009). Crime and criminology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rios, V. M. (2011). Punished: Policing the lives of Black and Latino boys. NYU Press.

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