One part of Martin Scorcese’s expectedly masterful 2010’s output. Even decades into his career he is able to pump out films that have universal acclaim and an unmistakable feel. An anxiety-filled, edge-of-your-seat, dark comedy, white-collar crime film with some of the best performances you’ll ever see. The Wolf of Wall Street charmed audiences in 2013 with its depiction of a man who lived a wholly unique life of chaos. Since then, audiences have been trying to capture the magic they experienced that one night in a movie theater seat. I’m here to tell you that it's not possible, but you can certainly get close.
The 16 Best Movies like 'The Wolf of Wall Street' to Watch Right Now
1. 'War Dogs'
Starring Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Bradley Cooper, Ana de Armas
Runtime: 114 Minutes
$86.2 Million Box Office
This is just about the closest you can get in terms of plot structure, so much so that it has been called a rip-off. I disagree with that assessment, but I can’t say it doesn’t have validity. War Dogs is also based on a memoir from an on-trial criminal. A story following two arms dealers completely in over their heads, selling weapons to a variety of buyers. Think of it as Wolf of Wall Street with guns, higher stakes, and even more fictionalized events. War Dogs clearly takes inspiration from its superior predecessor but is a high-quality film from Todd Phillips (Joker, The Hangover) nonetheless.
2. 'Wall Street'
Starring Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas
Runtime: 126 Minutes
$43.8 Million Box Office
It’s all in the name. No, really. If you enjoyed the economic chaos element of Wolf, this ought to be right up your alley. Wall Street features Charlie Sheen, who plays a young stockbroker that begins to work with a powerful wealthy corporate raider. Oliver Stone’s 1987 film puts a unique lens on the business world, endlessly quotable and forever thought provoking, this both makes people aware of the economic world around them, and inspires them to take part.
3. Pain & Gain
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris
Runtime: 129 Minutes
$86.2 Million Box Office
Some may see this and call it sacrilege. Comparing Michael Bay to a unanimously acclaimed director like Scorcese? It may seem like a reach, but if anything I think this is one of the closer examples of a “film similar to Wolf of Wall Street”, and an exceptional film by any standard. Michael Bay’s 2013 Pain & Gain is a tale about the pursuit of economic success by any means necessary. The semi-true story of the Sun Gym Gang, a group of bodybuilders who hatch a plan of extortion and kidnapping to get money out of a superior. More so action than Wolf is, but if anything matches the insane energy that Wolf brings to the table, it’s this one.
4. 'The Big Short'
Starring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Jeremy Strong
Runtime: 130 Minutes
$133.4 Million Box Office
A financial collapse put on screen in a hectic, yet perfectly cohesive way, The Big Short is unconventional to the max, breaking the fourth wall to ensure that the viewer is fully aware of the situation presented to them. This film follows multiple characters' up and down relationships directly before the recession of 2008. Multiple stories are told separately but simultaneously. If a story detailing economic chaos without a clinically insane protagonist interests you, this is the film to watch.
5. 'After Hours'
Starring Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Catherine O'Hara
Runtime: 97 Minutes
$10.6 Million Box Office
What’s a Wolf of Wall Street article without more Scorcese? After Hours is Scorcese at his most inventive. Seemingly edited by a man with a heart rate of 300 BPM, and only fitting, because our protagonist never catches a break. A tale of a man who might just be having the worst night of his life. Chaos ensues after he visits a girl at her apartment. Frantic, unrelenting energy that I can’t even begin to describe, you just have to see it to believe it.
6. 'Uncut Gems'
Starring Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, LaKeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett
Runtime: 134 Minutes
$50 Million Box Office
Why not? What’s the stock market if not gambling for the too smart to gamble? Uncut Gems is an anxiety-fueled nightmare that just refuses to let you breathe. In just a few days Howard Ratner’s life reaches epic highs and life-ending lows. A tale of gambling addiction and business pursuits that rivals Wolf in terms of mastery. Presented and edited with the feverish intensity of After Hours, this crime thriller will not disappoint.
Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Runtime: 146 Minutes
$47.1 Million Box Office
This film has long cemented its spot in film history. The style and finesse that many directors have since tried to recapture, hell, even Scorcese himself has been trying to. Blisteringly fast, energetic action, but this time told through the lens of a gangster. Both tales depict entirely unique, and weirdly funny rise and fall of leaders in the New York mafia.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller
Runtime: 93 Minutes
$72 Million Box Office
This is definitely a reach to compare this to Wolf, but I don’t think it’s entirely false. Trainspotting is an exploration of drug addiction with commentary on being economically disadvantaged and in poverty. Chaotic and sometimes too real, much like Wolf. If you like the dark comedic take that Scorcese had on drug use, then Trainspotting will be right up your alley.
9. 'Pulp Fiction'
Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis
Runtime: 154 Minutes
$213.9 Million Box Office
A dark comedy crime film with charm for days. Tarantino isn’t acclaimed for no reason, he has a knack for fast tempo, and jaw-dropping dialogue. Crime in a different style than what is shown in Wolf but thrilling, inspiring, and absolutely essential to the film canon.
Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles
Runtime: 110 Minutes
$157.6 Million Box Office
Another film that tackles the events surrounding the 2008 economic collapse, this time from a grittier point of view. Hustlers follows strippers trying to make ends meet while working their asses off and trying to manipulate their wealthy wall street clientele. By any means necessary they must adapt and learn how to function in the chaotic world they now live in.
Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon
Runtime: 131 Minutes
$37.8 Million Box Office
Stripping part two, this time one of the most polarizing films to hit the big screen. Showgirls, similar to Wolf, follows a character fighting to climb up the hierarchy of their industry, in this case, from drifter to stripper, to showgirl. Hilarious, action-packed, and worth a watch solely to get a say in the endless dialogue surrounding.
12. 'American Hustle'
Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner
Runtime: 138 Minutes
$251.2 Million Box Office
What is Wolf of Wall Street if not an “American Hustle”. American Hustle is one everyone will bring up when talking about similar films, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. This film follows characters who participate in loan sharking and forgery, it has the same black comedy quality as Wolf and is as economic as it is political. Hustlers work together with incredibly high stakes to bring an exciting adventure that will have you glued to your seat.
13. 'Margin Call'
Starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto
Runtime: 109 Minutes
$19.5 Million Box Office
This is a film that completely forgoes the epic build-up that exists in Wolf of Wall Street, Margin Call is a film taking place over a 24-hour period. Capitalistic pursuit of success and wealth are present in this film, which details the fall of a prominent Wall Street investment bank. Tight and panic-inducing with a bleak outlook on the future of our protagonists.
Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
$110.2 Million Box Office
A financial tale told through the lens of professional sports. A tale about how the little guy can succeed with smarts and a little forward thinking. Tightly written by none other than Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball is a hustle in its own right, a pursuit of success through unconventional means in a world that is entirely different from the wall street world that houses Jordan Belfort.
15. 'Dog Day Afternoon'
Starring Al Pacino, John Cazale, Chris Sarandon
Runtime: 125 Minutes
$56 Million Box Office
Not all that similar in terms of plot, but very similar in terms of how they leave you. Not a moment passes in this feverishly intense adventure. The pursuit of wealth and a sense of contentment reigns supreme while Sonny fights to maintain his composure and give his hostages Stockholm syndrome. One of the most anxiety-inducing films out there, and one that will keep someone looking for a chaotic experience entertained.
Starring Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Gadon
Runtime: 109 Minutes
$7.1 Million Box Office
My biggest reach, but for those looking for a more challenging cinematic experience, this is the film for you. A strangely funny, thought provoking, and thematically dense film from David Cronenberg that shares 2 main similarities with Wolf, the chaotic energy is matched in Robert Packers' ride through downtown NY, and also the main theme of capitalistic greed, but through a very critical lens. If Wolf of Wall Street warned you of the dangers of capitalistic greed, and you wish to learn more from someone with a LOT to say, this is the film for you.
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