Who played real-life financial criminal and con man Jordan Belfort in the 2013 Hollywood movie, The Wolf of Wall Street?

And the answer: Leonardo DiCaprio.    
Photo credit: fair use. 

Played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a fictionalized version of true events, Jordan Belfort is an American entrepreneur, former stockbroker, and financial criminal. He was the titular subject of the 2013 movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, which detailed his rise as a penny stock scam artist.

Although The Wolf of Wall Street may seem like fiction, the high-level financial crime and debauchery are drawn closely from real-life events. In fact, Belfort himself was deeply involved in the creation of the film, going as far as working with Leonardo DiCaprio on his character before production began, and proceeding to stay involved throughout the entire filming process. The 2013 film was directed by Martin Scorsese, who encouraged his actors to take liberties with the dialogue and even improv scenes. Thus, Belfort’s hands-on influence of the movie combined with Scorsese’s true-to-life approach to dialogue encouraged some of DiCaprio’s most iconic improvised scenes, such as the moment he attempts to open his car door with his feet. Though, be warned: The Wolf of Wall Street also garnered international attention for its nearly record-high use of swear words, clocking in at around 550 F-bombs throughout the entire film!

The Wolf of Wall Street is by no means an example to follow, however. The film received criticism from those who believed the financial crimes were glorified, or encouraged, by its raucous depiction. While Belfort’s idea began as a memoir—back when he was still serving time for the aforementioned crimes—he was encouraged by prison cellmate Tommy Chong to turn the idea into an unabashed account of the mistakes he made that led to his dramatic downfall.

Did you know?

January is Financial Wellness Month! The commemorative month was created to encourage Americans to pay better attention to their financial wellbeing (and hopefully stay far away from anything quite like Belfort’s approach to making money). Beyond just earning, finance encompasses the management of money and investments. In this sense, financial wellness has to do with your relationship with money, and how secure it is regardless of the variables that could affect your future. Learn more about Financial Wellness Month here.

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