The Wolf of Wall Street — It’s consistent with real life

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, is one of those films you don’t tire of repeating. There’s always something new about the unrestrained behavior of the film’s stars that you discover after every rewatch. The dark comedy features three hours of some of the most extreme behaviors of Wall Street’s infamous criminals. 

Martin Scorsese adapted the film from Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name. Belfort earned an immense fortune for defrauding people on Wall Street – he convinced people to buy worthless stock and pocketed the money. 

After his release from prison, Belfort became a motivational speaker and writer. 

Jordan Belfort abused drugs and destroyed property, as portrayed in the film

Jordan Belfort is photographed for Daily Telegraph on February 12, 2008 in Manhattan Beach, California | Photo by Larry Armstrong/Contour by Getty Images

Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Jordan Belfort’s drug abuse and property destruction to a tee. Belfort didn’t hide his lifestyle in his book nor Scorsese in the adaptation. 

Jordan started stock trading in 1987, building a company specializing in fraud. Stratton Oakmont wasn’t the only firm that conned people, but it engaged in more illegalities than its competitors. 

Belfort was addicted to numerous drugs, including Quaaludes and cocaine. The film blames part of his addiction on chronic back pain. The real Belfort suffered from back problems that required surgeries, which he cited as the cause of his substance abuse. 

Jordan often addressed his employees using a microphone, giving sensational speeches that spurred them to commit more fraud. 

As depicted in the film, Belfort destroyed a lot of property: he drunkenly crashed a helicopter and his Mercedes vehicle (portrayed as a white Lamborghini in the movie); he instructed his yacht captain to drive the vessel into choppy seas, sinking the boat. 

For dramatic effect, the film showed Belfort’s jet crashing while the yacht capsized. Belfort’s private jet actually crashed ten days after the yacht incident. 

Belfort’s marriages started and ended as portrayed in the film; however, the writers changed his wives’ names. Jordan’s first wife was Denise Lombardo (Teresa Petrillo in the movie). They met in high school and divorced after finding out about his affair in the early ’90s. 

Jordan then married Nadine Macaluso (Naomi Lapaglia), with whom he had two children. As portrayed in the film, the pair divorced in 1998 partly due to Belfort’s recklessness – he really did crash through his home garage door and drive into a limestone pillar with his three-year-old daughter in the front seat. 

“I could do or say any horrible thing and know that my character’s motivation was out of protection for her child,” Margot Robbie talked to IndieWire about her portrayal of Nadine. 

Danny Porush denied that some of the film’s antics happened in real life

Danny Porush and Jordan Belfort in their 1990s glory days

Danny Porush and Jordan Belfort ran the real Stratton Oakmont together. They abused drugs, engaged in sex parties, and conned unsuspecting Americans to pay for their reckless lifestyles. 

Porush is portrayed in The Wolf of Wall Street as Jonah Hill’s character Donnie Azoff. In an interview with Mother Jones, Danny revealed that some of the film’s antics are exaggerated. 

Belfort and Porush met via Danny’s wife, Nancy. She told The New York Post:

“There was a nice boy from our building on the same bus who always gave up his seat for me. His name was Jordan Belfort, and he worked in finance. I pushed Danny to talk to Jordan. After just one conversation, Danny came back and announced he was taking the Series 7 exam to get his stockbroker’s license.”

Nancy said Porush became an unrecognizable narcissist after he started earning money with Belfort. Danny admitted to the wild partying and financial crimes synonymous with Stratton Oakmont. “Stratton was like a fraternity,” Danny said. 

However, he denied that they threw dwarves at one of the parties. Belfort was reckless, but he saw the throwing of short people as too extreme. Porush said the only animal in the office was the goldfish that he consumed – one of the most memorable scenes in the film. 

“I said to one of the brokers, ‘If you don’t do more business, I’m gonna eat your goldfish!” Porush said. “So I did.”

Porush also confirmed that a female employee actually shaved her head to get $10,000 for breast implants. However, he denied taping money to a Swiss woman’s body and the assertion that people referred to Belfort as ‘wolf.’ 

Danny said he didn’t mind the inconsistencies in the film or the book: “Hey, it’s Hollywood. I know they want to make a movie that sells. And Jordan wrote whatever he could to make the book sell.”