There are so many weird, strange, and even obscure films that find their way to the top of the most popular movies on Netflix that it’s refreshing to see a terrific film like The Wolf of Wall Street march up the charts. While we could give you several reasons why this is the single best movie to watch in September, we’re going to narrow it down to three reasons to watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix.
This film is also a timely choice because director Martin Scorsese and his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio are reteaming soon for The Killers of the Flower Moon later this year. Scorsese and DiCaprio have made some great films together over the past two decades, but we believe that The Wolf of Wall Street is a superior choice because it breaks the mold from Scorsese’s previous movies while also giving DiCaprio a chance to play a very different kind of leading man. This flick also happens to have the star-marking turn for the actress who headlined the highest-grossing movie of 2023: Margot Robbie. So sit back and relax as we share our three reasons to watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix this month.
A decade before she ruled the summer box office in Barbie, Margot Robbie was already a working actress in Hollywood in search of the role that would make her a star. Robbie found what she was looking for in The Wolf of Wall Street, and she hasn’t looked back since. In retrospect, it seems obvious that Robbie would become a box office draw in her own right. Robbie is absolutely riveting every time she’s on screen in this film, and she more than held her own with DiCaprio while playing Jordan Belfort’s mistress and his second wife, Naomi Lapaglia.
The Wolf of Wall Street turned out to be the perfect showcase for Robbie, as playing Naomi allowed her to be funny, seductive, and dramatic in later scenes when Naomi’s relationship with Belfort finally reaches its inevitable conclusion. After witnessing her performance in this film, directors and casting agents have kept Robbie swimming in prominent roles ever since, including her turn as the first-ever live-action Harley Quinn on the big screen in two Suicide Squad films and Birds of Prey. Robbie can be real and down to earth or larger than life, and she was able to show off both aspects of her screen persona in this flick.
In the past 18 years, Leonardo DiCaprio has been Oscar-nominated for Best Actor five times, but he only won once for The Revenant. His third Oscar nomination in that period was for The Wolf of Wall Street, and we contend that this was the performance that should have gotten the award. DiCaprio has played morally questionable characters before and after this film, but none of them could hold a candle to the reprehensible Jordan Belfort. The real-life Belfort’s white-collar crimes should have made him a social pariah, or at least resulted in decades in prison. And yet somehow, through his performance alone, DiCaprio completely captures the audience’s attention and perhaps even wins over their loyalty.
Thanks to DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street gets away with never toning down Belfort’s edges. There’s no question that DiCaprio’s portrayal of Belfort shows off his talent for selling, as well as his staggering degree of amorality and sleaze. We want to hate Belfort for everything that he does in the film, and yet it’s almost impossible to dislike DiCaprio in this role. He plays it to perfection.
In Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko famously says, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Almost all of Belfort’s quotes from The Wolf of Wall Street are too profane to repeat on this site. But the overall theme of the film is essentially, “Greed isn’t good, it’s great!” Scorsese’s previous crime epics Goodfellas and Casino celebrated criminal lifestyles, but those stories didn’t shy away from also showing the harsh consequences of choosing that path. By contrast, The Wolf of Wall Street lets Belfort get off with a proverbial slap on the wrist and only a short stint in prison before he’s back out on the streets with a new way to make money.
If there’s a judgment to be made about Belfort’s character, Scorsese leaves that for the audience to decide. But he also allows the viewers to vicariously celebrate the debauched lifestyle of Belfort and his cohorts as they snort their way through a fortune in drugs, alcohol, and women. The result is a film that embraces a darker sense of humor than any of Scorsese’s previous flicks. And it really is quite hilarious at times. This makes it unique among Scorsese’s films, and a genuine classic in its own right.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix.