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The Wizard of Lies (2017)

TV-MA | | Biography, Crime, Drama | TV Movie 20 May 2017
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The fall of Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme robbed $65 billion from unsuspecting victims; the largest fraud in U.S. history.

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writers:

Sam Levinson (screenplay), John Burnham Schwartz (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,037 ( 109)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Bernie Madoff
Diana Henriques Diana Henriques ... Diana B. Henriques (as Diana B. Henriques)
Nathan Darrow ... Andrew Madoff
Alessandro Nivola ... Mark Madoff
Michael Kostroff ... Peter Madoff
Kathrine Narducci ... Eleanor Squillari
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Ruth Madoff
Steve Coulter ... Martin London
David Lipman ... Martin Flumenbaum
Kelly AuCoin ... Agent Cacioppi
Don Castro ... Agent Kang
Amanda Warren ... SEC Investigator
Mark La Mura ... Ike Sorkin (as Mark LaMura)
Michael A. Goorjian ... Dan Horwitz (as Michael Goorjian)
Sophie von Haselberg ... Nicole De Bello
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Storyline

The fall of Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme robbed $65 billion from unsuspecting victims; the largest fraud in U.S. history.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only those you trust can truly betray you.

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

HBO

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wizard of Lies See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer appeared in Stardust (2007), New Year's Eve (2011), and The Family (2013). See more »

Goofs

When Mark Madoff's wife checks her phone the morning of his suicide, she has 4 messages from him. She opens the first two, which are dated December 11, 2010. However, the screen showing the list of text messages has all 4 of them dated 9/30/2015. See more »

Quotes

Mark Madoff: I wanna know why you're acting this way.
Bernie Madoff: Fucking market is a bloodbath.
See more »


Soundtracks

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Written by Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane
Performed by Judy Garland
Courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co.
By arrangement with Warner Bros. Pictures
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Whatever you do, don't steal from the very rich...
21 May 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... is the lesson I took away from the Bernie Madoff story, even before I saw this film. Think about this - Bernie Madoff is serving 150 years, and his earliest release date is 2039. Charles Manson has been getting regular parole hearings since the 1990s. Who is more dangerous? A better question is who is more dangerous to the plutocracy.

The whole story is basically done in flashback after Madoff is incarcerated and is being interviewed by a reporter. This film takes the approach of assuming that the wife and sons knew nothing until Bernie told them right before he was arrested. If there is anything the Bernie Madoff story would teach you, it is "Don't steal from the very rich". The movie emphasized all of the little people who lost everything to the Ponzi scheme, but there were enough people with enough money left over - as in hundreds of millions - that they could hire attorneys and even claw back money from people who withdrew all of their money before Bernie went bust, even though they knew nothing of the scheme. Compare that to what happened to the banksters who swindled the entire nation - which was absolutely nothing, or Enron, where the Bush administration had to practically be shamed into prosecuting the executives who swindled investors. To date about 70% of the money Bernie Madoff swindled has been recovered, with "small" investors - those that invested less than a million - being made completely whole.

Anyways, back to "The Wizard", which doesn't mention any of this. DeNiro was terrific as a guy who decided to keep his swindling secret to himself - and one smarmy associate played by Hank Azaria. Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff almost stole the show from DeNiro as a woman who can't deal with being ostracized and hated for something she had nothing to do with. She wonders aloud how she got to be almost 70 and never learned to do anything for herself. De Niro's Madoff is shown as being able to compartmentalize how he is stealing from investors, many of whom are family and friends, encouraging those at the end to put in huge amounts of money to keep the scheme afloat in the wake of the 2008 crash, which is ultimately what did him in, and somehow sees taking what is left of his ill gotten gains and distributing it to his family and "a few loyal employees" before he turns himself in as "noblesse oblige" not just more theft, which it was.

Hints to Madoff's personality are in the little scenes. He is very stoic about being the world's biggest and most brazen thief caught to date, but he does get animated about a dirty dish and the way lobster is served at a society dinner he is hosting.

There is one particularly odd scene for Turner Classic Movie fans. At one point, while Bernie is under house arrest, Bernie and his wife decide to commit suicide in "a nice way" using Ambien and a bunch of other pharmaceuticals they have around the house. It doesn't work - they wake up the next morning. But as they lay in bed expecting to die, who pops up on the TV screen they are watching but the recently deceased Robert Osborne and TCM with him introducing Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". What an odd touch. I didn't even think anybody at HBO even knew that TCM existed.


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