Princeton University Library Catalog

WHEN THE AMERICAN DREAM ISN’T ENOUGH: FICTIONAL, FILMIC PORTRAYALS OF WALL STREET

Author/​Artist:
McDonald, Emily [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
Gross, Neil [Browse]
Department:
Princeton University. Department of Sociology [Browse]
Class year:
2015
Description:
72 pages
Summary note:
This is a qualitative assessment of the fictional, filmic portrayals of Wall Street from the 1980's to today as viewed through the lens of the American Dream. This canonical review of Wall Street in Hollywood films will shed light on American culture and values concerning concepts of business, fairness, etc. I argue that we can read these films as a critique of the American Dream, which tells us that hard work alone will bring financial gain and ignores structural barriers to class mobility. Wall Street workers in fictional film are generally not portrayed as naive dreamers, but realists who refuse to play by the rules in a rigged game. Their culture of self-interest does lead to financial gain, far surpassing the model provided in the American dream, but also carries reputational risks.