[PW] Origins of "Greed Is Good" (Quotation Query #793)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 12:13:15 PST 2018

Video clips available on YouTube suggest that the trailer for "Wall
Street" was spliced together from footage of the movie.

Here is a link to a video clip of the speech from the movie. (This
should be independently verified with a DVD.)

[Begin excerpt; spoken text begins at 40 seconds; double check for errors]
. . .  the point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a
better word, is good; greed is right; greed works; greed clarifies
cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
[End excerpt]

Here is a link to a video clip of a trailer. The YouTube title says
"Wall Street 30th Anniversary | "Greed Is Good" Trailer | 20th Century
FOX". I cannot be certain that this is the original trailer. Maybe
there is a trailer on an old DVD that can be used for verification.

[Begin excerpt; spoken text begins at 35 seconds; double check for errors]
. . . the point is ladies and gentlemen, greed is good; greed works . . .
[End excerpt]

The footage appears to come from the film; however, there are a
multiple quick transitions in the trailer that hide the fact that
sections have been excised from the full speech of Gordon Gekko
(played by Michael Douglas). The word "that" is omitted. The phrase
"for lack of a better word" is omitted. The phrase "greed is right" is

On the other hand, an enormous amount of footage is shot that does not
appear in the final cut of a movie. Sometimes a scene is shown in a
trailer that never appears in the final cut shown in theaters. I have
not performed a forensic analysis of the scenes in "Wall Street". The
pertinent part of the trailer just looks like a reassembly of the
scenes and the audiotrack from the movie.


On Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 1:41 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> It seems that in the film "Wall Street," the Gordon Gekko character says "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good," but in the trailer Gekko says "Greed is good," which is the way the saying is usually remembered.  Does anyone have any idea of how the pithier version made its way into the trailer?  Was the trailer scene taken from an earlier cut of the film?  Was "for lack of a better word" spliced out, a kind of concision that I think often happens in trailers where every second counts?
> Fred Shapiro
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/

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