The Wolf of Wall Street: Bribe Scene

A member of the English Fluency Now Facebook community asked if I would do a movie lesson on the recent Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street“, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have read some articles about it and watched the trailer. I will likely see it when it comes out on DVD.

I found this movie clip on YouTube and thought it had some good vocabulary for a short movie lesson.

Watch the video several times and see how much you can understand. The transcript is below, with some explanations of some of the words and phrases.

If you have a suggestion for a movie lesson, let me know in the comments section.



Transcript of video by Lisa Biskup


The Wolf of Wall Street (bribe scene)

Agent: Can you say that again? Just the way you said it…just the same way.

Jordan: Oh…I don’t know what you are talking about.

Agent:  Ah, come on. You know what I’m talking about.

Jordan: No, I don’t know what you’re talking…

Agent: Just say the same…I think what Jordan just did is he…if I’m not mistaken…you just tried to bribe a federal officer.

Jordan: No, technically I didn’t bribe anybody…

Agent: No, no, no…

Jordan: Technically, that’s…no, no, no…

Agent: No, no, that’s not the conversation I heard, Jordan.

Jordan: No, no, no according to the U.S. Criminal Code, there needs to be an exact dollar figure for an exchange of services. That would not hold up in a court of law.

Agent: No, I heard it.

Jordan: No, no, no, no, no that’s the truth, but I want to tell you this.

Agent: Yeah.

Jordan: The same gentleman that told me that you tried to get your broker’s license, also told me that you were a straight arrow.

Agent: You ran a security check on me?

Jordan: Well, when you sail on a boat fit for a Bond villain, sometimes you need to play the part, right?



to bribe a federal officer: to persuade a government official to act in your favor, illegally and dishonestly, in exchange for money

technically: according to the facts; here he is trying to say that according to the code, he didn’t actually bribe him

to hold up in a court of law: if something holds up in a court of law, it means you can use it as evidence against someone; in this case, he is saying that what just happened would not be enough evidence to convict anybody, and that the judge would therefore rule it out, because it didn’t “technically” fit the legal description of a bribe

broker’s license: a professional license that you need in order to work in the exchange markets, such as the New York Stock Exchange

straight arrow: a phrase used to describe a morally upright person

to run a security check on someone: to examine someone’s personal, financial or criminal records

fit for a Bond villain: if something is fit for someone, it means it is just right for them, it fits their character, so in this case he is saying that he is sailing the type of boat that a villain in a James Bond movie would use or have

to play the part: to act the part; in this case he is saying that he is playing or acting the part of a villain in a James Bond movie; he is doing all the things that a villain would do (e.g. the boat, the lifestyle, the clothing)