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The Wizard of Lies (2017)

TV-MA | | Biography, Crime, Drama | TV Movie 20 May 2017
0:31 | Trailer

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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.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
1,274 ( 178)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Bernie Madoff
Diana Henriques ... Diana B. Henriques (as Diana B. Henriques)
... Andrew Madoff
... Mark Madoff
... Peter Madoff
... Eleanor Squillari
... Ruth Madoff
... Martin London
... Martin Flumenbaum
... Agent Cacioppi
... Agent Kang
... SEC Investigator
... Ike Sorkin (as Mark LaMura)
... Dan Horwitz (as Michael Goorjian)
... Nicole De Bello


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


Only those you trust can truly betray you.


Biography | Crime | Drama


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

20 May 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arcyoszust  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert De Niro and Alessandro Nivola appeared in American Hustle (2013). See more »


There is a scene where Frank DiPascali desperately tries to empty the Recycle Bin on his PC before the FBI enter the office. Restoring files from an empty recycle bin is very easy to do and would be known by someone running the computer operation. See more »


[the Madoffs watch TV as they attempt suicide by Ambien overdose]
Ruth Madoff: Can't we just have quiet?
Bernie Madoff: I can't fall asleep unless I watch something.
Ruth Madoff: You just took a whole fucking bottle of Ambien, Bernie. Sleep's not gonna be your problem.
Bernie Madoff: My mind races.
Ruth Madoff: Fine. Our last night on Earth will be you, me and Judy Garland. How romantic.
Bernie Madoff: Let's not get started, Ruth.
[Bernie takes Ruth's hand]
Bernie Madoff: We had a good life, didn't we?
Ruth Madoff: Hmm. Yeah. Until you ruined it.
See more »


Featured in The Wizard of Lies: Cast interviews (2017) See more »


Written by Claude Feaster, Carl Feaster, Floyd McRae (as Floyd Franklin McRae), James Edwards (as William R. Edwards) & James Keyes (as James C. Keyes)
Performed by The Crew Cuts
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

De Niro's performance is reason enough to watch.
21 May 2017 | by See all my reviews

The Wizard of Lies chronicles the infamous Wall Street meltdown that was Madoff's Billion Dollar Ponzi scheme in Barry Levinson's woefully flawed but still engaging film. Starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pffeifer, The Wizard of Lies features a strong cast of seasoned actors that give their best on screen. De Niro particularly is very strong here and gives his best performance in close to a decade. However, the film suffers from a broken and jumbled script that leaves for a somewhat confusing watch.

The film begins with an interview between Madoff and the subsequent author of his unofficial biography. He begins telling the story at the end of the meltdown on the eve of his arrest and starts from there. From here on out, we're told the story in chunks and pieces, from one perspective to another and totally abandons all formality regarding coherent storytelling. Instead, Levinson creates a deeply personal character study that paints Madoff as a sociopath and a white collar criminal mastermind who would rather blame the victim than himself. While it is engrossing to see De Niro as Madoff, it is barely enough to sustain its bloated runtime.

The film is engrossing to watch. There's no denying it but as the minutes ticked by, it all started to feel redundant. It was more so just dragging the entire Madoff family through hell for the remaining hour of the film and it becomes exhausting after awhile. In a way it was very much a Greek tragedy of epic proportions that just didn't seem to end and by the time it decided it wanted to, you were already checked out 10 minutes prior. Despite this, the ending is satisfying for those wanting to see karma at its best or a tragedy at its worst, whatever way you want to look at it.

Overall, The Wizard of Lies is a missed opportunity more so than not. While it is great to see De Niro and Pfeiffer in top forms, it would have been nice to get a more coherent script from a story that literally writes itself. While anyone expecting a film in the vein of The Big Short will be let down by this, The Wizard of Lies benefits from being a deep character study that shines a (small) light of one of the most tragic mysteries of the 2008 financial crisis.

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