White Collar Movies and Why They Matter

Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law (2015 Forthcoming)

U of Houston Law Center No. 2015-A-12

19 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2015

Date Written: June 15, 2015


This article discusses how movies about white collar crimes can influence public perception of such crimes and the criminal justice system that enforces them. A change in public attitudes can ultimately affect not only the popular culture, from which such movies spring, but also popular understanding of legal culture. To evaluate how movies matter, the article reviews the basic tenets of federal white collar criminal law and presents the social theory that traces the relation between entertaining films and the popular culture. This relation is examined through an analysis of four films (Wall Street, Boiler Room, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Margin Call) that contrasts individual culpability and sole responsibility, individual and firm responsibility, and systemic problems for which no individual or firm bears responsibility. Finally, the issues raised by the films are related to current issues in addressing white collar frauds.

Keywords: white collar crime, white collar movies, movies, films, federal criminal law, federal fraud, corporate criminal liability

Suggested Citation

Moohr, Geraldine Szott, White Collar Movies and Why They Matter (June 15, 2015). Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law (2015 Forthcoming); U of Houston Law Center No. 2015-A-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2618585

Geraldine Szott Moohr (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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