The Wizard of Lies

Synopsis: The fall of Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme robbed $65 billion from unsuspecting victims; the largest fraud in U.S. history.
Director(s): Barry Levinson
Production: Tribeca Productions
  Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 17 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
133 min

My name is Diana Henriques.

As an investigating reporter

for the "New York Times,"

I had been covering

the Bernie Madoff scandal

from the day it began.

After months of requests

and correspondence,

I was finally able to sit down

and interview Bernie Madoff

on August 24th, 2010.

Until today,

his only visitor

apart from lawyers

has been his wife.

He has not answered

any independent questions

about his crime

except when standing

in a courtroom

responding to a judge.

On those occasions,

he seemed stiff,

almost rehearsed.

But in our conversation,

he seemed relaxed,

unfailingly candid,


and trustworthy.

That is his talent

and his curse.

That is

what enabled him

to pull off the biggest

Ponzi scheme on record.

$65 billion.

Bernard L. Madoff...

inmate number


In overseas trading today,

the Nikkei was down over 8%

with Australia's benchmark

not far behind.

The crisis shows

no sign of ending

as DOW futures are down

this morning on Wall Street

and Main Street

continues to find itself

- in the crosshairs of the

largest meltdown... - Sh*t.


the Great Depression.

Investors and banks

are holding onto their cash

until more certainty can be

flushed into financial markets.

Let's go now

to Bob Summers

with a story

on yet another city

going under

from the mortgage crisis.

I'm in Fresno, California,

where if you look around...

Just let me lead it off.

It's completely

f***ing crazy.

We can't back down

on this one, Andy.

We're not gonna back down.

We're gonna hold firm.

What, no good mornings,

no hellos?


What's going on?

You're giving out

175 mil in bonuses?

- I am.

- In December?

We've had

a very strong year.

The year's not over. We don't

know where we're gonna land.

I wanna reward people.

I want them to feel good about

the work they've done here.

There's a reason that the

bonuses go out in February,

especially in this climate.

You're not hearing me.

It's important that people can

take care of their families.

Isn't it better

to play it safe?

Hang on to any windfall

just in case?

I'm paying out

the bonuses now.

But that's crazy.

It doesn't make any sense.

- Peter.

- Bernie, come on.

This isn't a f***ing debate.

I'm paying out

the bonuses now.

I'm taking care

of everybody.

Dad, are you all right?

What's going on with you?

I'm okay.

Okay, are you sure?

Bernie, just tell them.

Tell us what?

What is it, Dad?

What's going on?

What is it, Dad?

I have to talk to you.

You can.

You know you can.

I know.

F***ing fish bowl here.

F***ing fish bowl.


Everybody can see

everything in here.

How come we never got

f***ing blinds?

- Hello?

- Hello, Ruth.

- Hi. - The boys and

I are heading home.


I have to talk to you all.

Oh, okay.

- Yeah, we'll be home soon.

- All right.

Is it your health?


Let's go in the study


There's no way to...

to say it.

None of it is real.

It's all one big f***ing lie.

- What is?

- The advisory.

It's a fraud.

There are

no investments.

What are you talking about?

Of course there are investments.

- I made them up.

- They're on every statement.

- I ma... I made them up.

- I've seen the trades.

They're fake.

It's all fake.


just a big Ponzi scheme.

What's a Ponzi scheme?

I took money

from some people.

I gave it to others

and I never...

there's nothing left.

There's supposed

to be 50 billion.

There's absolutely nothing.

It's all gone.

I spoke to Peter.

I told him I'm gonna

turn myself in next week.

How could you do this?

- I just couldn't stop...

- Bullshit.

It got bigger and bigger

and it just wouldn't stop.


- I didn't mean for it to get like this.

- No, no, no, no.

You can't do this.

I'm your son.

Dad. Dad,

how could you do this?

I'm gonna

set you guys up.

Yeah. It's,

it's all gonna be okay.

There's still

a few hundred million left.

I'm gonna,

I'm gonna make sure

that you guys

are all taken care of,

the rest of the family,

some loyal employees.

It's all gonna be good.

I just need a week.

Set us up with what?

With stolen money?

He's a criminal.

He's gonna spend

his life in jail.

- Dad, how could you do this?

- You're not my father.

I explained to them

that it wasn't malicious,

that when I started

this problem...

or this crime...

that is was something

that I thought

I would be able

to work my way out of.

But that

became impossible.

The harder I tried, the deeper

I dug myself into a hole.

But it comes down

to one thing.

I refused

to accept the fact,

could not

accept the fact

that for once in my life

I had failed.

I couldn't...

I couldn't admit that failure.

And what was that failure?

Shortly thereafter, I...

I think I went back

to the office.

Andy was there.

I saw Andy.

Did you two speak?

He did mention that...

that he, uh...

he and Mark were consulting

with a lawyer.

Well, as it turned out,

he went to see Martin London...

much honored lawyer, retired.

- He's Mark's father-in-law.

- Yes.

He'd invested a substantial amount

of money with you, right?

Well, more than some,

less than others.

Jesus f***ing Christ.

50 million?

50 billion with a "B. "

Jesus f***ing Christ.

All right,

I'm in Hartford.

I'll be there at 3:00 PM.

You have to understand

the money management business

was operating

from a small office.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Sam Levinson

Samuel "Sam" Levinson is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is the son of Diana Rhodes and writer/director/actor Barry Levinson. He made his film debut in the 1992 film Toys, along with his brother Jack. He later appeared in such films as Bandits and What Just Happened? as Carl. In 2009, he co-starred as Peter Thompson in Stoic. He won the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Waldo Salt screenwriting award for his directorial debut film, Another Happy Day. He also co-wrote his father's 2017 TV movie The Wizard of Lies about Bernie Madoff. more…

All Sam Levinson scripts | Sam Levinson Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Wizard of Lies" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    The Wizard of Lies


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.