Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Swearing is great

Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street has broken the record for cinematic uses of the f-word.

Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 22:16


The run-in to the release of The Wolf of Wall Street could hardly have gone better for Martin Scorsese. Okay, it isn’t picking up as many awards nominations or generating as much money as the (distinctly ho-hum) American Hustle, but it has managed to scare up quite a degree of controversy. Most of it hangs around a weary old question: is the film-maker condoning the bad behaviour he or she represents. We had a more political version of this last year with Zero Dark Thirty. Scorsese’s latest wallows in the excess of Wall Street during the heady days at the end of the last century. There is much dwarf bowling, oggling of strippers and waving of mighty wads. I don’t know about you. But I don’t see Marty as an abuser of little people.

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Anyway, there is more amusing news. Wolf of Wall Street has, according to Variety, broken the record for utterances of the f-word. That doesn’t cover it. Wall Street has smashed the record. It seems that there are a tremendous 506 “fucks” in Wolf of Wall Street. The previous record holder was Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam with a fairly restrained 435. Now, it should be noted that Wolf of Wall Street is a full three hours long. Still, this is Bob Beamon stuff. The bar has been set too high for mere mortal film-makers. For all the film’s mighty length, that’s still about 2.81 fpm (fucks-per-minute). Hang on. That’s not so much. During an average game of FIFA Football I can manage about 3.2 fpm easy. Anyway as somebody who has always supported swearing in cinema, I declare this as one more reason to look forward to Wolf of Wall Street. It will be with us next week.