Photo Caption: A depiction of the Bonfire of the Vanities.

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Title: The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Bonfire of the Vanities

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  • Review
  • TAG : The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes
  • In The Bonfire of the Vanities, an upper-middle-class white Wall Street investment banker who thinks he is on top of the world discovers that his fragile world is in imminent danger of destruction from within. At age thirty-eight, Sherman McCoy is near the peak of his career. He is married and has one young daughter whom he loves but rarely sees because of his hectic double life. In addition to being absorbed in business, he maintains an adulterous relationship with a sexy blonde who is having fun while waiting for her elderly multimillionaire husband to die.

    Crisis! A Film Series
    Using classic and contemporary films and expert commentators, Crisis! engages the community in a discussion about the global economic crisis. Each screening begins with a panel discussion which includes experts from Buffalo State’s faculty and the community. Bonfire of the Vanities begins with a panel including Dr. Albert Michaels, Professor, History and Social Studies, Ted P. Schmidt, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Finance, Bruce Fisher, Visiting Professor + Director all of SUNY Buffalo State and Geoff Kelly, editor of Artvoice.

  • Bonfire of the Vanities
    In the 1980s, the obscure business of the bond trader suddenly became a new center of economic, political and cultural power. Yuppie financiers fancied themselves “masters of the universe” as their pay, privileges and partying reached heights not seen since the 1920s. Yet right up the street from this new zone of excess risk and empowered irresponsibility, persistent poverty shaped the lives of millions. Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman star in this Hollywood version of Tom Wolfe’s piercing social satire of the excesses of Wall Street’s new era. Or at least its early days. 2 hr. 6 min.

    Thus, THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES ultimately fails as coherent satire, and, in so failing, it fails as a film. Though funny in spots, if the movie indeed wanted to make a statement about decency, perhaps it should have started with the more than 100 instances of obscenity and profanity that profusely litter the dialogue.

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    Discovery in Spain


    Confrontation in the Vatican

    Bonfire of the Vanities



    1497 - 1498



    • The death of Girolamo Savonarola
    • Assassins reacquire the Apple of Eden
    Affiliations involved
    • Assassins
    • Savonarola's forces
    • Papal army
    • Assassins
      • Ezio Auditore da Firenze
      • Niccolò Machiavelli
      • La Volpe
      • Paola
    • Savonarola's forces
      • Girolamo Savonarola

    Sherman McCoy, Wall Street bond trader with a salary like a telephone number . . . Peter Fallow, expatriate Fleet Street gossip writer whose price is a free lunch . . . Larry Kramer, assistant DA with a lustful eye on the juror wearing brown lipstick . . . The Reverend Reggie Bacon, charismatic ghetto warlord, con man, and power in the streets . . . The Bonfire of the Vanities welds their stories together on a night in the Bronx when a $48,000 Mercedes hits a street it shouldnt have been near with a girl in its tan leather bucket seat who shouldnt have been there at all. The next day a young black accident victim is in hospital in a coma and Sherman McCoy has booked himself a one-way ticket to disaster.

Best Opening Shot Ever: Bonfire of the Vanities - YouTube

This excerpt merely hints at it and the title pretty much screams it out, but The Bonfire Of The Vanities is a lesson in humility, it’s underlying theme being the lack of control we exercise over our lives irrespective of our wealth, intelligence, power or success, its distilled message being “The Man can get to you before you can get your pants on.” It’s an examination of the axes of conflict that run through a society; class, caste, language, religion and gender. Through its characters, it irreverently assesses the different realities we partake of, how our prejudices and our beliefs which no matter how we justify it, are nothing but a product of our station in society. Man is inseparable from his environment, says Wolfe in loud, clear, refreshingly original words.