A young man has dropped out of Queens College but desperately wants to please his father, a federal judge who’s harsh with his son. At his father’s insistence, Seth Davis closes a casino he operates in his own house, mostly for college students. Thinking he’ll please dad, he takes a job in a small brokerage house, an hour from Manhattan, where trainees make cold calls to lists of well-paid men, and then apply high-pressure tactics to sell initial public offerings exclusive to the firm. He’s terrific at sales. Once training is over, the pay is phenomenal, and Seth wonders why. Curiosity leads him to ethical dilemmas, encounters with the Feds, and new territory with his father.
Best Quotes of Boiler Room
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that’s it, I’m done.
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby.
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t fucking have any.
Seth Davis: [Narrating] I read this article a while back, that said that Microsoft employs more millionaire secretary’s that any other company in the world. They took stock options over Christmas bonuses. It was a good move. I remember there was this picture, of one of the groundskeepers next to his Ferrari. Blew my mind. you see shit like that, and it just plants seeds, makes you think its possible, even easy. And then you turn on the TV, and there’s just more of it. The $87 Million lottery winner, that kid actor that just made 20 million o his last movie, that internet stock that shot through the roof, you could have made millions if you had just gotten in early, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do: get in. I didn’t want to be an innovator any more, i just wanted to make the quick and easy buck, i just wanted in. The Notorious BIG said it best: “Either you’re slingin’ crack-rock, or you’ve got a wicked jump-shot.” Nobody wants to work for it anymore. There’s no honor in taking that after school job at Mickey Dee’s, honor’s in the dollar, kid. So I went the white boy way of slinging crack-rock: I became a stock broker.
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] There’s an important phrase that we use here, and think it’s time that you all learned it. Act as if. You understand what that means? Act as if you are the fucking President of this firm. Act as if you got a 9″ cock. Okay? Act as if.
Richie: Get the fuck out of here before I put you in a mayonnaise jar.
Greg Weinstein: [during Seth’s orientation] Now there’s two rules you have to remember as a trainee, number one, we don’t pitch the bitch here.
Seth Davis: What?
Greg Weinstein: We don’t sell stock to women. I don’t care who it is, we don’t do it. Nancy Sinatra calls, you tell her you’re sorry. They’re a constant pain in the ass and you’re never going to hear the end of it alright? They’re going to call you every fucking day wanting to know why the stock is dropping and God forbid the stock should go up, you’re going to hear from them every fucking 15 minutes. It’s just not worth it, don’t pitch the bitch.
Greg Weinstein: [while on the trading floor] Don’t you have a canoli you can stick in your mouth?
Chris Varick: Don’t you have a menorah you could shove up your ass?
Richie: [while on the trading floor] When was the last time you closed something huh? You couldn’t close a fuckin’ window you moron!
Seth Davis: [Over the phone] What do you mean, you’re gonna pass. Alan, the only people making money passing are NFL quarterbacks and I don’t see a number on your back.
Chris Varick: [to Seth, after seeing him for the first time on the trading floor] Hey, kid, get the fuck outa here.
Broker: [over the phone] I know you’re not standing on your front porch with a bag of money waiting for me to call you. But I’m not some 18-year-old selling a cure for AIDS. I’m 46 years old, I have 22 years market experience, I know this business. So pick up your skirt, grab your balls, and lets go make some money
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] You Want details? Fine. I drive a Ferrari, 355 Cabriolet, What’s up? I have a ridiculous house in the South Fork. I have every toy you could possibly imagine. And best of all kids, I am liquid.
Greg Weinstein: I hope this is better than the last batch of shit you gave me. Produced more wood than Ron Jeremy. I don’t want you to yell, “Reco!” anymore. Know what you should yell? “Timber!” Yeah, Mr. Fuckin’ wood. I hear you fuckin’ makin’ your calls. It’s bullshit, all right? I mean if you want them off the phone so bad, why don’t you just hang up? You should get them excited. You know, excited? They should beg for a broker on the first call.
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] You become an employee of this firm, you will make your first million within three years. I’m gonna repeat that – you will make a million dollars.
Seth Davis: [Narrating] I had a very strong work ethic. The problem was my ethics in work.
Judge Marty Davis: [in a diner] I’m not your best friend. That’s your mother’s racket. I’m your father. I tell you when you screw up. What did you think I was gonna do? Pat you on the back for this casino idea? Tell you what a great entrepreneur you are? So what do you want me to do, Seth? I mean, my God, if I would have called my father to meet me for a cup of coffee to talk about my screw-ups, he probably would have laughed. We didn’t have nice little chats about why I was a bad boy. I got smacked. And I didn’t do it again. Much simpler.
Seth Davis: Look, you know, I’m just trying to restore what’s left of our relationship. I mean…
Judge Marty Davis: Relationship? What the fuck are you talking about, relationship? What, are we dating? I’m not your girlfriend, Seth. I’m your father. Clean up you life, make an honest living, and then you and I can talk like normal people, all right?
Michael Brantley: [making a speech and then a toast in the dining area of a hotel] I just wanted to let you guys know the pikers at the N.A.S.T. are finally off our ass, J.T Marlin once again has unlimated trading authorization I told you guys you can’t keep a good man down, we’re super stars now J.P. Morgan just faxed over their congratulations, it said “welcome to the club”, this means those teams headed up by Todd and Richie who are good enough to give up their rep numbers, they can stop cold calling and start trading again, just to show you how appreciative I am there’s something extra, I want you to go up to suite 418, I hand picked them myself, we’re players now boys SOLUTE!
Michael Brantley: [to the brokers after business hours] I want to congratulate all of you on a huge month, for those of you that are not yet convinced, these were the top dogs of this month, Jim Young, two hundred and eighty thousand dollars, Chris Varick two hundred and five thousand dollars, and Greg Weinstein, one hundred and ninety thousand dollars, this month is going to be even bigger, in fact it’s going to be the biggest month we ever had, there’s a new issue I wanted to talk to you about, it’s called Med Patent, they just designed the world’s first retractable syringe, that means doctors and nurses will never again have to worry about infection from dirty needles, this is not going to be an alternative in the medical world, this is going to be the standard, now I know we’re here to make money, but if we can do something good like this, it’s all the better, I want you to go out and buy yourselves a new car, go buy yourselves a house, go into debt, you are going to make a million dollars inside of six months, we’re going to be taking a class trip tonight, so call your moms and tell them “not to wait up”!
Chris Varick: [Meeting secretly in the stairway] You know how hard I worked to get where I am?
Seth Davis: You need forget about that it doesn’t mean shit, right now this moment is what you should be thinking about, what are you going to do in the next fifteen minutes they’re make sure we never trade another share of stock for the rest of our lives but we can do something
Chris Varick: What’s that?
Seth Davis: Harry, my client I need a senior broker to sign a sell ticket so he can take his shares and dump them on the open market, and make his money back, what’s the difference? Do one thing right here just sign it
[Chris signs the sell ticket]
Greg Weinstein: Hang up. Hang up the phone.
Seth Davis: Thank you. That’s nice for you to do that for me.
Greg Weinstein: First of all, there’s gonna be a lot of these regardless of how good you are but you happen to suck big fat ass rhinoceros dick.
Seth Davis: Well, thank you. That’s confidence inspiring.
Chris Varick: [Meeting secretly in the stairway] What’s this about? You ok?
Seth Davis: I need you to sign a sell ticket for a client of mine
Chris Varick: Fuck Greg, let’s go deal with it and talk to Michael
Seth Davis: Wait a minute Chris, I got arrested last night
Chris Varick: What?
Seth Davis: The FBI arrested me
Chris Varick: The FBI? Why the fuck would the FBI arrest you?
Seth Davis: Because of my involvement in this firm
Chris Varick: Your involvement in the firm? What the fuck does that mean?
Seth Davis: Come on Chris you know what that means
Chris Varick: No, I don’t know what that means, what the fuck did you tell them?
Seth Davis: They knew everything man, they had photographs and tape recorded conversations, they brought my father in, there was nothing I could do
Chris Varick: [Yelling] What did you do?
Seth Davis: Chris, the FBI is going to raid this place in twenty minutes!
Chris Varick: [Yelling louder] What the fuck are you talking about? Fuck Seth!
Seth Davis: come on man, I asked you for months about shit going on here and you told me to shut the fuck up and get ready to be a millionaire
Chris Varick: That’s right “shut the fuck up”, didn’t you learn anything?
Seth Davis: I learned how to fuck people out their money my client, Harry Reynard just lost his life savings, and he wasn’t a whale, he was just a poor schmuck and I took him, I did everything J.T Marlin taught me to do and I made up his mind for him
Chris Varick: What do you want me to tell you? That’s what we do here
Seth Davis: We lie, we’re liars
Chris Varick: Who they coming for?
Seth Davis: They’re coming for everybody, everything
Seth Davis: [after refusing an immunity deal offered by the FBI] No, no deal, you take my father out the back door and you bring him home, he has nothing to do with this case I swear to God, if his name ends up in one newspaper I do not testify and I mean that, for me it’d be worth going to jail for
FBI Agent David Drew: Are you serious?
Seth Davis: What’d you think?
FBI Agent David Drew: alright, before we get ahead of ourselves, what are you offering?
Seth Davis: I’m going to hand you this case on a silver fucking platter, I know everything you don’t, I know how it all works, I know how Michael makes his money, I know how he hides it, I know who he goes in with, I even know where he moves if you guys get too close, I know everything
Seth Davis: [in Seth’s room] What’s going on? One week I can understand but this approaching five weeks now and the profits are still down forty percent since the last week I was here full time
Jeff: I’m not you Seth, I’m going to fucking kill myself for half the fucking profits, you just get come here to pick up your fucking money and it sucks
Seth Davis: This is my business, you used to make ten dollars an hour, now you’re making a thousand a week and you’re still not fucking happy? What the fuck is going on Jeff?
Jeff: Nothing, you can check the tapes
Seth Davis: Are you skimming?
Jeff: I can’t handle a twenty four gig all by myself, this isn’t fucking Denny’s, and I’m still trying to finish school here
Seth Davis: Alright, so why don’t you take another partner? And you split your share with him, which I’ll up to sixty five percent, then you can go to school during the day and work at night
Jeff: I’m already doing that
Seth Davis: You are? And you still can’t fucking handle it?
Seth Davis: [Meeting privately in Michael’s office] I want to talk to you about a client of mine, his name is Harry Reynard
Michael Brantley: I don’t know him
Seth Davis: I think you should because we’re about to lose him, he dropped fifty thousand on Farrowtech this weekend alone
Michael Brantley: And you want to do what?
Seth Davis: I want to keep him here by giving a chunk of the Med Patent IPO
Michael Brantley: We don’t have out IPO’s to someone who just had a bad day on the market
Seth Davis: Michael, this guy is a fucking whale and he’s going to do an obscene amount of business with this firm
Michael Brantley: And you’re somehow just sure of this?
Seth Davis: Yeah, he completely trusts me, he doesn’t even need the money, he owns the biggest foods company in Wisconsin, he just want to know we’re going to do ripe on him
Michael Brantley: How many trades has he made?
Seth Davis: Two, but he made a second trade a week after I opened him, the guy’s pretty sour on Farrowtech and he’s going to walk, I think we should make him a little money on this next IPO and let him take it for a ride
Michael Brantley: What did Greg say?
Seth Davis: He was busy closing somebody, I didn’t want to bother him
Michael Brantley: Well, go get him
Greg Weinstein: [Greg walks in] look, I don’t know what he’s been telling you, but I’ve had it with this shit, this is a business, the point he should be on the fucking phone, not in here bitching about personal petty between him and I
Michael Brantley: Seth was talking about giving Med Patent IPO to Harry Reynard
Greg Weinstein: No, first of all I don’t even know this Harry Reynard, no way he’s totally unreliable
Michael Brantley: The guy dropped fifty thousand on Farrowtech this week
Greg Weinstein: That’s great Michael because I have a list of clients that deserve some IPO than this fucking guy, clients that have been with me for than six months, have taken heavy losses and continued to trade with me
Seth Davis: Yeah and he’s one of them asshole
Michael Brantley: What do you mean he’s one of them?
Seth Davis: He’s one of Greg’s clients, I opened him when I was closing my forty accounts for you, I’m just his contact, his your client, I’m not going to make a dime off this trade, no wonder the guy’s pissed off, his own broker doesn’t know his a fucking client
Michael Brantley: Fine, give him ten thousand shares, he just can’t sell it before we say so
Seth Davis: great
Michael Brantley: no joke Seth, he cannot sell it before we sell it, at least six months
Seth Davis: [Narrating] Looking back the casino was the most legitimate business I had running, I looked my customers in the eye and I provided a service they wanted, now I don’t even look my customers in the eye and I push them something they never asked for
Judge Marty Davis: [to Seth] when I came up to you behind that car, it was the hardest thing I ever had to bear because I wanted to make your pain disappear, I don’t even know how to describe the feeling I had at the time, I just want you to know one thing: not a single day of my life goes by that I don’t think about that moment, I don’t think about being back there just to have one more chance to make your pain disappear, I am more sorry than you’ll ever know
Man on phone: [Over the phone] Take me off your list.
Seth Davis: Fine, fine. I’m gonna take you off my list of successful people today.
Seth Davis: [Narrating] Its strange to think how that knock changed everything, everything, hey don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe in fate, i believe in odds
Seth Davis: [Narrating] I’m plagued by “what ifs?”these days, what if Greg hadn’t come over that night, what if I hadn’t forgot my bag? or seen Michael walk into the other building that day? what if i had skipped over Harry’s card? what are the chances? what are the odds?
Seth Davis: [to Abby] I went to the Med Patent office and there isn’t one, its card board there’s nothing, there’s no employees there’s no research and development I found out how Michael is making his money, we’re selling stock for companies that don’t exist
Seth Davis: [Leaving a phone message for Harry Reynard] I feel bad about the way things ended the last time we talked, I found a way to get you your money back, and I just need you to call me back
Adam: [Exchanging money for poker chips] Give me four hundred
Greg Weinstein: What about the betting?
Seth Davis: What were you thinking?
Greg Weinstein: I don’t know, five hundred max?
Seth Davis: We don’t usually service that level of action but I hate to turn away a new customer the thing is we might not have enough cash to settle you at the end of the night.
Greg Weinstein: That’s ok you can just pay me tomorrow
Seth Davis: How much you want?
Greg Weinstein: [Tosses a roll of cash on the table] Five dimes
Adam: You had to do it, make me look like I’m at the kiddie table
Greg Weinstein: [to Adam] “The shoe fits,”kid
Seth Davis: [to Greg] What denomination?
Greg Weinstein: [to Seth] How about three Puerto Ricans, two chinks and a Guinea? I don’t care, mix it up, whatever you want.
Seth Davis: [Narrating] I was living in Kew Gardens Hills running my “biz” giving the Queens College kids to do something in between classes I was doing well.
Seth Davis: [while having with their family] I dropped out
Judge Marty Davis: Do you want to tell me why?
Seth Davis: I gave it a year and it just wasn’t for me
Judge Marty Davis: I see so that means you’ve been lying to us for six months “school’s fine dad, my grades are good dad”, alright let’s just leave that for a second, so you drop out, that means you haven’t been getting you student loan checks, how are you paying the rent every month?
Seth Davis: I’m running a business, earning a living
Judge Marty Davis: “Earning a living?
[Throws poker chips across the table]
Judge Marty Davis: “Is this what you call “earning a living”?
Greg Weinstein: [to Seth] I’m going to be honest with you, I think you’re running a good business and you’re a smart kid, pulling in some real cash but I have to tell you this is a risky fucking business, are you honestly planning to deal cards to college kids when your fucking thirty five? You don’t think you’re going to get “pinched” in the next few years? Maybe it’s about time to think further down the line.
Seth Davis: [Narrating] I was making good money with the casino but these guys were “macking” it hard, that’s the level I wanted to be operating on so I drove out to Long Island, the office was a good hour from Wall Street, somebody forgot to tell the guys who worked there though, they looked and acted like they took the sixth train to Fulton Street every morning but it wasn’t Wall Street it was exit fifty three on the Long Island Expressway, a good hour from the New York Stock Exchange, “Group interview my ass”, it was like a Hitler youth rally in retrospect, the guy who pitched us, Jim Young was the head recruiter there between him and Michael honestly they can sell bubblegum at the lockjaw ward at Bellevue.
Greg Weinstein: [during Seth’s orientation] These are the client cards, these are our leads every one of these people buy stock, your job is to call them and get them interested in the firm, you’re not actually selling stock but you’re selling them a “dream” so get them “wet”, a month from now a senior broker will call them back with an idea,
Seth Davis: wait so who are these people?
Greg Weinstein: they’re average clients, forty five years old from the Midwest one hundred fifty thousand dollar income one million net, has a local broker but loves a hot shot New Yorker who sounds good on the phone, the cards not going to tell you any of that, it only has their name, address, and occupation so you got to feel them out, the truth is, it doesn’t even matter where the DOW is right now, everybody wants a piece of the market, I can anyone, anytime, anywhere in the country, just give me a phone number, once you qualify the guy you send him a press packet it’ll all be real easy and get you comfortable on the phone which is key, this entire business revolves around the phone, “play the numbers”, this is a contact sport meaning the more people you contact the better you’ll do a good broker makes over seven hundred calls a day
Seth Davis: wait what’s the phone bill like here?
Greg Weinstein: this month was approaching four hundred thousand dollars, even though you’re not selling stock I want you to memorize the quota we have here, did you see the movie Glengarry Glen Ross?
Seth Davis: Yeah
Greg Weinstein: You remember A.B.C.?
Seth Davis: Yeah, Always .Be. Closing
Greg Weinstein: that’s right,Always .Be. Closing “telling’s not selling”, that’s the attitude you want to have, the second rule you have to remember as a trainee “don’t write wood” a lot of trainee are anxious to get off the phone that they steam roll the guy into getting him the press packet so they can hang up, then I call back a month later and say “hi you spoke to a junior associate of mine” and the guy says “I’m not interested”, that’s a shitty lead, that’s fucking wood, the info we send is bullshit, the most important of the call is that is telling them you that one great idea and that a senior broker is going to call them back in a month we don’t want our clients to think we’re pitching them something we read in the Wall Street Journal, if the guy wants to buy stock right then, you want to go into each call expecting just that, if someone wants a recommendation you put the guy on hold, stand up and yell “Reco” at the top of your lungs, first senior broker gets on the phone, he gets the sale. I have this friend at another firm, he hands this book to all his new trainees, it’s called “Rebuttal Book, it has a rebuttal for any excuse like “my wife won’t let me”, “I’m not in the market right now”, “send me a prospects, that’s all stuff you’re going to have to learn later, the most important thing you need to know right now is, you can be whoever you want, change your last name, say you’re the vice president who cares? Do whatever you got to do to get the guy on the line
Seth Davis: Wait how could I do something like that? Isn’t there a compliance officer here?
Greg Weinstein: Everybody does that shit, even on Wall Street are you talking about John over there?
Greg Weinstein: [they both look at John sitting in his office]
Greg Weinstein: [jokingly] look I think his actually masturbating right now
Judge Marty Davis: [while having with their family] How come I’ve never heard of this firm?
Seth Davis: It’s a smaller firm, there are probably a million others you’ve never heard of
Judge Marty Davis: The reason I ask is I thought you’d join a firm like Goldman Sachs or something of that stature
Seth Davis: The reason the larger houses don’t like to hire kids straight out of college unless you went to an ivy league school or if you want to do cash flow analysis for the next fifteen years they usually want you to work outside their firm for a few years and get a good sense of the market but most brokers start out at little firms like JT Marlin
Judge Marty Davis: good, So all you have to do now is close the casino
Seth Davis: [Narrating] I originally I got in for the cash but getting my dad’s respect is what kept me there, I had to adapt to this new world, I didn’t know any of these guys but what I did know is that they had all the money in the world and not a clue what to do with it
Dr. Jacobs: Marlin?
Chris Varick: [Another broker turns on the speaker phone ] Right, his my father, so my associate tells me you’re interested in one of our stocks?
Dr. Jacobs: Yes, MSC sounds like it might be interesting
Chris Varick: Might be? “Might be” doesn’t sell stock at the rate MSC is going for, we’re talking a very high volume here
Dr. Jacobs: Well, I still have to run it by my people
Chris Varick: That’s great doc if you want to miss another opportunity and watch your colleagues get rich doing clinical trials that don’t buy a share and hang up the phone
Dr. Jacobs: Hold on I didn’t say that I just want to talk about this more
Chris Varick: Honestly doc I don’t have the time this stock is blowing up right now the whole firm is going nuts, hold on let me open the door to my office
[signals everyone to yell and make noise]
Chris Varick: See that doc? That’s my trading floor now I have a million calls to make to a million doctors who are in the no, I can’t walk you through this I’m sorry
[waiting and expecting a response]
Dr. Jacobs: Ok, let’s do this
Chris Varick: Since you’re a new account I can’t go any higher than two thousand shares I’m sorry
Dr. Jacobs: Two thousand shares? Are you nuts? That’s way beyond what I was thinking, Jesus! I’m curious why can’t you sell me any more than that?
Chris Varick: We’d like to establish a relationship with our clients on something small before we get to the more serious trades, let me show you couple percentage points then we can talk about doing future business
Dr. Jacobs: That sounds good, give me the two thousand shares
Chris Varick: Done, I promise we’ll swing for fences on the next one, let me put my secretary on and she’ll take down your info, do you want that confirmation sent to your office or your mansion? It was a pleasure doing business
Seth Davis: [referring to the amount of stock he sold to Dr. Jacobs ] Why’d you put a max on his buy?
Greg Weinstein: [to Greg] You didn’t tell him how it works?
Greg Weinstein: His trainee he doesn’t need to know initial sell limits
Greg Weinstein: [to Seth] Make sure he shows you the ropes his too busy calling his bookie, fucking Hebrews always looking out for themselves and not the trainees, the reason I capped him is in case if his a piker, so we’re go ahead and front the money for this sale and if he doesn’t send the check I’m the one holding the bag follow me?
Seth Davis: Right
Chris Varick: Last month a kid a Jim’s team wrote a million dollar ticket the stock was down three and a half points by settlement the kid took a quarter of a million dollar hit, do you know how much that hurts? Besides the first sale is what’s appetite, if his a whale, which looks like he is
Seth Davis: Right
Chris Varick: So put him a daily measureable rip
Seth Davis: What’s a “rip”?
Chris Varick: A “rip”,is a commission that’s why we work here we make huge rips, a two dollar rip which is unheard of anywhere on Wall Street, which means we’re walking away with two dollars of every share we sell, its real money and opportunity
Seth Davis: How does Michael afford that?
Chris Varick: Couldn’t tell you
Seth Davis: Ok
Chris Varick: If his doing it, his making money from it, and the point is service your client right and he’ll be back for more show him a three percentage return and he’ll trust you to watch his kids for the weekend
Greg Weinstein: [to Seth, while driving in his Ferrari ] You’ve got to realize half the kids you and I grew up with, remember in Hebrew school shoving match was a big deal? Worst case scenario somebody got their Yarmulke knocked off it’s true these guys are no joke they get all tanked up, throw a quick fist some of them actually enjoy it, like Richie what the fuck is that? Probably thought I was being tough back there with that guy, I was shitting my pants, fucking Guineas, half of them do coke, they all drink, zero capital, no fucking stability. they make all this money and always living three steps ahead, there’s guys at the firm that make a million a year but can’t even get a loan for a Honda because their credit is so bad, everybody’s just waiting for the fifteenth of the month, they may have the Porsche but they don’t have ten bucks to put in the gas tank, its nigger rich.
Jim Young: [to the new recruits] I want to talk to you guys about appearance because most of you dress like shit. I don’t know what your financial situation is and I don’t want to know, but you’ve got to get yourself at least one descent suit because we have a minimum level of aesthetic professionalism we have to maintain. In three months you can outfit your entire closet but for now just get something to hold you over, secondly, it’s time to get your series 7 books, don’t get nervous if you study you’ll pass and then you begin trading as an FCC licensed broker, then you’re a fucking millionaire and it’s just that simple, I need three hundred bucks from each of you for the books and it will be returned if and when you pass the exam and I need that tomorrow that is all.