The Wizard of Lies

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The Wizard of Lies
The Wizard of Lies.jpg
Television release poster
Based onThe Wizard of Lies
by Diana B. Henriques
Written by
Directed byBarry Levinson
Music by
  • Evgueni Galperine
  • Sacha Galperine
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerJoseph E. Iberti
CinematographyEigil Bryld
EditorRon Patane
Running time132 minutes
Production companyHBO Films
Original networkHBO
Original release
  • May 20, 2017 (2017-05-20)

The Wizard of Lies is a 2017 American television biopic film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Sam Levinson, Sam Baum, and John Burnham Schwartz,[1] based on the 2011 non-fiction book of the same name by Diana B. Henriques. The film stars Robert De Niro as businessman and fraudster Bernie Madoff, Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife Ruth Madoff, and Alessandro Nivola as their older son Mark Madoff. It aired on HBO on May 20, 2017.


Bernard Madoff founded his company on Wall Street in the early 1960s, which, over time, turned into one of the largest investment funds. Madoff had enjoyed a reputation as a successful and influential financier, broker, financial consultant, and generous philanthropist until 2008, when it became known that, over the past 16 years, his firm had run the largest Ponzi scheme in history. The resulting scandal lead to multibillion-dollar losses and the arrest of Madoff, who was later sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Lawyer Martin London, Mark Madoff's father-in-law, advises Bernie Madoff's sons to turn their father to the authorities.

Bernie Madoff admits to FBI agents that he'd been operating a Ponzi scheme since the 1970s. In 2000, Harry Markopolos testified before the US House that he believed the Madoff's company was a fraudulent Ponzi scheme because the company's gains never fluctuated up and down.

In 2005, Madoff doesn't want to give investigators his Depository Trust Company (DTC) account number. By the start of the 2008 Great Recession in the United States, numerous clients start pouring into Madoff's firm to withdraw the money.

Clawback suits are filed against Madoff's children.



On August 27, 2015 Michelle Pfeiffer and Alessandro Nivola joined the film to play wife Ruth Madoff and older son Mark Madoff, respectively.[1] On September 9, 2015 Hank Azaria joined the film as Frank DiPascali.[2] On September 10, 2015 Nathan Darrow, Kristen Connolly, Kathrine Narducci, and Steve Coulter were cast as Andrew Madoff, Stephanie Madoff, Eleanor Squillari, and Martin London, respectively. Diana B. Henriques was also cast as herself.[3] On 11 September 2015, Lily Rabe was cast as Catherine Hooper.[4]

Principal photography on the film began on August 31 2015, in New York City.[5]

John Burnham Schwartz, Sam Baum and Sam Levinson were credited as the film's writers.[6] Diana Henriques’s The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and The Death of Trust, and Laurie Sandell’s Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family were credited as additional source material.


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 73%, based on 52 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Wizard of Lies doesn't really shed much new light on its fact-based story, but thanks to solid direction and a talented cast, it still proves consistently watchable."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 67 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "favorable reviews".[8] The film has a three-star rating on the Roger Ebert website, with the reviewer praising De Niro's performance.


The film's premiere drew 1.5 million viewers, making it HBO's largest premiere viewership for an HBO film in four years; additional replays and viewings through the network's streaming service brought the film's total viewers to 2.4 million for its premiere weekend.[9]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2017 Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials The Wizard of Lies Nominated
69th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie The Wizard of Lies Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Robert De Niro Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Ellen Chenoweth Nominated
75th Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Robert De Niro Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated
8th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best TV Movie The Wizard of Lies Won
Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Robert De Niro Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated
22nd Satellite Awards Best Television Film The Wizard of Lies Won
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Robert De Niro Won
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated
24th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Robert De Niro Nominated


The Wizard of Lies (Music from the HBO Film)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMay 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
LabelLakeshore Records

The Wizard of Lies (Music from the HBO Film) was released digitally May 19, 2017, the day before the film's premiere.[10]

1."The Wizard of Lies"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:56
2."A New Start"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine0:58
3."Ponzi Scheme"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:55
4."It's Not Enough"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine2:06
5."Nightmare"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:50
6."FBI"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine2:29
7."150 Years"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine3:14
8."The Club Colette Jam / Big Noise from Winnetka Medley"The Club Collette Band7:18
9."Doubts"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:04
10."Ruth Call"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine2:40
11."I Revered Him"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine2:31
12."I Have to Talk to You All"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:45
13."Losing It"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine2:08
14."The Pills"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine0:43
15."The Boys Wouldn't Sign"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:41
16."Make It Right"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine1:14
17."My Father Is Dead to Me"Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine2:46

See also


  1. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (August 27, 2015). "HBO's Madoff Movie 'The Wizard Of Lies' A Go With Michelle Pfeiffer, Alessandro Nivola Joining Robert De Niro; Barry Levinson To Direct". Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 9, 2015). "Hank Azaria Joins HBO's Bernie Madoff Movie 'The Wizard Of Lies'". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 10, 2015). "HBO's Bernie Madoff Movie 'The Wizard Of Lies' Adds Five To Cast". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 11, 2015). "Lily Rabe Joins HBO's Bernie Madoff Movie 'The Wizard Of Lies'". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  5. ^ "'Wizard of Lies', starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, filming locations in NYC this week". August 31, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Liz Calvario (2017-04-12). "'The Wizard Of Lies' Trailer: Robert De Niro Heads To Court As Epic Fraudster Bernie Madoff". Deadline magazine. Retrieved 2020-10-18. The Wizard of Lies was written by John Burnham Schwartz, Sam Baum and Sam Levinson, based on Diana Henriques’ book, with Laurie Sandell’s Truth and Consequences also used as additional source material.
  7. ^ "The Wizard of Lies (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  8. ^ "The Wizard of Lies Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 23, 2017). "Madoff Movie 'Wizard Of Lies' Draws Largest Premiere Viewership For HBO Film In 4 Years". Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  10. ^ "Soundtrack to Original HBO Film THE WIZARD OF LIES Available Digitally 5/19". May 15, 2017. Retrieved May 24, 2017.

External links

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