movie math

Every Single Curse Word Said in The Wolf of Wall Street: The Fullest Picture

Photo: Maya Robinson and Photo by Paramount Pictures

On January 2, a Variety piece, citing Wikipedia, declared that Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street used the F-word 506 times, setting a new record. This report was quickly picked up by news outlets around the world. I love Wikpedia and a good headline, but this authorless claim seemed deserving of fact-checking. And I am a masochist. (See here and here.) So, in the service of making sure the historical record is accurate, I decided to watch the film (two and a half times) and carefully count not only the number of F-words, but, to get a fuller picture of the film’s verbal depravity, every single other bad word and variation used over the course of the film’s three-hour running time. (See a picture of my notes, below.) It was, I thought, a wonderful idea.

Then, my research done and sent to our art department to graph, those fucking fucks over at Slate had to publish a very similar piece last evening. Good job, Slate! But that doesn’t mean that this new area of exploration can’t keep moving forward: I can be the Edison to Slate’s Ben Franklin in advancing the study of counting depraved stockbrokers yelling “fuck.” While they kept their research to the F-word family (and, for the record, while both of us disagreed with Wikipedia, we came up with different numbers: Slate’s 544 to my 569), I also noted every shit, dick, cock, and so on — delivered by all characters, be they main, supporting, or even lost in a crowd. (After Jonah Hill’s Donnie swallows a junior trader’s goldfish, for example, you hear unspecified co-workers yell, “Get the fuck out of here! Fuck off, Mr. Rogers! Fuck you, bow tie! A real fucking idiot!”)

We broke down the data into four graphical treatments — a list of every curse word and how many times it was said, a chart showing just the F-words, a chart showing all of the curse words listed in relation to each other, and then a breakout of which characters are the most profane. Enjoy. (And note: We are aware the comments section, run by an outside vendor, does not allow profanity to be used. This does not make us hypocrites. It makes computers hypocrites.)

Number of times every curse word is said in The Wolf of Wall Street All variations of Fuck Total Curse Words in The Wolf of Wall Street The Most Profane Characters in The Wolf of Wall Street
All the Curses in Wolf of Wall Street, in Charts