The Wizard of Lies

The Wizard of Lies is a 2017 American television film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Sam Levinson, Sam Baum, and John Burnham Schwartz,[1] based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Diana B. Henriques. The film stars Robert De Niro as businessman Bernard 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.

The Wizard of Lies
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 language(s)English
Producer(s)Joseph E. Iberti
CinematographyEigil Bryld
Editor(s)Ron Patane
Running time132 minutes
Production company(s)HBO Films
Original networkHBO
Original release
  • May 20, 2017 (2017-05-20)


The plot of the film is based on real events—the story of Bernard Madoff, who founded his company on Wall Street in the early 1960s, which, over time, turned into one of the largest investment funds. Madoff himself 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 turned into the largest financial pyramid in history. The huge scandal that broke out turned into multibillion-dollar losses and led to the collapse of Madoff himself, who later received 150 years in prison, his family, friends, and thousands of clients who trusted him. The film tells the story of Madoff's life since his exposure.



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 September 11, 2015, Lily Rabe was cast as Catherine Hooper.[4]

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


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 72% based on 39 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."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 67 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "favorable reviews".[7]


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.[8]

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
Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine
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.[9]

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. 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. "The Wizard of Lies (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  7. "The Wizard of Lies Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  8. Andreeva, Nellie (May 23, 2017). "Madoff Movie 'Wizard Of Lies' Draws Largest Premiere Viewership For HBO Film In 4 Years". Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  9. "Soundtrack to Original HBO Film THE WIZARD OF LIES Available Digitally 5/19". May 15, 2017. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
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