In the 1987 movie Wall Street, Carl Fox (played by Martin Sheen) is skeptical of Gordon Gekko's intentions. He says to his son Bud:

There came into Egypt a Pharaoh that did not know.

I was wondering what this actually meant. I've always assumed it's from the Bible, but I couldn't find an exact quote.

So what does Carl Fox mean? Is there a specific property that he expects from Gekko? (Untrustworthy for example, or bosses looking down on the workers, etc.)

Here's a clip of the line: https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/d5110999-2658-4597-b626-e9fe53874679

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    Exodus 1:8 - Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. -- I think this is what Fox was paraphrasing. Basically saying that Gekko doesn't know who he's dealing with, and that it'll probably all go wrong.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 2:37
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    I'm pretty sure that it is Exodus 1:8, but the rest of the dialogue between Gekko and Carl Fox is: Gekko: Is that a proverb? Fox: No. It's a prophecy. Also, Fox didn't finish the biblical verse. He left out "Joseph." I'm not well versed enough in the bible to know if this verse is a prophecy or not. Either way, the way that I interpret it is that Gekko treats people like they are expendable...like the new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph and what his previous works were and it didn't matter to him either way. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 2:48
  • One of you should submit this as an answer
    – Steve-O
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 13:26
  • @Steve-O Yeah, I didn't want to submit an answer with just my interpretation of the bible verse. I would want to find a reliable source from the filmmakers on this dialogue before I submitted an official answer :) Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


If we look at the full exchange

Carl Fox : "There came into Egypt a Pharaoh who did not know."
Gordon Gekko : I beg your pardon, is that a proverb?
Carl Fox : No, a prophecy. The rich have been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time. The only difference between the Pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn't allow unions. I know what this guy is all about, greed. He don't give a damn about Bluestar or the unions. He's in and out for the buck and he don't take prisoners.

And then the matching reference in Exodus 1

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them...So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves

It seems to me that Carl Fox is comparing Gordon Gekko to the new Pharaoh, as he is coming into Bluestar without understanding or appreciating the company and people that work there. And just like the new Pharaoh, Gekko will exploit them (that is the prophecy part, that Gekko will do what the Pharaoh did).

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