Michael Douglas reprises his Oscar-winning role of Gordon Gekko in the 2010 film “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” (Barry Wetcher, S.M.P.S.P.)

Dec. 11, 1987 On this day, the world met Gordon Gekko, the personification of heartless 1980s excess, with the release of Oliver Stone's movie "Wall Street." As portrayed by Michael Douglas, Gekko is "a lizardly villain in Money Hell, where men with concrete souls and Versace suits play games with pensioners' pennies and workers' paychecks," Rita Kempley wrote in her Washington Post review. Even though the famously left-leaning Stone meant the film as a critique of capitalism, Gekko, with his famous line "Greed is good," ultimately proved more popular than the morally superior characters played by Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen. (Does anyone even remember their characters' names?) Douglas won an Oscar for his performance. Gekko — whom Kempley dubbed the "guru of greed" — then returned in the 2010 sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" as an anti-hero, rather than a straight-up villain. The critical reception was mixed. But the film did well at the box office, no small feat given that millions of Americans were still reeling from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and a housing market meltdown, both of which were partially the result of Wall Street practices Gekko would be proud of.

Annys Shin