PAPER 1: Weekend at Bernie’s (1989) (Life insurance fraud)
Paper 2: Too Big to Fail (risk taking behavior of bank & AIG)
Discuss how the issue of white collar crime is presented in the film. Do not give a scene-by-scene
description of what happened in the movie. Who starred or appeared in the film (ie: the movie stars) or
who directed the movie is not important (remember, this isn’t a film class). Your review should be
a thoughtful discussion of the film and how it relates to white collar crime.
Your discussion should include:
is the movie based on a true story;
what is the crime;
how does it take place,
why does it take place,
who are the characters involved (NOT the movie stars who play the characters – the characters
themselves – who are they, what is his/her profession),
how long does the crime occur before it is discovered,
how is it discovered and who/why/how is the crime discovered,
how did the discovery of the crime affect the offender’s reputation/status in the business
community or his/her family; did it have any affect?
how is the crime resolved, was there a trial; if so, what was the outcome,
did the perpetrator receive a prison sentence.
If greed is involved in your film, what motivated the greed? (a father’s approval, perhaps? Or maybe
resentment of insults the character endured in the past?) In other words, is the greed based on something
more complex than greed for money and arrogance?
Was the entity (ie: the corporation or agency) a victim or perpetrator, or both?
What do you think? Is the propensity to engage in unlawful conduct systemic; that is, is it inherent in a
competitive, free-enterprise economic system in a society oriented toward the individual Or was
criminal behavior caused solely by “bad apples,” rogue employees whose character flaws led them to
cheat and steal?
Based on our class readings and discussions describe the extent to which the media's portrayal of the
crime was accurate. What does the research say about the particular crime that occurred?