There Came Into Egypt a Pharaoh Who Did Not Know: Quote Explanation

Movie quotes have a way of encapsulating complex ideas and emotions, resonating with audiences long after the film concludes. In the 1987 film “Wall Street,” a memorable quote emerges: “There came into Egypt a Pharaoh that did not know.” In this blog post, we will explore the origin of this quote, delve into its profound meaning, and analyze its implications for power dynamics, ignorance, and the consequences of unchecked leadership.

The Origin of the Quote:

The quote, “There came into Egypt a Pharaoh that did not know,” is spoken by the character Sir Larry Wildman, portrayed by Hal Holbrook, in the film “Wall Street,” directed by Oliver Stone. It serves as a metaphorical reference to the biblical story of Joseph and Pharaoh, highlighting the arrival of a new leader who lacks historical knowledge and understanding.

Understanding the Meaning:

The quote in “Wall Street” carries a metaphorical weight, depicting the arrival of a leader who lacks knowledge and comprehension of historical context and the consequences that can arise from such ignorance. It symbolizes the dangers of uninformed leadership and the potential downfall that can follow.

Expanding on the Topic:

Expanding on the quote’s meaning, we can analyze its implications for power dynamics and the dangers of leaders who lack historical understanding. The reference to the Pharaoh who did not know alludes to the biblical narrative of Joseph, wherein his wisdom and understanding of the future enabled him to save Egypt from famine. However, when a new Pharaoh took power, one who lacked this knowledge, Egypt fell into a period of hardship and suffering.

The quote suggests that leaders who lack historical knowledge and understanding may make ill-informed decisions, leading to adverse consequences for their societies. It serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the importance of leaders who are well-informed, open-minded, and knowledgeable about the complexities of the world they govern.

Furthermore, the quote speaks to the potential dangers of unchecked power and the impact of leadership that disregards historical lessons. It highlights the need for leaders to be aware of the mistakes, triumphs, and lessons of the past to make informed decisions that benefit their communities and avoid repeating past errors.

Expanding on the topic further, the quote prompts us to reflect on the significance of historical awareness and its role in shaping a more informed and just society. By understanding and acknowledging the historical context, leaders can make more thoughtful, compassionate, and effective decisions that contribute to the welfare of their people.

The quote also serves as a reminder to individuals within society to be active participants in the preservation and dissemination of historical knowledge. By learning from history and promoting historical understanding, we can collectively work to prevent the rise of leaders who lack crucial knowledge and understanding of the past.


The quote “There came into Egypt a Pharaoh that did not know” from the film “Wall Street” serves as a powerful metaphor for the dangers of uninformed leadership and the consequences of historical ignorance. It emphasizes the need for leaders to possess historical awareness, as it enables them to make informed decisions that benefit society as a whole. By recognizing the significance of historical knowledge and promoting its dissemination, we can cultivate a society that learns from the past and strives for a more enlightened future.

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