In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald offers up commentary on a variety of themes — justice, power, greed, betrayal, the American dream, and so on. Of all the themes, perhaps none is more well developed than that of social stratification. The Great Gatsby is regarded as a brilliant piece of social commentary, offering a vivid peek into American life in the 1920s. Fitzgerald carefully sets up his novel into distinct groups but, in the end, each group has its own problems to contend with, leaving a powerful reminder of what a precarious place the world really is. By creating distinct social classes — old money, new money, and no money — Fitzgerald sends strong messages about the elitism running throughout every strata of society.
Jay Gatsby has been portrayed by several actors in film adaptations of Fitzgerald's novel. Among the actors to portray the character are Alan Ladd in the 1949 film adaptation , Robert Redford in the 1974 film adaptation , Leonardo DiCaprio in director Baz Luhrmann 's 2013 film adaptation and Gregg Sulkin in Kevin Asch 's 2014 drama film Affluenza , billed as a loose re-telling of the novel set among a group of rich and privileged teenagers in Long Island before the 2008 financial crash . The character is renamed Dylan Carson in this version. There was also a 1926 silent film in which Gatsby was portrayed by Warner Baxter , but there are no remaining copies known to exist.