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Barbarians at the Gate (1993)

The president of a major tobacco company decides to buy the company himself, but a bidding war ensues as other companies make their own offers.



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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Cohen
Linda Robinson
Jim Robinson
Laurie Johnson
H. John Greeniaus
Ted Forstmann
Don Kelly
Peter Dvorsky ...
Robert Allegro
Judy Altman ...
Robinson's Aide
Anthony the Pizza Man


F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of RJR Nabisco decides that the time is ripe to take over his own company and enlists American Express. This kicks off a tide of other firms swarming in to tender offers. The outline of the film follows the actual takeover of the RJR Nabisco empire in a tongue in cheek way. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 March 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A füstbement terv  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the golf course, Ross mentions giving away free Gucci watches and Polaroids. James Garner, who plays Ross, starred in Polaroid's TV commercials in the 70s and 80s. See more »


When the private jet takes off from Charlie Brown Airport, Atlanta (now Fulton County Airport) with only the dog on board (at around 33min into the film), the runway is clearly marked "12L". There is no such runway at that airport (the three runways are 8/26, 14/32 and 9/27). In addition, the use of "L" indicates there is more than one runway with the same bearing, suggesting a larger airport. See more »


George Roberts: Let them curse the darkness - we're not handing out any candles.
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Written and Performed by Elmer Sheffield
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User Reviews

Larry Gelbart is a genius.
10 February 1999 | by (Lucas Buck, NC) – See all my reviews

Most people think Larry Gelbart is a genius, as do I.

The story of H. Ross Johnson and the rise of Nabisco is a historical milestone of the 1980's corporate America. The book, Barbarians at the Gate, from which this film was based lays out in detail, every outrageous, and more outrageous step in what ultimately became the biggest corporate acquisition in US history (to date). THIS IS A TRUE STORY.

The principals include James Garner, great as Johnson, the Canadian door-to-door salesman who's rise through the ranks of the American corporate system provides the centerpiece around which the entire story revolves. Jonathan Pryce at his most prick-like is corporate raider Henry Kravitz, a man who's life is so cold, you'd have to heat his wife with a blow torch just to warm her to frigid-the self-indulgent, self-described fashion designer Carolyn Roehm. (The real-life Roehm can be seen intermittently adding festive bunting to the set of Good Morning America during the holidays). Senator Fred Dalton Thompson's Jim Robinson, then chairman of American Express shows us what its really like when the wife controls the purse-strings, as well as you, and everything else in sight.

Great supporting cast includes Peter Riegert, as the since never heard from Peter Cohen, Joanna Cassidy as the legend in her own mind Linda Gosden Robinson, Leilani Sarelle Ferrer (Sharon Stone's gal-pal in Basic Instinct), Jeffrey DeMunn, and David Rasche

If you don't have time to read the book, do see the movie, where Gelbart's wonderful script provided HBO one of their first hits in the made-for-cable genre. Wall to wall laughs, with a little educative value to boot.

After you've watched the film, you might ask yourself---`who paid for all the corporate excess, the inefficiency, stupidity, the feeding of massive egos, and blatant disregard for the ‘little people'?'

Being not a political person, I leave you to your own resolve.

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