17 user 3 critic

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


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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 »


The film is set in 1988, but a post-1991 Chevrolet Caprice taxi is visible during a street scene. See more »


1st Scientist: [talking about the smokeless Premier cigarette survey] Well of all the people we surveyed the results were just about uniform
F. Ross Johnson: Uh huh.
Edward A. Horrigan Jr.: They all said they tasted like shit.
F. Ross Johnson: Like shit?
2nd Scientist: Shit was the consensus, yes sir.
F. Ross Johnson: They all said that? Nobody liked them?
2nd Scientist: Fewer than 5%
F. Ross Johnson: You said the results were gonna be terrific
Edward A. Horrigan Jr.: Well there's nothing wrong with 5%, Ross, I'll take 5% of the market anytime of the week
F. Ross Johnson: How much are we into right now?
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Written and Performed by Elmer Sheffield
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User Reviews

I laughed so much I almost sold my Microsoft shares
13 September 2001 | by (Brussels) – See all my reviews

When you look at the dross that Hollywood throws money at and then forces on us at the local multiplex, one wonders why a TV film like this with so much intelligence and wit finds such a limited audience. 'Greed is good' as Gordon Gekko said and so believe just about all the protaganists of this wonderful script. James Garner is such a likeable actor that he makes his behaviour seem almost normal and natural. I'm not a great fan of Jonathan Pryce but he is perfect as the bloodless lizard Henry Travis. Larry Gelbart sustains the humour from beginning to end and the scene in the laboratory must be one of the funniest ever, and in laughing out loud I almost bust a gut as if I had been drawing on one of their new 'healthier' cigarettes.

Creavity does live in Hollywood and this film is testimony to it, so Studio Bosses give it its head and drop the remakes, seqeuls and prequels.

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Recent Posts
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful... bhodgman
caught this on late night bbc one night Dicky_Hart
Johnson's friend who introduces him to Kravis aegisthus
Fascinated by this film... oscarflix
James Garner (F. Ross Johnson) died July 19, 2014, at age 86 tremas-1
Wrong Movie Image! jonhoyle-1
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