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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


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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 »


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.
See more »


Make That Move
Performed by Shalamar
Written by William Shelby, Kevin Spencer, Ricky Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

Guilty pleasure of greed
15 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

A story of greed, F. Ross Johnson's attempt to rid himself of troublesome shareholders who bug him with cries to curb his excessive management and lifestyle ignites a bidding war for ownership of RJR-Nabisco. Through sessions of number-crunching, men's room meetings, and personal loyalties and competitions, the fate of the company and those involved is decided and standards set for what will be allowed or punished by the captains of industry of the 1980's heyday.

For a movie dealing with such despicable and probably in real life boring characters, the final product is delightful, entertaining, and almost educational. While the level of greed and excess is appalling, you can't help getting caught up in the wheeling and dealing and the competition, rooting for one side or the other while knowing you shouldn't like either one. The greedy CEO or the heartless junk-bond trader (Henry Kravis), take your pick and enjoy. No one is immune to the satire of the film, down to the trophy wives and their manicurists who know more about Wall Street than they do. Still, the comic tone is maintained; as much as you want to hate them, the film avoids moralizing, content just to ridicule and make the audience laugh.

The attention to detail in the movie is simply brilliant. Whenever there is a TV screen or someone lighting a cigarette in the background, pay attention or you may miss a good laugh. It boasts clearly the best costumes of any Wall Street movie, from costume parties to Bush-Quayle hoedowns. Witty and satirical dialogue is accompanied by a well-chosen score. Details and incidents with little to do with the actual plot add to the entertainment value while not distracting from the story. Overall a great movie, funny and cool, makes you think a little: would you really want to be one of them?

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
Wrong Movie Image! jonhoyle-1
James Garner (F. Ross Johnson) died July 19, 2014, at age 86 tremas-1
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