Independent Lens (1999– )
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Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 

2:07 | Trailer

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Corporate audio and videotapes tell the inside story of the scandal involving one company's manipulation of California's energy supply and its, and how its executives wrung a billion dollars out of the resulting crisis.



(book), (book) | 1 more credit »





Episode credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Beard ...
Herself (archive footage)
Jim Chanos ...
Dick Cheney ...
Himself (archive footage)
Carol Coale ...
Reggie Dees II ...
Young man the stripper dances in front of (as Reggie Deets II)
Joseph Dunn ...
Max Eberts ...
Peter Elkind ...
Andrew Fastow ...
David Freeman ...


Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, a multidimensional study of one of the biggest business scandals in American history. The chronicle takes a look at one of the greatest corporate disasters in history, in which top executives from the 7th largest company in this country walked away with over one billion dollars, leaving investors and employees with nothing. The film features insider accounts and rare corporate audio and video tapes that reveal colossal personal excesses of the Enron hierarchy and the utter moral vacuum that posed as corporate philosophy. The human drama that unfolds within Enron's walls resembles a Greek tragedy and produces a domino effect that could shape the face of our economy and ethical code for years to come. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's Just Business



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some nudity | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

13 October 2005 (Australia)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$76,639 (USA) (22 April 2005)


$4,064,421 (USA) (16 September 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Among the protesters who disrupt the meeting with Jeff Skilling at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club is Marla Ruzicka, who was killed on 16 April 2005 in Iraq by a suicide bomber. She founded CIVIC (Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict) which worked to help the victims of the war in Iraq and she was a former Global Exchange activist. See more »


Jeff Skilling: [comparing California to the Titanic] At least when the Titanic went down, the lights were on.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks includes "all the `Deep Throats' - you know who you are!" See more »


Features Doctor X (1932) See more »


God's Away on Business
Written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan
Jalma Music
Performed by Tom Waits
Courtesy of Anti/Epitaph Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Harvard Professor to student "How smart are you?" "I'm *@#% smart", Jeff Skilling
27 May 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" directed by Alex Gibney takes a moment to explain in vivid detail about the rise and the fall of that giant of giants, Enron. Based on the book by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkin, this documentary holds the viewer glued to the seat because one cannot believe, for a moment, what one is watching on the screen.

The great debacle of the beginning of the century was the Enron downfall. At the same time, it is a cautionary tale for a lot of people about the way some unscrupulous manipulators can wreck havoc in the lives of the people that give their lives working for a any corporation. The Enron workers paid the ultimate price because a few people at the top had an unstoppable greed.

Mr. Gibney is smart in presenting the facts without taking sides. The director is not making a moral judgment at all, he is just letting us absorb how Enron operated and how it was able to pull the wool over everyone's eyes in believing this was the greatest company in the world.

Not only did Enron go down, but it took the Arthur Anderson accounting firm as well. There are thousands of people that are victims of this reckless disregard for the people under these scheming executives, who thought of nothing, but themselves. It's ironic that Jeff Skilling is paying more than twenty million dollars for his own defense, and who knows how much more will Kenneth Lay and Andy Fastow pay to star lawyers in their legal processes.

Ultimately, the real winner seems to be the oriental executive, whose name I don't recall, with an appetite for strippers who ended up being the biggest landowner in Colorado and now is living happily ever after in Hawaii. Compare that picture with the people the Enron workers who lost it all and must now make ends meet with little.

The Enron tragedy should be taught at Harvard as Greed 101, or how to get away with murder in America.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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