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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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(book), (book) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Peter Cohen
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Linda Robinson
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Jim Robinson
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Laurie Johnson
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H. John Greeniaus
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Ted Forstmann
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Don Kelly
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Robert Allegro
Judy Altman ...
Robinson's Aide
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Anthony the Pizza Man
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

In the 80's Wall Street had fun at your expense. Now it's time for you to have the last laugh. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 March 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A füstbement terv  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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

Quotes

F. Ross Johnson: Well, that LBO stuff is way over my head. I just can't follow it, Henry.
Henry Kravis: You don't have to. Bankers and lawyers work it all out.
F. Ross Johnson: All I want from bankers is a new calendar every year and all I care about lawyers is they're back in their coffins before the sun comes up.
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Soundtracks

Shakin'
Written and Performed by Elmer Sheffield
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User Reviews

 
"They make money the hard way -- they steal it."
7 April 2011 | by See all my reviews

"Barbarians at the Gates" is the insane true story of the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. The stars are James Garner, Jonathan Pryce, Peter Riegert, Joanna Cassidy, Fred Dalton Thompson, Jeffrey DeMunn, Tom Aldredge, and David Rasche.

Upset that the stock price for RJR Nabisco isn't rising, and realizing that new item that was to raise it, Premier Cigarettes, taste and smell horrible, F. Ross Johnson (Garner), the CEO, decides to buy the company at $75 a share, which is $4 more than the stock's highest price. He gets the idea after talking to an expert in the LBO field, Henry Kravis (Pryce). When Kravis finds out that he's not involved in this LBO, he becomes upset. Soon, thanks to press releases that come out too soon, and embarrassing information hitting the papers, there are not only many players in the field, but the price being bid has gone up to $112 a share, meaning that the company will be put into billions and billions of dollars in debt.

The battle of egos is outrageous and all too believable in this story of what became a gigantic takeover contest. The film compresses some of the incidents, but the characters and behind the scenes happenings make it an intriguing, entertaining, and ultimately depressing story. Outside the New York office, one is shown countless homeless people while inside, people are talking about billions of dollars. A true '80s story of greed.

James Garner is fantastic and funny as good old boy, F. Ross Johnson, who gets into a game of oneupmanship with the elegant, quietly intense Kravis - Jonathan Pryce gives a tremendous performance as a man seething underneath while speaking very softly. Peter Riegert, as the man trying to put together the deal for Shearson Lehman is wonderful, as are two actors I've had the privilege of seeing on stage, Tom Aldredge as the head of the board of RJR Nabisco, and David Rasche, as a banker trying to get in on the deal. Fred Dalton Thompson and Joanna Cassidy are a married couple - she's the publicist for the LBO, and he's the CEO of American Express.

After seeing the documentary about Enron, I really thought nothing could top it. This does. If you want to be appalled by corporate behavior, don't miss it.


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