7.3/10
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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:
... F. Ross Johnson
... Henry Kravis
... Peter Cohen
... Linda Robinson
... Jim Robinson
... Laurie Johnson
... Edward A. Horrigan Jr.
... H. John Greeniaus
... Ted Forstmann
... Charlie Hugel
... Don Kelly
... George Roberts
... Robert Allegro
Judy Altman ... Robinson's Aide
... 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:

After a power breakfast they'll still eat you for lunch. 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  »

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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

Charlie Hugel: Now I know what the "F" in "F. Ross Johnson" stands for.
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Soundtracks

Country Estate
(uncredited)
Music by Geoff Levin and Chris Many
Chappell Recorded Music Library
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User Reviews

 
Come on, Fellas, cough it up!
21 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

Can a made-for-TV movie about leveraged buy outs ("LBO"s) be funny? Yup.

I haven't read the book but the teleplay by Gelbart is very amusing and sometimes hilarious. Be prepared for the profanity which generates some of the best laughs. "There should be a warning on every pack: Danger, these cigarettes will tear your b***s off."

But it isn't just the swearing that makes this movie as funny as it is. The set ups are marvelously done. The initial big celebration held by RJR Nabisco features a character who suffers a cruel cough every time he tries to light his cigarette until Garner comes over and flicks open a lighter to help him.

All the characters' roles are well written but I wish Fred Dalton Thompson had an expression other than his default -- as if he were watching his daughter marry a biker with a face tattoo. James Garner gets the palm, not just for his unforced and vulgar wit but for a breezy disregard for everything except his own wealth, exemplified in his fleet of jet airplanes with their private hangar. Garner keeps denigrating the pursuit of wealth for it's own sake -- "After all, how many sets of golf clubs can you be buried with?" -- but acts all the way through as if that were his one and only priority. In his own defense, he says indignantly, "I don't plan to be homeless -- or planeless either for that matter."

There must have been enormous pressure on Gelbart and the others involved to turn this movie "serious" towards the end, to bring in cancer and emphysema, a sobbing victim, a military-industrial conspiracy to undermine the health of the proletariat, to expose big business for the angry, villainous, mean-spirited, duplicitous cretins that they are but, thank Bog, Gelbart resisted any tendency to make the movie "about something." He keeps the ending as ironic as the rest of the film.

Poor Garner. He loses his job, "The first time I've been out of work since I was fourteen," he moans, and retires with a severance package amounting (after taxes) to only $23m. Close on a shot of a mansion in Palm Beach.


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