7.6/10
15,730
42 user 48 critic

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director:

Alex Gibney

Writers:

Alex Gibney, Bethany McLean (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Inside Job (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown.

Director: Charles Ferguson
Stars: Matt Damon, Gylfi Zoega, Andri Snær Magnason
Too Big to Fail (TV Movie 2011)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Chronicles the financial meltdown of 2008 and centers on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: James Woods, John Heard, William Hurt
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary looking at the inner-workings of the Church of Scientology.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Paul Haggis, Jason Beghe, Spanky Taylor
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
Stars: Mikela Jay, Rob Beckwermert, Christopher Gora
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An in-depth look at the rise and fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, including interviews with the scandalized, former politician.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Eliot Spitzer, Alex Gibney, Hulbert Waldroup
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A documentary that details the creation of Julian Assange's controversial website, which facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Julian Assange, Adrian Lamo, John 'FuzzFace' McMahon
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Writer/director Ted Braun follows controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman as he puts a billion dollars on the line in his crusade to expose Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history.

Director: Ted Braun
Stars: William Ackman
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of Theranos, a multi-billion dollar tech company, its founder Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest self-made female billionaire, and the massive fraud that collapsed the company.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Errol Morris, Elizabeth Holmes
Documentary | Crime | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg
Documentary | History | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Nearly 100 years after its creation, the power of the U.S. Federal Reserve has never been greater. Markets and governments around the world hold their breath in anticipation of the Fed ... See full summary »

Director: Jim Bruce
Stars: Liev Schreiber, Paul Volcker, Janet Yellen
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A documentary chronicling sports legend Lance Armstrong's improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Lance Armstrong, Reed Albergotti, Betsy Andreu
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A probing investigation into the lies, greed and corruption surrounding D.C. super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, William Branner
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
John Beard John Beard ... Himself - Former Enron Accountant
Tim Belden Tim Belden ... Himself (archive footage)
Barbara Boxer ... Herself (archive footage)
George W. Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
James Chanos ... Himself - President, Kynikos Associates (as Jim Chanos)
Dick Cheney ... Himself
Bill Clinton ... Himself (archive footage)
Carol Coale Carol Coale ... Herself - Ex-Stock Analyst, Prudential Securities
Peter Coyote ... Narrator
Gray Davis ... Himself - Former Governor of California
Reggie Dees II Reggie Dees II ... Himself - Young man the stripper dances in front of (as Reggie Deets II)
Joseph Dunn Joseph Dunn ... Himself - California State Senator
Max Eberts Max Eberts ... Himself - Former Spokesman, Enron Energy Services
Peter Elkind Peter Elkind ... Himself - Co-Author, 'The Smartest Guys in the Room'
Andrew Fastow Andrew Fastow ... Himself (archive footage)
Edit

Storyline

Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. The emphasis is on human drama, from suicide to 20,000 people sacked: the personalities of Ken Lay (with Falwellesque rectitude), Jeff Skilling (he of big ideas), Lou Pai (gone with $250 M), and Andy Fastow (the dark prince) dominate. Along the way, we watch Enron game California's deregulated electricity market, get a free pass from Arthur Andersen (which okays the dubious mark-to-market accounting), use greed to manipulate banks and brokerages (Merrill Lynch fires the analyst who questions Enron's rise), and hear from both Presidents Bush what great guys these are. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's just business. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

PBS

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Magic See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$76,639, 24 April 2005

Gross USA:

$4,071,700

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,854,164
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Jeffrey Skilling: Oh I can't help myself. You know what the difference between the state of California and Titanic? And this is being webcast, and I know I'm going to regret this - at least when the Titanic went down, the lights were on.
See more »

Connections

References Get Smart (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Written by David A. Stewart (as Dave Stewart) and Annie Lennox
BMG Song, Inc.
Performed by Marilyn Manson
Courtesy of Interscope Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
I hope Ken Lay is somewhere hot
16 December 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

I agree with previous posts: "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" is right up there with the biggest horror films of our time. And this one is scarier because it's real.

It's hard to say what boggles the mind most: the complicity of Arthur Andersen, the banks, and the traders in this elaborate scheme of making a failing company look profitable; the fact that the executives cashed out their stock at high prices and froze the employees' stock accessibility until it was worth nothing; the derisive laughter of the traders over the Enron-caused blackouts in California ("let them fall into the ocean - let them use candles); that Lu Pi, a guy who ran a failing Enron company, left that company with $250 million in his pocket; or the fact that Ken Lay died before they could convict him of anything. Take your pick, it's all disgusting.

When one of the California power companies called Enron and said there was a fire in the plant, the trader chuckled and said, "Burn, baby, burn." That sums up Enron's, the banks, the traders', and Arthur Andersen's attitude toward the common man - burn, baby, burn. Let's hope that's what Ken Lay is doing right now.

This is a great documentary even if you don't understand business. The only part I didn't quite get were these dummy corporations that Flatow started up to hide Enron's losses which were then invested in by the banks. That was a little complicated, but you'd think someone would have realized that the CFO of Enron running companies that were supposedly selling to Enron was a conflict of interest. Funny, no bank picked it up. They won't give you a mortgage, but they'll pay a fortune to a dummy corporation.

Probably my favorite part was the mark to market accounting system employed by Enron and signed off on by Arthur Andersen. I have no understanding of a reliable accounting firm allowing such a thing. In other words, if I have a book proposal, I can report a profit of, say, $30,000 on the book even though it isn't sold and I haven't seen a dime. And one wonders how they cooked their books. With help, that's how.


29 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 42 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed