Barbarians at the Gate (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Barbarians at the Gate
DVD cover
Genre Biography
Based on Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
by Bryan Burrough
John Helyar
Screenplay by Larry Gelbart
Directed by Glenn Jordan
Starring James Garner
Jonathan Pryce
Theme music composer Richard Gibbs
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Thomas M. Hammel
Producer(s) Ray Stark
Marykay Powell (co-producer)
Jeffrey Downer (associate producer)
Cinematography Thomas Del Ruth
Nicholas D. Knowland
Editor(s) Patrick Kennedy
Running time 107 minutes
Production company(s) Columbia Pictures Television
HBO Pictures
Rastar Pictures
Distributor HBO
Original network HBO
Original release March 20, 1993

Barbarians at the Gate is a 1993 television movie based upon the book by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, about the leveraged buyout (LBO) of RJR Nabisco.

The film was directed by Glenn Jordan and written by Larry Gelbart. It stars James Garner as F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of RJR Nabisco, and Jonathan Pryce as Henry Kravis, his chief rival for the company. It also features Peter Riegert, Joanna Cassidy and Fred Dalton Thompson.

The film won both the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie and the Golden Globe for Best Television Movie while James Garner won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. FOX also aired the film later in the same year.


Self-made multimillionaire and RJR Nabisco CEO F. Ross Johnson decides to take the tobacco and food conglomerate company private in 1988 after receiving advance news of the likely market failure of the company's smokeless cigarette called Premier, the development of which had been intended to finally boost the company's stock price.[1]

The free-spending Johnson's bid for the company is opposed by two of the pioneers of the leveraged buyout, Henry Kravis and his cousin. Kravis feels betrayed when, after Johnson initially discusses doing the LBO with Kravis, he takes the potentially enormous deal to another firm, the Shearson Lehman Hutton division of American Express.

Other bidders emerge, including Ted Forstmann and his company, Forstmann Little, after Kravis and Johnson are unable to reconcile their differences. The bidding goes to unprecedented heights, and when executive Charles Hugel becomes aware of how much Johnson stands to profit in a transaction that will put thousands of Nabisco employees out of work, he quips, "Now I know what the 'F' in F. Ross Johnson stands for." The greed was so evident, Kravis's final bid is declared the winner, even though Johnson's was higher.

The title of the book and movie comes from a statement by Forstmann in which he calls that Kravis' money "phoney junk bond crap" and how he and his brother are "real people with real money," and that to stop raiders like Kravis: "We need to push the barbarians back from the city gates."


In popular culture

In the podcast Comedy Bang Bang, comedian Paul Rust refers to the film in the prologue to his popular segment "New No-Nos", while discussing a run-in with Nabisco concerning Chex Mix.[2]


  1. ^ "Those Good Old Takeover Days". The New York Times. March 18, 1993.
  2. ^ "The Bisco Boys." Comedy Bang Bang: the Podcast. Earwolf Media, LLC. 21 Mar. 2013. Podcast.

External links

  • Barbarians at the Gate on IMDb
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Barbarians at the Gate"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA