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.
|Barbarians at the Gate|
|Based on||Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco|
by Bryan Burrough
|Screenplay by||Larry Gelbart|
|Directed by||Glenn Jordan|
|Theme music composer||Richard Gibbs|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Thomas M. Hammel|
Marykay Powell (co-producer)
Jeffrey Downer (associate producer)
|Cinematography||Thomas Del Ruth|
Nicholas D. Knowland
|Running time||107 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Columbia Pictures Television|
|Original release||March 20, 1993|
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.
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."