Barbarians at the Gate
DVD cover
Based on
Barbarians at the Gate
by
Written byLarry Gelbart
Directed byGlenn Jordan
Starring
ComposerRichard Gibbs
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producers
  • Thomas M. Hammel
  • Glenn Jordan
ProducerRay Stark
Cinematography
EditorPatrick Kennedy
Production companies
Original release
NetworkHBO
ReleaseMarch 20, 1993 (1993-03-20)

Barbarians at the Gate is a 1993 American biographical comedy-drama television film directed by Glenn Jordan and written by Larry Gelbart, based on the 1989 book of the same name by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. The film stars James Garner, Jonathan Pryce, and Peter Riegert. It tells the true story of F. Ross Johnson, who was the president and CEO of RJR Nabisco.

Barbarians at the Gate received generally positive reviews from critics. The film earned nine nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards (winning for Outstanding Made for Television Movie). It also won Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for Garner at the Golden Globe Awards.

Plot

Self-made multimillionaire F. Ross Johnson, CEO of RJR Nabisco, decides to take the tobacco and food conglomerate company private in 1988 after receiving advanced 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 is 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 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."

Cast

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
1993
Artios Awards Best Casting for TV Movie of the Week Marsha Kleinman Nominated [2]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Made for Television Movie Thomas M. Hammel, Glenn Jordan, Ray Stark, and
Marykay Powell
Won[a] [3]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special James Garner Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special Jonathan Pryce Nominated
Peter Riegert Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Miniseries or a Special Glenn Jordan Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Miniseries or a Special Larry Gelbart Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Miniseries or a Special Linda Pearl, Michael Armani, Jan K. Bergstrom, and
Karen O'Hara
Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Miniseries or a Special –
Single Camera Production
Patrick Kennedy Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Miniseries or a Special Jacob Goldstein, Tim Philben, Ken S. Polk, and
James A. Williams
Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Program of the Year Won [4]
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Nominated
1994
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Motion Picture for Non-Commercial Television Patrick Kennedy Nominated [5]
CableACE Awards Movie or Miniseries Thomas M. Hammel, Glenn Jordan, Larry Gelbart,
Ray Stark, and Marykay Powell
Nominated [6]
Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries Jonathan Pryce Nominated
Directing for a Movie or Miniseries Glenn Jordan Nominated
Writing for a Movie or Miniseries Larry Gelbart Won
Art Direction in a Dramatic Special or Series/Theatrical Special/Movie or Miniseries Linda Pearl Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Won [7]
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television James Garner Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Jonathan Pryce Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Adapted Long Form Larry Gelbart;
Based on the book by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
Won[b] [8]

Notes

  1. ^ Tied with Stalin.
  2. ^ Tied with Walter Halsey Davis and Vickie Patik for Silent Cries.

References

  1. ^ "Those Good Old Takeover Days". The New York Times. March 18, 1993.
  2. ^ "1993 Artios Awards". Casting Society of America. October 19, 1993. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  3. ^ "Barbarians at the Gate". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  4. ^ "TV Crix Assn. kudocast on E!". Variety. June 16, 1993. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "Nominees/Winners". IMDb. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Herbert, Steven (January 17, 1994). "HBO the Big CableACE Award Winner: Television: Its taking of 34 of 88 trophies far outdistances Showtime's second place with 10". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  7. ^ "Barbarians at the Gate". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  8. ^ "WGA Awards 1993". IMDb. Retrieved January 20, 2022.