Barbarians at the Gate (1993)


“You don’t think I’m being crucified and Henry Kravis just might own the nail concession?” – F. Ross Johnson

Number of Times Seen – 1 (18 Jun 2020)

Brief Synopsis – Based on the true story of one of the largest corporate takeovers in history.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall hearing about when it was made because it was able to garner some very prestigious awards  yet never had much of a desire to see what it was about until now.

The premise of the story is quite interesting and the fact that it’s all based on a true story helps make it seem even better than it truly is.

The film’s problem is the fact that it doesn’t come across as being thrilling enough on screen as it probably was in real life and in the novel this film is based on.

The film has a great cast led by James Garner who truly shines in the lead role. He was able to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his work in this film.

His character is able to walk the fine line between being a corporate bastard and a nice family man and comes across quite sympathetically the whole way through.

In addition to Garner, the supporting cast is also quite talented with Peter Riegart, Jonathan Pryce, Joanne Cassidy, Fred Thompson, Matt Clark and Jeffrey DeMunn all doing nice jobs with their roles even if they all seem like corporate pirates in all that they plan and execute.

Unfortunately tho, the story gets far too complicated and convoluted along the way and it makes things more difficult to follow.

I can definitely understand how this film could win both and Emmy and Globe for Best made for TV movie, but ultimately, this film’s story isn’t as friendly as it could be for those who aren’t familiar enough with the business world.

Bottom Line – Intriguing premise based on a true event and the novel based on the facts but the story isn’t as thrilling on screen as it probably is on paper (or in reality). The cast is great and Garner really shines in the lead role because his character is hostile yet also is sympathetic in his quest to acquire something so large that everyone thought was impossible and he was able to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his work here. The supporting cast is filled with some very talented actors also, but the story gets a bit too complicated along the way which is quite problematic to follow it all properly.  Riegart, Pryce, Cassidy, Thompson, Clark and DeMunn all help the story seem more thrilling and suspenseful, but they all seem like corporate pirates and none are able to distinguish their characters from the rest which is a shame.  I Can understand how this film could win both an Emmy and a Globe for Best Made for TV movie, but it not friendly enough for those of us not in the business world.

MovieRob’s Favorite 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. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)

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2 thoughts on “Barbarians at the Gate (1993)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1993 | MovieRob

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