Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

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Ratings: 7.84/10 from 70 users.

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Enron - The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)At this writing in early 2006, the principal players in the sordid drama of Enron -- believed by some accusers to be the most egregious corporate malefactors in American history -- are about to go on trial for pillaging their company and devaluing its stock, leaving thousands of employees and investors holding the bag while they absconded with millions.

Alex Gibney's documentary examines the meteoric rise and spectacular fall of this Houston, Texas-based firm, which for a time made its top officers wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, and all by engaging in business practices alleged to have been little more than a complex shell game.

Enron founder Ken Lay and his successor as CEO, Jeff Skilling, are pretty well skewered in Gibney's film, which in its own way is every bit as riveting as a suspense thriller. Without putting too fine a point of it, the film has all the elements of Greek tragedy; it is hubris that ultimately brings down the main characters. Arrogance, pride, power, the abuse of power - they're all here.

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18 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rochelle Denise Killingbeck

    Thank you to everyone who contributed to this outstanding documentary.

    Thank you to everyone at the SEC and Department of Justice who investigated and prosecuted the financial offenders.

    I am stunned that this type of corruption was allowed to occur and continue. And, I am stunned that there are men and women who saw the terrible outcomes of the California energy crisis (people stuck in elevators, the wild fires, car accidents, etc.) and did not have compassion.

    Based on what I have read and heard about the Great Depression, this is what happened during the 1920s. When will we learn?

  2. daver

    I have to watch this for my ethics class thanx for uploading it!!

  3. Tyler Stanley

    It's still happening everyday..

  4. thekingbeyondthegate

    hmm good idea didn't think of using this as a case study for the business ethics module.

  5. thekingbeyondthegate

    Lol can't believe they used the instrumental from Hits from the Bong by Cypress Hill at 8:35. I suppose the target audience isn't supposed to know that and isn't supposed to know that by paying for this documentary they're buying drugs for Cypress Hill.

  6. Michael Vardy

    Broken, use Youtube: watch?v=z2qrVAqlwuM

  7. GoughLewis

    Amazing film... would like to have seen them explore the Bush / Cheney White House connection more though. Kenny Boy was close to the Bush clan, really close. Ken Lay was to become the Energy Czar in the Bush Administration. Ken Lay was the largest election campaign contributor to the Bush/Cheney Presidential Campaign. Bush gave election speeches in front of one of the Enron jets he was campaigning in, logo and all in the background.

    Enron/Lay/Skilling and dozens more where busted for fraud into the Billions ripping off California. Lay asked Cheney to organize a government bailout. To late, public knew. To big to hide. House of cards collapsed too quickly to bolster up with government bailout money.

    President Bush when pushed by the press about his relationship with "Kenny Boy" he declared he officially "just met him once." By the way "Kenny Boy" was George W Bush's pet name for his good ole boy pal Ken Lay. Ken Lay had become a political liability. Enron/Ken Lay/Skilling where charged, and found guilty.

    Ken Lay threatened to go public, for a plea bargain, and name names to reduce his sentence... The heart attack Ken Lay died from was just before sentencing and that plea bargain. Weird timing for sure.... Duh!

    This was all before 911. Enron probably would have received generous bailout money into the Billions if Lay could have kept the Enron scam going long enough for the rounds of Government bailouts that was in the Trillions. Enron was to take over the entire United States of America power grid, with Ken Lay as the Energy Czar of USA in a privatization deal being worked out with Dick Cheney and Enron/Lay/Skilling.

    So corrupt eh! haha... amazing how this type of historical information never gets on FOX News or CNN, front page of the New York Times, etc. Obviously all of this can be easily verified by just googling it. Makes you ponder sometimes. Jeffery Skilling of Enron infamy was on the cover of Time Magazine as Man of The Year if memory serves.

    Fact is stranger than fiction...

    Interesting film...

    worth the watch.

  8. Micah Seymour

    Well trolled, sir.

  9. Steven Vinson

    son of a preacher man, by dusty springfield. cypress hill sampled it. it's meant to tie in to to ken lay's background as the ' son of a preacher man '.

  10. Steven Vinson

    and the use of tom waits is just awesome!

  11. Coleman R

    I would like to see what percentage of the 50% of those who kept going in the Milgram experiment were Republican. Not conservative, but Republican. I bet it'd be 80%.

  12. Tony Malone

    Kenny boy humm look up franklin cover up

  13. John Krisfalusci

    aha enron. as paramore famously put it, "that's what you get...!"

  14. awful_truth

    Nothing to add. The documentary says it all!

  15. David

    Enron...WHY? That was their theme....endless possibilities...I'll say. Sort of ironic now, eh?

  16. John

    It is more likely they were Democrats, since they were mostly teachers from the New York Public Schools.

  17. fratdawgg23

    People like the Enron execs are sociopaths: devoid of empathy and conscience.

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