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Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room - A Deep Dive Into Corporate Malfeasance

"Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" is a riveting exploration of one of the biggest corporate scandals of all time.

Keywords: Enron, corporate scandal, fraud, financial crime, business ethics, corruption, Alex Gibney, documentary


"Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room," directed by Alex Gibney and released in 2005, is a compelling documentary that unravels the convoluted story of the Enron corporation's downfall. The documentary is particularly relevant today, as it explores the intersection of business ethics, corporate governance, and the potentially devastating consequences of their absence.


The documentary traces the rise and fall of Enron, once the seventh-largest company in the US, which infamously collapsed due to fraudulent accounting practices.

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Gibney's documentary is primarily investigative, utilizing interviews, archival footage, and narrative commentary to meticulously dissect the corporate culture at Enron and the audacious financial crimes that led to its downfall. The depth of research and subject exploration is commendable, providing viewers with a comprehensive understanding of the complex scandal.

Historical and Factual Context:

Prior to its collapse in 2001, Enron was one of the world's major electricity, natural gas, and communications companies. Its bankruptcy was one of the largest and most complex in history, leaving thousands of employees jobless and pension-less, and investors billions of dollars out of pocket.

Key themes in the film:

  • Corporate corruption and its societal implications
  • The failure of regulation and oversight
  • The destructive power of greed and deceit

Film Comparisons:

While other films on iWonder have touched on corporate misconduct, "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" stands out in its detailed dissection of one of the biggest financial scandals in American history.

Noteworthy Moments:

The revelations about Enron's creative "mark-to-market" accounting and the shocking "rank and yank" management strategy are particularly eye-opening.


The documentary received praise for its thorough examination of the scandal, with critics highlighting its "meticulous research and moral clarity."


"Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" is a must-watch for anyone interested in corporate ethics, business history, or financial scandals. It serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when greed and corruption go unchecked.

More film information

IMDB: 7.6
Awards: Nominated for 1 Oscar. 3 wins & 11 nominations: Academy Awards, Sundance Film Festival, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, LA Film Critics Association Awards, Gold Derby Awards, International Documentary Association

Jeffrey Skilling - Former CEO of Enron
Kenneth Lay - Former Chairman and CEO of Enron
Andrew Fastow - Former CFO of Enron
Bethany McLean - Journalist who questioned Enron's practices

Texas, USA: Enron Headquarters, Houston, Texas
New York City, USA: Wall Street

Links for further exploration

  1. Enron scandal - Wikipedia:
  2. The Fall of Enron - Harvard Business Review:

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

How could such massive fraud go unnoticed for so long?

What could have been done to prevent the Enron scandal?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form:

Book: "The Great Gatsby" - a tale of greed, deception, and downfall.

Song: "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits - symbolizing the ill-gotten gains of Enron executives.

Art: "The Scream" by Edvard Munch - representing the shock and despair following Enron's collapse.

Celebrity: Leonardo DiCaprio - known for his roles in films exploring corruption and deception.

Colour: Grey - symbolizing the murky ethical waters Enron navigated.

Music Style: Blues - reflecting the melancholy and hardship experienced by those affected by the scandal.