Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 109 minute long 2005 documentary which examines the collapse, in 2001, of the Enron Corporation. The collapse of the company resulted in criminal trials for several of the corporations top executives as a result of what was dubbed as the ‘Enron Scandal’. The film is based on the best-selling 2003 book of the same name which was written by journalists Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.
Enron was a huge energy and commodities company and at the time of its collapse was the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history, the company employed over 20,000 people at the time of its collapse and had total assets of over $60 billion at the time of the collapse – many employees lost their pensions and life savings as a result of the corporations liquidation.
The scandal evolved around the hiding of billions of dollars of company debt generated by numerous failed deals and projects, when this hiding of debt came to light the share priced collapsed and shareholders subsequently filed lawsuits totalling $40 billion. The film features interviews with McLean and Elkind, who are credited as co-writers of the film, as well as with former Enron executives and employees, Wall Street stock analysts, reporters, and from a former Governor of California.