Too Big to Fail (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Too Big to Fail2011

Too Big to Fail (2011)



Critic Consensus: Too Big to Fail has too sharp a script and superlative a cast to ever feel disposable, even when it teeters toward being an efficient explainer of recent history instead of a fully-realized drama.

Too Big to Fail Photos

Movie Info

Oscar-winning director Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, L.A. Confidential) adapts author Andrew Ross Sorkin's penetrating expose of the 2008 Wall Street financial crisis in this made-for-HBO docudrama featuring an all-star cast. As the U.S. economy hits the skids, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (William Hurt) finds himself caught up in a critical battle of wills between the key players on Wall Street, and the powers that be in Washington, D.C. With just weeks to go before the country plunges into the most devastating financial crash since the Great Depression, the powerbrokers on both sides scramble to pull the failing economy back from the brink of disaster. Ed Asner, Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Cynthia Nixon, James Woods, Tony Shalhoub, and Topher Grace co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Watch it now


William Hurt
as Henry Paulson
Edward Asner
as Warren Buffett
Billy Crudup
as Timothy Geithner
Paul Giamatti
as Ben Bernanke
Topher Grace
as Jim Wilkinson
Matthew Modine
as John Thain
Cynthia Nixon
as Michele Davis
Michael O'Keefe
as Chris Flowers
Bill Pullman
as Jamie Dimon
Tony Shalhoub
as John Mack
James Woods
as Richard Fuld
Amy Carlson
as Erin Callan
Dan Hedaya
as Barney Frank
Kathy Baker
as Wendy Paulson
Ayad Akhtar
as Neel Kashkari
Beau Baxter
as Skip McGee
Erin Dilly
as Christal West
Jonathan Freeman
as Richard Shelby
Linda Glick
as Nancy Pelosi
Evan Handler
as Lloyd Blankfein
John Heard
as Joe Gregory
Peter Hermann
as Christopher Cox
Bud Jones
as Harry Reid
Chance Kelly
as Bart McDade
Laurence Lau
as Greg Fleming
Tom Mason
as Bob Willumstad
Ajay Mehta
as Vikram Pandit
Laila Robins
as Christine Lagarde
Victor Slezak
as Greg Curl
Joey Slotnick
as Dan Jester
Steve Tom
as Chris Dodd
Ben Livingston
as Investment Banker
James Saito
as Chinese Official
Erin Burnett
as Herself
Chil Kong
as Min Euoo Sung
Robert Hogan
as Rodgin Cohen
Chandra Thomas
as Assistant
David Faber
as Himself
Josh Casaubon
as Mid-Level Goldman Banker
Danny Darrow
as Mr. Akers
Rob Evans
as Sir Christopher
Rutanya Alda
as Admiral Evans
Peter Benson
as SEC Lawyer
Fiona Choi
as Second Reporter
Tom Tammi
as Jeffrey Immelt
Les J.N. Mau
as Gao Xiqing
Jill Dalton
as Mack's Assistant
Patricia Randell
as Chairman Sheila Bair
Casey Biggs
as Dick Kovacevich
Joe Kernen
as Himself
View All

Critic Reviews for Too Big to Fail

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (16)

Without taking an partisan position on what happened... Too Big To Fail simply and clearly explicates a chilling moment in recent history. And for that, it has value.

June 25, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The movie... captures the frustration of government officials as each hole they patched was followed by an even bigger leak.

June 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Just a dramatized synopsis in which some noble cynics guard our citadel. It is hardboiled-instead of admitting that the egg just exploded.

June 25, 2018 | Full Review…

HBO's rendition of the Wall Street meltdown still manages to feel fresh, entertaining, and even educational. But does it get to the point?

June 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Too Big to Fail is a chronicle of recent events... But it fails to transform those events into anything valuable or special, beyond docudramatic re-creation. Ultimately, it's scope is too big, and it fails.

June 25, 2018 | Full Review…

The movie may do an adequate job of mining what's left of our collective outrage, but it comes up short as an artistic expression of post-recession catharsis.

June 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Too Big to Fail

It is 2008 and the stock price of Lehman Brothers is falling and CEO Richard Fuld(James Woods) is badly in need of cash and a sugar daddy. However, he rejects Warren Buffett's(Ed Asner) offer of $40 a share as an insult to his pride and his manhood. And then instantly regrets having done so because the stock price keeps falling, and a deal with a Korean consortium falls through. Just to add insult to bankruptcy, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson(William Hurt) says there will be no government bailout this time, so Fuld had better work out something with all the other banks. "Too Big to Fail" is certainly a mixed bag. It gets off to a bad start, as it seems like we've walked into a movie that has already started.(Instead of the archival news footage during the credits, the movie should have instead gone with a Star Wars like scroll: "The empire's finances were beginning to crumble and Karl Marx was laughing in his grave.") And that's not to mention a pedestrian approach to the material and waiting until most of the way through before a discussion of the key issues. However, once it gets going, the movie takes on the form of a suspenseful political thriller at times. And it works having Paulson being the focal point of the movie as Hurt is very good in the role and it helps to have one center of attention with so many characters in play. On the other hand, Paulson, here does seem a little too good to be true, holding firm with sage advice from Ben Bernanke(Paul Giamatti, who almost steals the movie with only a bowl of oatmeal) and Timothy Geithner(Billy Crudup) and assistance from Paulson's Angels(Cynthia Nixon, Topher Grace, Ayad Akhtar & Joey Plotnick).

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

If someone wants to take a shortcut instead of reading the whole book, then this movie is a must watch.

Mohet Naidu
Mohet Naidu

Super Reviewer


Too Big to Fail is HBO's effort to dramatize the financial meltdown of 2008. It features an amazing cast, including James Woods, William Hurt, and Ed Asner. All bring a lot of presence to their scenes, even when the script doesn't fully let them shine. We get a lot of moments of tension and good dialogue exchanges, but we also get awkward moments that feel grossly manufactured so as to deliver exposition. In that sense, it's far from Margin Call, a film that brilliantly conveyed tension and steaks with similar themes. At the same time, it's not boring, executed with enough polish to keep it consistently engaging. The politics of the film and the editorializing are rather bland, however, with a far too forgiving portrayal of Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, when the true origins of the crisis and ongoing turmoil are far more sinister and planned than what the film showed. But HBO was trying to keep it mainstream, so judged on that standard, it was successful, though not "accurate" in the truest sense of the word. 3.5/5 Stars Note: An excellent breakdown of the crisis can be found in the award-winning documentary, Inside Job.

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

Too Big to Fail Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features