The 2-Minute Version Of "Too Big To Fail"

Too Big To Fail

Photo: Photo courtesy of HBO

HBO’s movie version of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s bestseller “Too Big Too Fail” brought some of Hollywood’s energy to the story of the 2008 financial crisis.We’ve put together our favourite lines from the movie in approximate chronological order to give you a fast play-by-play of the film and its tale of the 2008 financial crisis.

Bear Stearns has just barely escaped collapse and now Lehman Brothers is threatened. Hank Paulson shares his concerns about Lehman and its CEO, Dick Fuld, with Ben Bernanke.

As Fannie and Freddie risk collapse, China warns Paulson that they have a lot of money invested in the mortgage giants. Paulson tells Bernanke the risks of not stepping in.

Lehman talks to Bank of America about a merger. Bank takeover consultant Chris Flowers tells BOA's CEO Greg Curl he should consider it.

He goes on to say: 'Paulson is posturing. He'll write a check just like he did for Jamie Dimon on the Bear deal. He has to; he can't lose another major bank in an election year. Besides, the guy made like a half a billion bucks at Goldman Sachs. He lets Lehman die, Goldman's biggest competitor, makes him look like he's still working for Goldman, he's just doing it out of a desk at Treasury…'

Instead, Merrill Lynch and BOA merge. Dick Fuld is outraged.

Hank Paulson invites all of the bank CEOs to an emergency meeting at the Fed. Lloyd Blankfein reminds a travel partner who's complaining that it could be worse.


Paulson tells the CEOs it's their duty to save Lehman Brothers.

Paulson proposes Barclays Bank buy one part of Lehman; the CEOs buy the rest. Jamie Dimon steps up.

The Barclays/Lehman deal falls through when Barclay's British regulator won't approve it. Blankfein is upset that Paulson didn't clear the deal with the regulator before wasting everyone's time.

Out of options, Fuld must declare Lehman Brothers bankrupt.

After Lehman falls, the remaining banks line up to be the next to collapse. Finally, Geithner has a solution: MERGE 'EM WITH COMMERCIAL BANKS

Geithner tells Paulson,

'Goldman and Morgan Stanley are going down NOW.

'We have to do something today..

'The market doesn't like investment banks, right? The money's saying fuck you to the whole business model. So merge 'em with commercial banks. Turn 'em into regular banks regulated by the Fed. They can use depositor cash, they have access to the discount window. It's cheap government cash.'

John Mack mocks Geithner's plan to merge Morgan Stanley with JPMorgan.

The mergers don't work but the banks can still be converted to bank holding companies and gain access to government cash. Paulson floats the idea with the CEOs. John Thain worries that strings are attached to the cash.

Paulson tells Michel Davis that no more strings can be attached to the deal. They can hope banks use the money to help the economy (ie lend it out), but they can't require it.

Mack breaks the stalemate by accepting billions of bailout dollars, signing the deal, and calling his board.

With the banks on board, Paulson proposes the deal to Congress in a brief 3-page draft bill. Barney Frank objects.

Paulson is incredulous when the bailout package is rejected by Congress.

Paulson brings the deal back to Congress, which approves the bailout.

The last line of the film is ironic because the banks haven't lent it out.

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