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Rogue Trader (film)

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Rogue Trader
Video-release poster
Directed byJames Dearden
Written byJames Dearden
Based onRogue Trader: How I Brought Down Barings Bank and Shook the Financial World
by Nick Leeson
Edward Whitley
Produced byJanette Day
James Dearden
Paul Raphael
StarringEwan McGregor
Anna Friel
Narrated byEwan McGregor
CinematographyJean-François Robin
Edited byCatherine Creed
Music byRichard Hartley
Distributed byPathé Distribution
Release date
  • 25 June 1999 (1999-06-25) (United Kingdom)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$12,800,000 (estimated)
Box office£969,565 (UK sub-total)

Rogue Trader is a 1999 British biographical drama film written and directed by James Dearden and starring Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel. The film centers on the life of former derivatives broker Nick Leeson and the 1995 collapse of Barings Bank.

Following an interview with Nick Leeson in prison, Sir David Frost realised the potential for a movie and optioned the rights to Nick's story. Frost executive produced the film, which was based on Leeson's 1996 book Rogue Trader: How I Brought Down Barings Bank and Shook the Financial World.


Rogue Trader tells the true story of Nick Leeson, a young employee of Barings Bank who after a successful spell working for the firm's office in Indonesia is sent to Singapore as General Manager of the Trading Floor on the SIMEX exchange. The movie follows Leeson's rise as he soon becomes one of Barings' key traders. However, everything isn't as it appears – through the 88888 error account, Nick is hiding huge losses as he gambles away Barings' money with little more than the bat of an eyelid from the powers-that-be back in London.

Eventually the losses mount up to well over £800 million and Nick, along with his wife Lisa, decide to leave Singapore and escape to Malaysia. Nick doesn't realise the severity of his losses until he reads in the newspaper that Barings has gone bankrupt. They then decide to return to London but Nick is arrested en route in Frankfurt. Nick is extradited to Singapore where he is sentenced to six and a half years in jail and is diagnosed with colon cancer. Because of this, he did not complete his sentence.


Release and distribution[edit]

Rogue Trader was released on 25 June 1999 in the United Kingdom and the United States. It was distributed by Pathé in the United Kingdom and Cinemax in the United States. It flopped at the box office, earning less than £1,000,000 in the UK.[1][2]


During a bar scene, the Blur song "Song 2" is heard playing. This is an anachronism as the song was not released until three years after the scene was set.


Rogue Trader was poorly received by critics, and the film holds a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 23 reviews.


  1. ^ "Risky business", The Guardian, 8 June 1999, retrieved 23 February 2012
  2. ^ Mink, Eric (25 June 1999), "Obi-Wan Dons Coat & Tie as 'Rogue Trader'", Daily News, retrieved 23 February 2012

External links[edit]