Rogue Trader (film)

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Rogue Trader
Video-release poster
Directed by James Dearden
Produced by Janette Day
James Dearden
Paul Raphael
Written by James Dearden
Based on Rogue Trader: How I Brought Down Barings Bank and Shook the Financial World
by Nick Leeson
Edward Whitley
Starring Ewan McGregor
Anna Friel
Narrated by Ewan McGregor
Music by Richard Hartley
Cinematography Jean-François Robin
Edited by Catherine Creed
Distributed by Pathé (UK)
Cinemax (USA)
Release date
  • 25 June 1999 (1999-06-25) (United Kingdom)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
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 in the life of former derivatives broker Nick Leeson and the 1995 collapse of Barings Bank. It 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, an 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 Baring's 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 miserably, gaining less than 1 million sterling in the UK.[1][2]


During a bar scene, the Blur song Song 2 is heard playing. This is a continuity error 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, 1999-06-08, retrieved 2012-02-23 
  2. ^ Mink, Eric (1999-06-25), "Obi-Wan Dons Coat & Tie as 'Rogue Trader'", Daily News, retrieved 2012-02-23 

External links[edit]