5.7/10
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43 user 35 critic

American Buffalo (1996)

Long-repressed feelings of bitterness and betrayal explode when three inner-city losers plot the robbery of a valuable coin in a seedy second-hand junk shop.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Don
Sean Nelson ...
Bob
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Storyline

AMERICAN BUFFALO is another story of men's interminable struggle toward the top of the heap, a goal which ultimately and inevitably eludes most of us. Don Dubro, the proprietor of a dusty dark inner-city junk shop, holds court there with his friends and makes plans probably on a daily basis for his ascendancy to the top. He does this more out of habit than hope because he's long ago surrendered his future to the daily repetition of his life as guardian of the discarded remnants of others' possessions. Disheveled Teach, on the other hand, is either too dumb or too stubborn to accept the lot life has dealt him. Instead, he bucks like a wild horse under the saddle and refuses to be broken. Most pitiable of the trio which populates the movie is teen-aged Bobby. Mistaking much of the palaver which passes between the older men as pearls of wisdom, Bobby is the only one of the trio who still has a chance to make a life for himself somewhere beyond this tired too-familiar neighborhood. Don ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They had a plan. It wasn't worth a nickel.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

13 September 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Buffalo - Das Glück liegt auf der Straße  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$164,109 (USA) (13 September 1996)

Gross:

$540,364 (USA) (4 October 1996)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Corrente was offered the job of directing after meeting producer Gregory Mosher at a screening of Corrente's "Federal Hill." He told Mosher, the director of the original stage production, "This won't mean anything to Mamet, bout could you tell him that 'Federal Hill' never would have happened if I hadn't seen 'Buffalo' onstage when I was a kid?" Mosher then suggested that Corrente direct the film adaptation. See more »

Quotes

Don: Action talks, bullshit walks!
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Crazy Credits

special thanks to Mr. B See more »

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User Reviews

 
"It's not worth a nickel"
12 August 2012 | by (Salisbury, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A film starring Dustin Hoffman, plus the chief super from the Hill Street Blues, from an adapted script by screen writing legend David Mamet, at a pocket-money price? Why hadn't I heard of it, what was wrong with it.

Nothing - except it's more a filmed play than a film, with almost all the talky dialogue taking place in a dusty old New York junk shop. Dustin Hoffman is superb, mixing a florid torrent of irrelevant comment, swearing and unease that is not a far cry from his brilliant turns in Rain Main and Midnight Cowboy. Dennis Franz, meanwhile is the shop's proprietor and is an almost opposite, a masterclass in understated body language as the rants from Teach (Hoffman) have become like water off a duck's back.

A third character, black youth Sean Nelson is the dog's body of the outfit and has his own agendas to deal with. The U.S coin of the title is one that might be worth a lot of money, or is it? Having sold it for more than they thought it worth, do they steal it back, just in case it's worth thousands?

Mamet's dialogue crackles with a crisp reality - Teach swears like a trooper, with F and C swear words jumbled up along with everything else. He's harmless, you conclude, if not obviously emotionally damaged. Donny, (Franz) says as much and as little as most shopkeepers say; only when it's needed to get a deal done; to clarify a point.

It undoubtedly would have had more impact and urgency within the confines of a set in an actual theatre, but on DVD it's OK. The shop, at least looks like a proper shop with a plethora of junk, the clutter adding to the feeling of messed up lives, somehow.

Sadly, this won't appeal to everyone. There's no real action to speak of, no pretty women to break up the squalid male-ness and like Teach's dialogue, the story goes round in circles. However, this tale of emerging bitterness and feelings of underachievement is palpable and engaging, if you let it. Personally, I'm glad I chanced upon it.


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