American Buffalo (1996)

R  |   |  Drama  |  13 September 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 2,892 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 35 critic

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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Complete credited cast:


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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)


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Times Square Restaurant in Pawtucket, RI was renamed the Riverside Diner to fit the script of this film. As of 2010, it is still called the Riverside Diner, although the elaborate neon marquee that stood on the building several years after filming has been replaced by a simpler sign. See more »


Teach: Only, and I am telling you this, Don. Only, and I am not, i don't think, casting anything on anyone: from the mouth of the Southern bulldyke asshole ingrate of a vicious nowhere cunt can this trash come.
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Crazy Credits

special thanks to Mr. B See more »


References My Little Margie (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

Great, solid acting and brilliant dialogue. A supreme pleasure!
24 June 2002 | by (Jersey City, NJ) – See all my reviews

Watching this film on screen and on stage (I imagine) wouldn't be a hell of a lot different. It's still a 3-character film that revolves around the same setting--most of the time. But when you see great acting like this, how can you complain?? Dustin Hoffman is great at whatever he does, and he's perfectly believable as the foul-mouthed Teach. He has some of the greatest lines. My favorite is "Guys like that, I'd like to f**k their wives." He is rude and obnoxious with barely a sympathetic quality, but he's the guy you love to hate. I just recently started watching "NYPD Blue" and just from watching a few episodes, I can say that Dennis Franz is one of the best actors I've ever seen. He deserves to be on the big screen a lot more, because he has abilities as an actor that only few TV actors also possess. He delivers every line and every emotion with such power that your eyes are wide open with amazement every minute he's on screen. Even young actor (I assume he's now in his late teens) Sean Nelson is perfectly cast, blowing me away with a performance I'm sure very few young actors can pull off just as effectively. He only has about 20 or 30 minutes of screen time, yet he's the character you most feel sorry for at times, despite the fact that he lives an unclean life, dealing with thugs and earning his money via dishonest methods. You can just sense that he didn't have any parental leadership, and he wasn't sure what path in life to take, so he took the most easy one--and also the most dangerous one. In a way, the two guys are like his surrogate parents.

I've never seen the play, but when I see the name "David Mamet" under the writing credits, I immediately know that I'm gonna hear some priceless dialogue. I don't know how he does it, but he just has a relentlessly quick wit when it comes to creating dialogue. Like a play, this movie is composed of 80 % dialogue, but the dialogue is so great that I don't really care if there's no exciting visuals. And last but no least, I loved the opening and closing theme song. It just has that grungy quality that perfectly fits the tone of "American Buffalo." If you're a fan of superb acting, this will be a real treat! A real treat!

My score: 8 (out of 10)

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