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Buffalo Soldiers (2001)

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A criminal subculture operates among U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin wall.

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(book), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Berman
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Stoney (as Leon Robinson)
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Pfc. Brian Knoll
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General Lancaster
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Colonel Marshall
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Sergeant Saad (as Sheik Mahmud-Bey)
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Kirschfield
Noah Lee Margetts ...
Rothfuss (as Noah)
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Squash
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Storyline

1989. The Berlin Wall is about to fall, and the world is about to be made safe for the new world order. But outside of Stuttgart, West Germany, at Theodore Roosevelt Army Base, Specialist Ray Elwood of the 317th Supply Battalion is about to find his own cold war turn white hot. Elwood's a lovable rogue, a conscript who's managed to turn his military servitude into a blossoming network of black market deals, more out of boredom than ambition. Officially, there's his day job as battalion secretary to the inept but caring Commander Wallace Berman. On the side, there's everything from selling the locals stolen Mop'N'Glo to cooking heroin for the base's ruthless head of Military Police, Sgt. Saad. When a new top sergeant arrives, with the avowed intention of cleaning the base up, Elwood thinks the new blood is nothing he can't handle, especially after he lays eyes on the top's daughter, rebellious Robyn. But that was before he figured in the $5 million in stolen arms that just landed on ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

War is hell... but peace is f*#!%!! boring. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, drug content, strong language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

31 October 2002 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Acemi askerler  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£113,664 (UK) (18 July 2003)

Gross:

$353,743 (USA) (26 September 2003)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ed Harris was initially sent a copy of the script with the idea that he would play Sergeant Lee, but he found himself more drawn to the role of Colonel Berman, and was subsequently cast as such. See more »

Goofs

Elwood disables the girl's car by disconnecting the battery link, but when she tries to start it you can hear the car turn over. If the battery was disconnected there would have been no response from the engine at all. Elwood doesnt have a wrench to disconnect the battery. He pulls the distributor cap wire. Then the car can turn over without starting. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Berman: [reading a coroner's report] Heroin, cocaine, marijuana, lysergic acid, deithyl... whatever the hell that is, amphetamines, traces of barbiturates, estrogen. Estrogen? McCovey was on the pill? How could this be possible?
Ray Elwood: Well, he might have taken it by mistake, sir.
Colonel Berman: What?
Ray Elwood: The birth control pill. He might've thought it was something ele.
Colonel Berman: Well, fine, but he didn't take heroin, speed and cocaine by mistake, did he?
Ray Elwood: It seems unlikely, sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits include the citation: 'The red cross emblem is an international symbol of neutral protection during armed conflicts, and its use is restricted by law. The purposes for which the red cross emblem is used by the characters in this film are clearly improper. The filmmakers wish to stress their support for proper use of the emblem, which has saved millions of lives throughout the world'. See more »

Connections

Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: Buffalo Soldiers See more »

Soundtracks

Fight the Power
Written by Chuck D. (as Carlton Ridenhour), Eric Sadler & Keith Shocklee
Published by Universal Music Publishing Limited and Reach Global Inc./Hammer Musik c/o Bucks Music Limited
Performed by Public Enemy
Courtesy of Def Jam/Mercury Records Limited (London)
Licensed by kind permission from the Film & TV Licensing Division
Part of Universal Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A story so funny it has to be true...
28 October 2004 | by (Southern Hemisphere) – See all my reviews

Well, in reality, I suspect the story behind Buffalo Soldiers has picked up a bit of embellishment along the way from modern folklore to big screen, but that's hardly surprising. What is surprising is that such a basic story can be turned into such a funny film. It's not so much ha-ha funny as it is just ironic funny. Indeed, the story about one woman screaming protests about the so-called anti-American sentiment of the film and flinging a bottle at the screen tells me that some people still expect their comedy to be spoonfed to them.

If anything, this film reads like a celebration of the things that the citizens of Western societies take for granted. With soldiers situated far from home, and having nothing better to do than play games of indoor gridiron at times, it's a small wonder that soldiers turn to drug abuse or other such illegal activity in order to stave off boredom. Stir craziness is a problem in any army during peacetime, although one can't help but wonder if we're not being shown a rather extreme example here.

The basis of this black comedy is in the solid performances of the principal cast. Joaquin Phoenix shows once again that he has a great talent, while Ed Harris and Scott Glenn do an admirable job of playing the straight arrows. But it is another moderated little-girl-lost type of performance from the ever-wonderful Anna Paquin that at least kept this viewer engaged. This woman could make a ninety minute film in which she reads the telephone book, and I'd probably enjoy it.

The corruption shown in this film is hardly surprising, given how little soldiers seem to be paid in comparison to the stress they endure. If there is indeed any truth to the depicitions of drug abuse, then it's not surprising anymore that employers are currently employing random drug testing. Dr. Strangelove couldn't get more spot-on about how the human element of the military is generally its undoing. After one memorable sequence involving drugged tank drivers, I'll never be able to catch sight of an army vehicle without getting the urge to run away, screaming.

I gave Buffalo Soldiers an eight out of ten. Under normal circumstances, I would have given it a seven, but it has Anna Paquin in it, and any film with Anna Paquin in it can earn a bonus point. If you like your comedy without obvious prompts of when you're meant to laugh, then you can't go wrong with Buffalo Soldiers.


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