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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.

Director:

Gregor Jordan

Writers:

Robert O'Connor (book), Gregor Jordan (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... Ray Elwood
Ed Harris ... Colonel Berman
Scott Glenn ... Sergeant Lee
Anna Paquin ... Robyn Lee
Elizabeth McGovern ... Mrs. Berman
Michael Peña ... Garcia
Leon ... Stoney (as Leon Robinson)
Gabriel Mann ... Knoll
Dean Stockwell ... General Lancaster
Brian Delate ... Colonel Marshall
Shiek Mahmud-Bey Shiek Mahmud-Bey ... Sergeant Saad (as Sheik Mahmud-Bey)
Amani Gethers ... Kirschfield
Noah Lee Margetts Noah Lee Margetts ... Rothfuss (as Noah)
Tom Ellis ... Squash
Kick Gurry ... Video
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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:

Steal all that you can steal. A story so outrageous you couldn't make it up See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Odeon Film AG (german)

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English | Turkish

Release Date:

31 October 2002 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Acemi askerler See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,977, 27 July 2003

Gross USA:

$354,421

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,300,684
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At a screening of the film on January 21, 2003 at the Sundance Film Festival, a woman in the audience verbally attacked the film during a Q&A period following the presentation. The woman reportedly accused the filmmakers of being anti-American and flung a plastic water bottle. The bottle hit an elderly man in the crowd on the head. The woman claimed the bottle was intended to hit the screen. The man was not seriously injured. See more »

Goofs

While making the heroin, the characters eat lots of meat to stop themselves getting high off the fumes. This wouldn't work in real life. See more »

Quotes

Ray Elwood: Say, do you ever have falling dreams?
Robyn Lee: Sure, I think so.
Ray Elwood: I have the same dream all the time where its really high and I'm kind of floating and then I fall. Is that the same as yours?
Robyn Lee: Kind of.
Ray Elwood: Well, why? What happens in yours?
Robyn Lee: I wake up before I hit the ground.
Ray Elwood: I always hit. I don't wake up.
Robyn Lee: That's not normal.
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 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Funky Prelude
Performed by Tot Taylor
Composed and Produced by Tot Taylor
Published by Songmatic
(p) & (c) Taylors Stores Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A story so funny it has to be true...
28 October 2004 | by mentalcriticSee 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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