American Buffalo (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

American Buffalo (1996)



Critic Consensus: It lacks the dynamism of other adaptations of his work, but American Buffalo still offers the tenacious characterizations and hard-hitting dialogue that are hallmarks of David Mamet's writing.

American Buffalo Photos

Movie Info

A pair of ne'er-do-wells and their young intern plot the theft of a valuable Buffalo-head nickel in this drama that is based on a 1975 play by David Mamet. Most of the story takes place within the junky confines of Don Dubrow's second-hand store. Don and his young protege Bobby begin plotting the heist after a sly customer comes in and buys an extremely valuable coin for next to nothing. When Don discovers that the coin was worth a fortune, he feels cheated and decides to get the coin back. Unfortunately the volatile, self-absorbed Teach overhears their plan and weasels his way into the contrivance. Most of the story focuses on the machinations of these three well-drawn characters who provide fascinating insight into the criminal mind as they ingeniously devise new ways to manipulate and aggravate each other.

Watch it now


Critic Reviews for American Buffalo

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (8)

A three-character, one-set chamber piece, pic lacks the bravura moments of the film version of the playwright's Glengarry Glen Ross

April 29, 2005

Because the film never really brings to life its inner secrets, it seems leisurely, and toward the end, it seems long.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Mamet's strafing dialogue still hits its marks, but director Michael Corrente never manages to turn this into anything more than a static filmed play.

June 11, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Dustin Hoffman channels his Ratso Rizzo character from the 1969 Midnight Cowboy.

October 1, 2010 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Mesmerized by the trademark Mamet gutter poetry, Corrente directs unobtrusively and respectfully.

July 23, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

In this overly theatrical version, Hoffman gives a mediocre performance in a role that Al Pacino excelled with on stage. Failing to open up Mamet's play, confined to one locale--a junk store--the film is claustropobhic and dull, lacking emotional payoff

February 12, 2007 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Buffalo

What are we talking about? We're talking business!

matt sigur
matt sigur

Super Reviewer


Although the play was better, performances from Hoffman and Franz maintain interest.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

Very disappointing. This is my least favourite David Mamet play and it has been translated into a poor film.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

American Buffalo Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features