American Buffalo

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
DirectorMichael Corrente
Writer:David Mamet
Director of Photography:Richard Crudo
Editor:Kate Sanford
Music:Thomas Newman
Production Designer:Daniel Talpers
Producer: Gregory Mosher
Samuel Goldwyn; R; 88 minutes
Cast:Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz and Sean Nelson
Based on the play by David Mamet

Mamet's minimalistic works often come with a heavy-handed message. American Buffalo speaks volumes about Mamet's interpretation of capitalism: It's a dog-eat-dog world and you can trust no one. Junk-shop owner Don (Franz) regrets having sold a rare buffalo-head nickel for $90; he thinks he could have done much better. He enlists his gofer, Bobby (Nelson), the only person to whom Don shows any interest or concern, to steal back the coin. Don's friend Teach (Hoffman), a greaseball wannabe criminal who evokes Hoffman's Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, gets wind of the scheme and wants in. He convinces Don that Bobby is too inexperienced for the job. The deceit and backstabbing continue when Bobby appears with a buffalo-head coin and no explanation of where he got it. An intense, revealing character study.

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