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American Buffalo

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  4,482 ratings  ·  109 reviews
A classic tragedy, American Buffalo is the story of three men struggling in the pursuit of their distorted vision of the American Dream. By turns touching and cynical, poignant and violent, American Buffalo is a piercing story of how people can be corrupted into betraying their ideals and those they love.
Audio CD
Published February 15th 2016 by LA Theatre Works (first published 1975)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  4,482 ratings  ·  109 reviews


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Fabian
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"American Buffalo" gives us a sliver of insight into a subculture of ruffians, gamblers & thieves. Nothing--not property, friends, loyalty or history--nothing absolutely trumps the $. Nothing! & although you perceive some tenderhearted brotherhoodsian moments between the three main (& only) players, their nastiness towards one another prevails: it is our main entree.

The taut, closed-circuited anecdote is about not allowing your eyes be fooled, so that when the proverbial "rug" is "pulled right f
...more
Dave Schaafsma
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
“The whole entire world.
There is no law.
There is no right and wrong.
The world is lies.
There is no friendship.
Every fucking thing.
Every God-forsaken thing”--Teach, in American Buffalo

I seem to be in a phase here of running/walking and listening to great American plays in a particular vein--Sam Shephard, David Mamet, Kenneth Lonergan, Edward Albee--plays featuring working class language: Muscular, visceral, sometimes profane. The men--and it is most often men in these plays--get showcased as they
...more
Carac Allison
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


The Student/Teacher, Mentor/Innocent, Parent/Child relationship is important in many of Mamet's plays. In "American Buffalo" Don is the owner of a junk shop and Bobby is a kid with a troubled past who runs errands for him. Don looks out for Bobby and Bobby wants to do right by Don.

The other third of the cast is Teach. Three characters, one set and a phone. That's it and that's more than enough.

"Sexual Perversity in Chicago" and the "Duck Variations" announced Mamet as a new voice in American the
...more
Erin
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Some plays are so great that, even when reading the script, you can imagine the whole thing and it's fabulous. This isn't one of them. ...more
Coleman
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
American Book Review, a play by David Mamet

Interior. Lights up on DAVID MAMET and COLEMAN, who are standing in a room, somewhere, who knows where, nobody knows.
DAVID MAMET: Hey,
COLEMAN: Hey,
DM: You checked out my play?
C: Yeah.
DM: You read it?
C: Yeah.
DM: You like it?
C: Uh huh.
DM: I mean, you think it’s good?
C: It’s good.
DM: Yeah?
C: Yeah. It’s a good play.
DM: Good.
C: Only-
DM: What? What only?
C: Only I didn’t read it.
DM: You didn’t read it?
C: What I mean is, I listened to it.
DM: You listened to it.
...more
Kathleen
May 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
(My reaction before opening the play and simply looking at the back cover:)
Oh goody, a play for three men. There really aren't enough roles for men in American drama. SARCASM

--

So, when I was a young little actor, I worshiped Mamet for his snappy and crude dialogue, his anger, and his general "forget everything, life sucks" style of drama. I loved how nasty Sexual Perversity in Chicago was.

But this? Not so much.

When I look at this play I just see a cranky Mamet mess. This whole thing is just kind
...more
Tim
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
This is a tough, nasty little play that is stylistically and thematically very much in line with other things I have seen from Mamet, e.g. House of Games, Homicide, and Glengarry Glen Ross. The short, sharp lines of dialogue, the greed, the rough-edged characters are all there. And what Mamet does best is here too: the unpredictable twists and turns the plot takes, the surprises, and the explosions of the obvious.

The story concerns Teach and Don, two petty crooks who operate out of a junk shop.
...more
Brad
I never thought that the cadences of David Mamet's dialogue would fail to dazzle me, nor that they would ever feel dated or false. There was a time when the repetitions, the interjections, the interruptions felt like the most natural dialogue I had ever heard, and I longed to capture that in my own writing.

Listening to this L.A. Theatreworks performance of Mamet's American Buffalo dispelled Mamet's illusory magic for the first time. But why? Is it because the performances failed in some way? Is
...more
Fara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonfaith
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe I liked this more than the Mrs. We saw an amateur production in Ohio the next day.
Roxanne
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trying to write a play and thought why not learn from a Master! Also was suppose to see it with Sam Rockwell on Broadway in April, alas, that was cancelled.

To be honest, pretty macho type play so I'm actually happy to have simply read it.

Obviously fantastic clipped Mamet famous dialogue. The story is a bit thin to be honest, but I guess the devil is in the details, meaning we as play goers get to ponder the back stories we surmise. Themes include whether there is ever really true friendship with
...more
Louis Spirito
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm taking an online course from David Mamet and had to reread the play. Ironically, thanks to the playwright who introduced us to street-speak, the play now feels overly familiar, as if we've seen/heard thousands of stories like it. But Mamet's originality and dramatic craft elevate this above nearly all the subsequent imitations. ...more
Steven
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best American plays I've ever read; i would love to see it performed....dont want to see the movie. ...more
Makayla
Sep 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Three white dudes with white dude problems. Like there aren’t enough plays about that.
Sibel
Reminds me sooo much of Beckett's Waiting for Godot. ...more
04nicks
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nick M. S.
American Buffalo is a book by David Mamet about a couple of crooks that are planning a heist of a rich man’s house. The story takes place in the main character’s junk shop in the 70s. there are only 3 characters in this play--Don, Teach and Bob.
Although the story has a lot of salty language and violence (stuff I usually Love to read about), I didn’t really connect with ay of the characters. I felt that the characters were not relatable to me. I enjoyed the guessing in the beginning of
...more
Mary Slowik
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature audiences
Shelves: drama
Good stuff. Obviously there's the sharp dialogue and "gritty" aspect to this one, but what I really enjoyed was that characters actually misspeak and interrupt each other, lines overlapping. The story of the play works to defy expectations, with the climactic violence directed as much inward as outward. People reveal their true natures in a crisis-- and this play demonstrates that with a nicely slow-burning plot. It's a dark crash course in psychology, which brought to (my) mind nothing except M ...more
Mike Merrill
Movie made more sense... Its ok but not a fave
Nick Jones
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Mamet’s fourth play. If his first three felt like apprentice work, this is the real thing – a proper Mamet play. The first three were full of formal playfulness, the work of a young playwright discovering the possibilities of the medium; in American Buffalo the formal razzmatazz has been integrated into a more consistent whole – the conventions now being used are those of American realism. Three characters, one set, two scenes. There’s something classical about this – but then the detail i ...more
Wade Stotts
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Buck
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s become fashionable to shit on David Mamet, but the man is arguably the most important playwright of the past fifty years. He revolutionized dialogue, not just in theater but in all art, and inspired a generation of writers (most notably filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson). This play was his first masterpiece and it is an iambic assault of f-bombs and machine gun speak, but it’s in the structure that it really shines.
J
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Mamet (and Shepard as well) did that rapid fire dialogue that sounds like it's normal half the time, but laden with menace, and then is menacing the other time but said in a purr. It's fun but after a bit the schtick gets tiresome. Like there's only one vein in this series of plays he did for a period of time and they were all like this. But this one is great with just 3 cast members, Mamet runs through a triangle of deceit and criminality and trust and the lack thereof. ...more
Adrienne
I honestly had a hard time following the story, which is not an issuse I have had with other Mamet plays I have read. I am left wondering what Teach thought Bob had or had not done, or what Don was even trying to string together in terms of the job, or jobs, or what exactly getting this coin back was supposed to accomplish, or what coin number 2 was all about. Am I being obtuse? This is the 4th play I have read of his, and the only one that has left me utterly confused.
Rich Farrell
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, drama, chicago
I’ve been reading a lot of and about Algren this year. I picked this up because it’s another Chicago author I have heard of but hadn’t read before. I’m on an informal quest that asks “What does a Chicago author sound like?” Mamet has a similar feel to Algren with a story centered around gruff-sounding con men trying to get ahead, while being trapped in a rigged game. It was good on the page, but I’m sure it’s better live.
Max McKune
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Mamet is like THE asshole of drama, so fuck him, but this play really shows why he was a force to begin with. The dialogue is just astounding, pages and pages of one word responses between two guys that so dramatically elevate the tension. So much arises out of almost nothing being spoken, and the style makes it plain why Chicago theaters were able to elevate their names by putting on Mamet’s early pieces.
Rosaleen Lynch
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
American Buffalo is not my favourite Mamet even though I recognise its quality. The exploration of relationships and the American Dream and the limits of and betrayals in both is poignant but I don't enjoy characters who remind me of hopelessness however depressingly realistic they might be. I reserve ultimate judgement though for when I see it at the theatre. ...more
Brian McCann
I think this play was considered brilliant in the 1970s. Sure its rhythms captures a social strata in America at that time, but it has minimal plot, lots of misogynistic language, and the reveal at the end doesn’t really make the experience worth it. Perhaps I need to reach deeper into what it’s REALLY about.
Jonathas Soares
Criminals don’t have friends, only accomplices, even small-time crooks like the characters in “American Buffalo”.

The play is about a heist involving a rare coin, but the plot is really not the star here; rather, the language of said ruffians and its rhythm is where our attention should be focused on.
James
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't read it unless you see the Dustin Hoffman / Dennis Franz movie first. On the page, it's nothing much; on screen, it's terrific. I saw it on Broadway with William H. Macy as Teach, but the film is better. ...more
Ryan Dickson
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend reading this play about corruption in the business world. It really mirrors what is happening in today's world, specifically within the United States Government. ...more
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David Alan Mamet is an American author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and film director. His works are known for their clever, terse, sometimes vulgar dialogue and arcane stylized phrasing, as well as for his exploration of masculinity.

As a playwright, he received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Speed-the-Plow (1988). As a screenwriter, he received Oscar nominations for Th
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“The whole entire world.
There is no law.
There is no right and wrong.
The world is lies.
There is no friendship.
Every fucking thing.
Every God-forsaken thing.”
2 likes
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