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Buffalo Soldiers (2001)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 114
Fresh: 83 | Rotten: 31

Overall, this caustic comedy hits more of its targets than it misses.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 12

Overall, this caustic comedy hits more of its targets than it misses.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 15,415

My Rating

Movie Info

Australian director Gregor Jordan makes his sophomore effort with this tale about crooked U.S. soldiers based in Germany during the waning days of the cold war. Special Fourth Class soldier Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) guards against the Soviets while on duty, and rips off the U.S. military while off duty. Handsome, calculating, and thoroughly amoral, Elwood runs a profitable black-market business that operates just below the official radar. He and his associates make drugs to sell to his fellow

Jan 13, 2004


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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (31) | DVD (19)

Eventually, the movie's rampant nihilism catches up with it.

November 13, 2003 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The characters, if not sympathetic, are at least interesting and brought to life with authenticity by the talented cast.

October 9, 2003
Arizona Republic
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It's a well-done satire that only the thinnest of skins would find insulting.

September 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Like its bored soldiers, this movie seems to play with volatile substances with not nearly enough respect for their meaning.

September 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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It's mostly a lurching, clumsy affair, a very poor man's Catch-22.

September 5, 2003
Detroit News
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If you can get past the idea that Buffalo Soldiers ... has any real relevance, you are likely to enjoy its sitcom snap and the performance of Phoenix.

September 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
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doing for the Cold War what Three Kings did for the first Gulf war - i.e. following the adventures of a small group of profiteering soldiers in order to satirise the self-interested smash-and-grab attitudes of US foreign policy.

June 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Info
Daily Info

In the chaotic tradition of "Dr. Strangelove"...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Buffalo Soldiers is like M*A*S*H for the Reagan/Bush era generation that never knew a war like Vietnam. Both films offer a slap in the face to the establishment and display irreverent, savage satire.

June 29, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

...a dark, entertaining and thought-provoking film that could be recommended to pacifists and militarists alike.

June 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Draxblog Movie Reviews

May ultimately be a tad too calculated to truly shock, but manages to navigate between bad taste and Sgt. Bilko with skill and infectious glee.

January 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Portland Mercury

It's not the dark comedy it wants to be -- that would be M*A*S*H with a more modern setting and more gruesome consequences -- but it's worth a look.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

This blazingly irreverent comedy hits its machismo targets over and over again to the point of overkill.

April 16, 2004 Full Review Source:

Aims to be a parable of man's self-destructive nature, and at times it succeeds. Unfortunately, it pulls punches at exactly the times that it should be hitting the hardest.

March 1, 2004 Full Review Source:

The storyline becomes too idiotic and lacking enough funny or relevant moments to fly as a cutting edge satire.

February 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's a refreshingly scornful and scathing depiction of one soldier's pursuit of the American Dream.

February 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Imagine if Robert Altman's M*A*S*H had been stifled back in 1970... and you can see the absurdity of the current climate.

January 21, 2004
Creative Loafing

You won't see too much red, white and blue on this DVD transfer of Buffalo Soldiers, but what little there is sure looks great.

January 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Joltingly funny.

October 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A scathing and very funny indictment of the U.S. military.

October 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

While Buffalo Soldiers has its moments, it stumbles along the way and fumbles the ending.

September 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Director Gregor Jordan's attempts to crib the military-minded satire of Catch-22 or Robert Altman's M*A*S*H feel pointless and dishonest.

September 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Clever without being funny, Buffalo Soldiers would like to be cynical and nasty, but its satire is blunted by a soft, chewy center.

September 20, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for Buffalo Soldiers

A wheeler dealer based in a US army camp in Germany becomes locked in a battle of wills with his new sergeant, a Vietnam veteran determined to break him and his operation. Sgt. Bilko meets Tarantino in this blackly comic story of bored soldiers looking for ways to make a fast buck. Kind of like a cross between Jarhead and True Romance, there is the combination violence, drugs and humour that is common to post Tarantino comedy thrillers, but somehow it doesn't quite sit well with the setting of the US military. There is something a little unsettling about seeing soldiers with such a disregard for life and law (on "our side" anyway), and I found little humour in seeing them killed in various gruesome ways, accidentally or not. Otherwise, it's actually not a bad little film; Joaquin Phoenix amiably treads the line between immorality and charm, Ed Harris is as reliable as ever as the impotent base commander who is caught in the crossfire and Scott Glenn is a first rate Nazi war veteran. Not exactly a classic, but it has a quality that marks it above the average Tarantino copycat.
January 21, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Good film, a bit like M*A*S*H in places and very entertaining!
September 23, 2009

Super Reviewer

Quite simply this is a well written, well acted and exceptionally funny film. It follows the story of a soldier in the US army as the Cold War is coming to an end, and the black market exploits that thrive when there is nothing for the soldiers to do. It is also an interesting political take on the chain of command in the military, lampooning the superior officers as incompetent fools, despite having their hearts in the right place, the film manages to successfully create sympathy for Col. Berman (Ed Harris) in that despite his general inability to do the job, he is actually well liked. It becomes increasingly clear towards the end of the film that Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) has a lot of affection for the man.

All in all a highly successful film, and recommended for anyone who wants a well made, smartly written comedic drama.
October 28, 2008
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Essentially Air America with tanks set in West Germany, Funny satire with an enjoyable plot.
December 30, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Pvt. Ray Elwood: There really is no peace. There's always war, somewhere, with someone. And there are no winners or losers, either. Just those who are still around to fight another day.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Col. Wallace Berman: A thousand gallons of Mop and Glow? Do we really need that much?
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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