American Made

Critics Consensus

American Made's fast-and-loose attitude with its real-life story mirrors the cavalier -- and delightfully watchable -- energy Tom Cruise gives off in the leading role.



Reviews Counted: 252

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User Ratings: 25,962


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States that spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and eventually almost brought down the Reagan White House with the Iran Contra scandal.

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Tom Cruise
as Barry Seal
Domhnall Gleeson
as Monty Schafer
Sarah Wright
as Lucy Seal
Jesse Plemons
as Sheriff Downing
Jayma Mays
as Dana Sibota
Lola Kirke
as Judy Downing
Alejandro Edda
as Jorge Ochoa
Benito Martinez
as James Rangel
E. Roger Mitchell
as Craig McCall
Jed Rees
as Louis Finkle
Fredy Yate Escobar
as Carlos Ledher
Mauricio Mejía
as Pablo Escobar
Robert P. Farrior
as Oliver North
Alberto Ospino
as Manuel Noriega
Daniel Lugo
as Adolfo Calero
Jayson Warner Smith
as Bill Cooper (Snowbird #1)
William Mark McCullough
as Pete (Snowbird #2)
Lauren Boyd
as Secretary
Mike Pniewski
as Willie (State Police)
Frank Licari
as DEA Agent #1
Connor Trinneer
as George W. Bush/Texan
Alpha Trivette
as Judge Linkletter
Kevin L. Johnson
as Agent Horace Wainwright
Devere Jehl
as Plain Clothed Man
Emilio Sierra
as Hector (Colombian Driver)
Leon Lamar
as Elderly Man
Tony Guerrero
as Federico Vaughan
Maria Howell
as NSC Woman
Darla Delgado
as Customs Agent
Justice Leak
as DEA Agent Winter
Robert Pralgo
as Gary (Cubicle Mate)
Mickey Sumner
as North's Aide Fawn Hall
Daniel May
as CIA Man
Trip McCarthy
as Dean (As James McCarthy lll)
Byron Diaz
as Sandinista Soldier
Byron Wigfall
as Contra #1
Carlos López
as CIA Station Chief
Jeffrey Olsen
as State Trooper
Stephen Conroy
as Military Police/Advisor
Juan Esteban Ramirez Toro
as Antonio (Bull Fighter)
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News & Interviews for American Made

Critic Reviews for American Made

All Critics (252) | Top Critics (48)

  • But by the time the movie roared to its shockingly grim, remarkably embittered ending, American Made had won me over.

    Oct 13, 2017 | Full Review…
  • It skitters and jumps, shivers and boot-scoots, never, ever sitting still. You could say it's like "Blow," on well, blow. But there's a breezy sunniness to this film, which looks like a faded snapshot reclaimed from an '80s photo album.

    Oct 6, 2017 | Full Review…
  • One assumes that Cruise got this film made, yet he's a terrible fit for the role: he's always done his best work portraying smart, insightful characters in dramatic stories, but Seal was a yahoo whose sorry escapades are played here for cynical laughs.

    Oct 5, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Without realizing it, American Made is a wincing metaphor for Tom Cruise's movie career-which, come to think of it, is exclusively and embarrassingly American made, too.

    Oct 2, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • The impetuous pace of the film is at one with its moral shamelessness, and, without thinking, we sign up for both.

    Sep 29, 2017 | Full Review…
  • [Tom] Cruise gives his energetic all to the role, but he, too, doesn't seem to be quite aware that Seal was morally compromised far beyond the shallow confines of this film.

    Sep 29, 2017 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Made


Say what you will of Tom Cruise as I'm fully aware that some don't take to him at all but, personally, I've always been a fan. That said, it's been some years since I've fully embraced a film of his as nothing has really showcased his abilities. As good as they were, I turned a little cold on the Mission: Impossible series where Cruise seemingly focused on being an action star for a while. American Made, however, sees him return to what he does best. This is a tailor made role for the likes of Cruise's cocksure mannerisms and shit-kicking grin. In fact, the film thrives on him in the lead which makes this very enjoyable entertainment. Plot: In 1978, skilled airline pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) is contacted by CIA agent Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleason), who employs him to photograph communist facilities over Central America. Barry accepts but it's not long before he's contacted by the Medellin Cartel to transport drugs back to the USA. Before he knows it, Barry is making millions in drug and gun-running which involves everyone from the FBI, the ATF, the CIA and the the Contras in Nicaragua. The longer it goes on, however, the harder it becomes for Barry to get out. I've now lost count of the amount of films that portray a character that spirals out of control once involved in some drug running or criminal activity. Tv's Breaking Bad became a critically acclaimed phenomenon for a start but the ones that spring to mind, when comparing American Made to anything, are the 70's set Johnny Depp film Blow and, in terms of its style and vibrancy, Scorsese's Goodfellas. Now, I wouldn't put this in the same class as Scorsese's masterpiece but it's equally as good as (if not better than) the aforementioned Ted Demme film. There's a lot of style and pizazz to Doug Liman's portrayal of this very interesting time in American history. He gleefully exposes the political machinations behind the events and doesn't pull punches in indicting President Ronald Reagan, Governor Bill Clinton and the CIA in there involvement with such a huge drug running cartel and their intentions to quash a South American uprising from the Sandinistas. Put simply, everyone had their fingers in a lot of pies at this time in America and Barry Seal happened to be "the gringo that always delivered". It's serious stuff but what makes it so enjoyable is because Cruise injects such a tongue-in-cheek zaniness to the whole affair while Liman confidently handles the material with a great eye for the 70's and 80's period detail and intercuts the film with news footage of the events as and when they came to public knowledge. It's a good case of truth being stranger than fiction and that's what grabs your attention as you roll with the ridiculously over-the-top scenarios. Cruise is hugely appealing here. His southern accent adds another dimension and character to his resumé that's refreshing to see. He can play these characters in his sleep but it's been a while since we've seen it. It feels like old school Cruise and it's a pleasure to have him return. Mark Walker

Mark Walker
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

A delightfully cynical and endlessly compelling biopic full of energy just like Tom Cruise's performance (of course), benefiting especially from its excellent, dynamic editing and exceptional cinematography that makes everything look like it actually filmed in the 1980s.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Classic wily Cruise. Guy never lets us down.

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer


American Made is a movie that floats by on the sheer enjoyment of Tom Cruise's charismatic, devil-may-care performance as Barry Seal, a man who flew secret missions for the CIA, Colombian drug cartels, and Nicaraguan contras. It's an appealing story with fun anecdotes of a scoundrel playing all sides against each other. Seal is unrepentantly without introspection and is simply having the time of his life. Under Doug Liman's direction and Cruise's sly performance, the movie flies by on good vibes until its inevitable crash once Seal cannot get out of the mess he's made for himself. The film doesn't have much in the way of depth or commentary on Seal's actions or the CIA's. Domnhall Gleeson (The Revenant) plays the enigmatic CIA handler who brings Seal into action and plots behind the scenes, and I wish he had a larger presence in the film. His character is the closest the film approaches legitimate satire. Other supporting characters leave little impression or have such limited roles, from Sarah Wright's complicit wife, to Caleb Landry Jones' bizarre screw-up of a brother-in-law, to Jesse Plemons as a small-town sheriff, to Jayma Mays as a frazzled prosecutor who can't take down Seal. The near-escapes and comical skirting of legal consequences provide enough interest without making the film seem episodic. I'm even struggling to say more about the film because that's how quickly it evaporates from memory. American Made isn't going to make much more than a fleeting impression, but it's fun while it lasts and a reminder about how entertaining movies can be when paired with a magnetic actor cutting loose. Nate's Grade: B

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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