Buffalo Soldiers (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Buffalo Soldiers (2001)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

Buffalo Soldiers Videos

Buffalo Soldiers Photos

Movie Info

It's 1989. The Berlin Wall is about to fall; but outside of Stuttgart, West Germany, at the Theodore Roosevelt Army Base, Specialist Ray Elwood of the 317th Supply Battalion is about to find his own cold war turn white hot. Elwood's a loveable rogue, a conscript who's managed to turn his military servitude into a blossoming network of black market deals--more out of boredom than ambition. Officially, Elwood has a day job, as battalion secretary to the inept--but caring--Commander Wallace Berman. On the side, he does everything from selling stolen Mop'N'Glo, to cooking heroin for the base's ruthless head of Military Police, Sgt. Saad. When a new top sergeant arrives, with the avowed intention of cleaning up the base, Elwood thinks the new blood is nothing he can't handle. But that was before he factored in the $5 million in stolen arms that just landed in his lap, Berman's jealous wife, an insane Turkish drug dealer, and the resulting lust, betrayal and murder.

Watch it now

Cast

Joaquin Phoenix
as Ray Elwood
Ed Harris
as Col. Berman
Scott Glenn
as Sgt. Robert Lee
Anna Paquin
as Robyn Lee
Elizabeth McGovern
as Mrs. Berman
Leon
as Stoney
Dean Stockwell
as Gen. Lancaster
Brian Delate
as Colonel Marshall
Amani Gethers
as Kirschfield
Tom Ellis
as Squash
Idris Elba
as Kimborough
Kimo Wills
as Walters
Enoch Frost
as Johnnie
Jimmie Ray Weeks
as Colonel Armstrong
Alexis Rodney
as Parsons McCovey
Tom George
as Nerdy Young Soldier
Lars Rudolph
as Courier
Derek Lea
as Truck Driver 1
Mark Newman
as Truck Driver 2
David Crow
as Private
Jason Rayford
as Young Soldier
Gary Washington
as Sergeant Saad's Man
James Battles
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Leon Deavers
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Gerald Jacy
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Michael Johnson
as Sergeant Saad's Man
John Ryan Lovett
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Antonio Ruffin
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Glenn Stephens
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Terrence Packer
as Sergeant Saad's Man
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Buffalo Soldiers

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (37)

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

Full Review… | November 13, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top 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
Top Critic

It's a well-done satire that only the thinnest of skins would find insulting.

Full Review… | September 18, 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Like its bored soldiers, this movie seems to play with volatile substances with not nearly enough respect for their meaning.

September 12, 2003
Denver Post
Top Critic

It's mostly a lurching, clumsy affair, a very poor man's Catch-22.

September 5, 2003
Detroit News
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | September 5, 2003
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Buffalo Soldiers

½

Maybe I'm the only one, but I found the satire in this film, while decent enough, to be a little outdated. This film was scheduled for released in 2001, but was delayed due the 9/11 attacks, before seeing release in 2003. Apparently, and this has carried all through to 2015, in some people's minds, saying anything negative about the military makes you an unpatriotic commie bastard. The military is above criticism and reproach. As if they were to be worshiped as gods instead of treated as, just exactly what they are, human beings who make mistakes. I can see that being the only reason this was delayed. And the funny thing is that the satire, while criticizing U.S foreign policy, isn't as particularly biting or edgy as the film believes itself to be. Dr. Strangelove, a film that is FIFTY-ONE years old, still comes across as more relevant and biting than this movie does. I don't know what it is, but it just doesn't work as well as it pretends it does. I still think the movie is good enough. It is well-written and the characters, while not particularly likable, are certainly interesting. Sometimes the most unlikable of characters make the most interesting. If you don't believe that then you clearly have never seen Arrested Development. I just found the entire film to be clumsily structured. I just think the story covers too many elements and characters that don't really come together in an overly cohesive fashion. It's not even that funny, in my honest opinion. The only thing I honestly enjoyed about the entire movie would be some of the character progression. Everything else left a lot to be desired. Maybe I was just in a crummy mood and I couldn't see the forest for the trees, so to speak. But I honestly didn't think this movie was that good. It tries and everything, but it just falls short of the mark. I would say that this is average at best and it's probably gonna be a bigger hit with others than it was with me, so there's that. Watch at your own risk I guess.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

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.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Buffalo Soldiers Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss Buffalo Soldiers on our Movie forum!

News & Features