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Buffalo Soldiers (2001)

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A criminal subculture operates among U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin wall.

Director:

Gregor Jordan

Writers:

Robert O'Connor (book), Gregor Jordan (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... Ray Elwood
Ed Harris ... Colonel Berman
Scott Glenn ... Sergeant Lee
Anna Paquin ... Robyn Lee
Elizabeth McGovern ... Mrs. Berman
Michael Peña ... Garcia
Leon ... Stoney (as Leon Robinson)
Gabriel Mann ... Knoll
Dean Stockwell ... General Lancaster
Brian Delate ... Colonel Marshall
Shiek Mahmud-Bey Shiek Mahmud-Bey ... Sergeant Saad (as Sheik Mahmud-Bey)
Amani Gethers ... Kirschfield
Noah Lee Margetts Noah Lee Margetts ... Rothfuss (as Noah)
Tom Ellis ... Squash
Kick Gurry ... Video
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Storyline

1989. The Berlin Wall is about to fall, and the world is about to be made safe for the new world order. But outside of Stuttgart, West Germany, at 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 lovable 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, there's his day job as battalion secretary to the inept but caring Commander Wallace Berman. On the side, there's everything from selling the locals 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 the base up, Elwood thinks the new blood is nothing he can't handle, especially after he lays eyes on the top's daughter, rebellious Robyn. But that was before he figured in the $5 million in stolen arms that just landed on ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is my story, its very true! but many will deny it See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, drug content, strong language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Odeon Film AG (german)

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English | Turkish

Release Date:

31 October 2002 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Acemi askerler See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,977, 27 July 2003

Gross USA:

$354,421

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,300,684
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Colonel Berman talks about one of his ancestors being the Civil War General John Bell Hood, "affectionately known as the Iron Boar". While Hood did exist, the nickname of "The Iron Boar" was apparently made up by the screenwriters. In the novel it was Francis "the Swamp Fox" Marion, but Gregor Jordan found out from Heath Ledger that the main character of The Patriot (2000) (which was being made at the time) was based on Marion. Jordan thought that if The Patriot became as successful as Braveheart (1995) that suddenly everyone would know about Marion and it would spoil the joke, that Berman's military ancestor is not very well known. So Jordan researched other American Generals, and used Hood instead. See more »

Goofs

When Elwood looks at Sergeant Lee's personnel file on the computer, it says his date of birth is 10/08/1954. The film is set in October 1989 which would make him only 35 years old. Scott Glenn was 60 when this film was made (and looks it too). See more »

Quotes

Ray Elwood: I'm a natural enemy of guys like your dad, mostly because I don't give a shit about the army.
Robyn Lee: If you don't give a shit, why'd you join?
Ray Elwood: I didn't exactly have much of a say in the matter. I got caught stealing a car and the judge gave me a choice - either 6 months in prison or 3 years in the army. So I made the mistake of choosing the army.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits include the citation: 'The red cross emblem is an international symbol of neutral protection during armed conflicts, and its use is restricted by law. The purposes for which the red cross emblem is used by the characters in this film are clearly improper. The filmmakers wish to stress their support for proper use of the emblem, which has saved millions of lives throughout the world'. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Tank Scenes (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Mosque
Published by Chappell Recorded Music Library
Courtesy of Zomba Productions Music
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User Reviews

Darkly humorous look at military life that doesn't deserve it's reputation as `anti-American'
1 January 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Ray Elwood is a soldier stationed on a base in West Germany. With no war to fight the men become bored but Elwood has enough going on the side to keep him busy, whether selling off excess cleaning supplies or dealing drugs. When he lands two trucks worth of weapons he thinks his day has come, however at the same time a tough new officer, Sergeant Lee, is stationed on the base with the aim of cleaning it up - starting with Elwood dealings.

Of course, we all know that this film practically vanished after 9/11; suddenly America didn't want anything that seemed to be attacking America or the dedicated American soldier. This was unfortunate as the film isn't as blatantly anti-war or anti-American as I had been led to believe. Rather it is a dark comedy that looks at the reality of army life during peacetime. In fairness though it does show the soldiers out for cash, high on drugs and certainly not fitting the image that made Time magazine pick `the American soldier' as man of the year for 2003.

The basic plot makes MASH look like some sort of kids game - where Hawk-Eye made drink in his tent, Elwood cooks coke and deals in stolen weapons. The story works quite well although some of it didn't totally work and some of the characters and action didn't really make sense. It was amusing without being laugh out loud funny, although this wasn't so much of a problem as I certainly didn't expect it to be an out and out comedy. The drama works better than the comedy and it is for this reason it is a better attack on the ideal of the military. The upper levels of the military also take a knock; being shown as focused on rank climbing rather than keeping a sharp military machine well oiled!

The cast is good on the whole - both on paper and on the screen. Phoenix leads the film really well and delivers a likeable character that is still abhorrent enough to be seen as an attack rather than a spoof. Harris is OK but he only has a small role and it doesn't totally fit in with the main narrative very well - likewise McGovern. Pacquin is pretty cool but her character was a bit of a mystery to me but Glenn is well cast and he is able to deliver the goods in a borderline nuts character; only problem with his performance was that I didn't totally understand his character's aims by the end of the film. Both Leon and Pena were good in support and Dean Stockwell has an OK cameo.

Overall this was a good film despite the fact that it had a plot that was a little weakened by the side issues and characters who aren't totally clear in terms of what they're all about. Aside from this the film is pretty entertaining and is actually quite matter of fact in it's portrayal of military life rather than being scathing - coming from Northern Ireland, I have seen all sorts of stuff done by squaddies and am well aware of how true this can be! But to label it anti-American is just plain daft!


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