The Best of Dustin Hoffman: 20 Essential Roles

From 'The Graduate' to 'The Simpsons,' looking back on the best of the actor's big-screen and small-screen work

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'American Buffalo' (1996)

Hoffman takes on another great American theatre role for the screen: Teach, the two-bit bottom-dweller of David Mamet's drama about three men, a rare coin and a highwire confidence scheme. The New York Times called his grimy portrayal of the poker player-turned-criminal "the spiritual descendant of Ratso [Rizzo]" from Midnight Cowboy, and you can practically smell the sewer-funk emanating off of Hoffman's greasy-haired, dirty-fingernailed gambler who thinks he's stumbled on to a sure thing. The star handles the banter between himself and co-stars Dennis Franz and Sean Nelson almost as well as he does Mamet's poetically profane dialogue – it's an underrated turn into a sometimes overbaked adaptation, motormouthed and manic to a T.

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