105 Must See Films

105 Must See Films: Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)


Starring: Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin

Director: James Foley

A team of real estate sales people are told that only the top two sales people will keep their jobs, and they have about 24 hours to make a sale. But some of them feel that they can’t make a sale without decent leads, and a plot to get a hold of the leads held back leads to criminal doings. But who really took them?

Based on a hugely popular 1984 play by David Mamet, the play is full of snappy dialogue and takes a cynical look at the world of business.

Why Is It A Must See? Every member of the cast is an excellent performer, and seeing them all in one place, chewing up the scenery is really something. Spacey still has quite a baby face here, and a mean streak, and Lemmon is endearing and tragic as a man desperate to keep the job that’s barely covering the money the hospital is demanding for his daughters care. Every one has their story and their motivation, which means that when the leads are found to be missing, you really don’t know who it was.

It also has some incredibly snappy dialogue, some great one liners, especially when it comes to business or sales speak. The scene where Baldwin’s character swoops in and delivers the crushing news, as well what you could call a pep talk if you’re a bit backwards, is a classic scene, often quoted.

I think the impact of this film lies in the way it shows sales or the way business is run as ultimately futile and dehumanising (at least in this context), and how that creates desperation that pushes people to do things the wrong way, but I’d love to hear what you think if you watch it or have seen it? Leave a comment below.

See It If: you have ever worked in sales! It’s intense.

12 thoughts on “105 Must See Films: Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)”

  1. Hey! I remember this movie well, I watched it on VHS back when you could still rent VHS tapes. The most intense performance I’ve ever seen from Alec Baldwin.

    Have you ever seen a film called Boiler Room, from 2000 or so? It also tells the story of a high pressure sales job that leads people to make bad decisions. Vin Diesel was in it as a stockbroker, if you can imagine that. Come to think of it, Spacey had a cameo. Anyway, Ben Affleck was the Alec Baldwin character of that movie. His speech to the new hires in the beginning of the film is similar to Baldwin in Glengarry, but watered down. I’ve never been able to take Affleck seriously as a villain.

    I agree with your take on Glengarry’s message and theme. I always try to look at the big picture and the universal value of an artwork, so I interpret is as saying something about how society in general is tends to punish the weak, reward the vicious, and turn good people into criminals. It isn’t just being in sales that’s awful. I’d forgotten that Lemmon’s character even had a daughter; I saw it long before I had children, so it didn’t resonate with me. I’ll never forget Al Pacino in the bar with his “your balls are hard as cement” line. Watching his performance here. it’s easy to see why Pacino was cast as the devil a few years later in Devil’s Advocate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! Epic comment! 💋
      I remember VHS, I loved going with my family to the video store, picking things out, waiting for new releases. And yes, I do know Boiler Room, doesn’t Vin have hair in that film?
      I’m glad you liked my review! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think he does have hair, and also, emotional range. Pretty sure that in the next Fast and Furious installment, he will be speaking entirely in deep-throated grunts that only Ludacris can understand.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. And browsing a bit through your blog again, I came across this gem of a movie 😀 I loved this one, it was in Al Pacino’s best days, and I loved Alec Baldwin in it, even though he had a very small role 😊 Great to keep taking a trip through movie history with these posts 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like them. 😃 it is a gem, though some people didn’t like it. Maybe appreciated rather than liked, you know?
      But yes, Al Pacinos peak, and Baldwin is great.
      It’s been such a good year watching these.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw this one recently because it kept topping lists of must-see movies… i don’t think it’s for everyone. Sales may be a field a lot of people can relate to, but the all male cast and the fact that it’s. asically a direct-to-film adaptation of the play makes it one of those movies you either love or hate. I think that I fall mostly on the ‘hate’ side, although I did appreciate the snappy dialogue. And although Spacey is a demi-god, I feel that Baldwin’s speech was what made the entire movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny what ends up on must see lists, isn’t it? I think it’s a good film, but it’s not delicious like some other films, that you can sink into. You can def tell it was originally a play, can’t you? 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! That’s what turned me off slightly, the sets and camera angles and all aspects of direction felt like someone just shot a play. It’s definitely different, but like you said, not the kind of thing I usually want to sink my teeth into.

        Liked by 1 person

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