[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/514040220.jpg]]

->''"A-B-C. A-Always. B-Be. C-Closing. Always Be Closing!"''
-->-- '''Blake'''

A play by Creator/DavidMamet, which was the basis for a 1992 film directed by James Foley and starring Creator/AlPacino, Creator/JackLemmon, Creator/AlecBaldwin, Creator/AlanArkin, Creator/EdHarris, and Creator/KevinSpacey, about a group of salesmen in a small real estate firm who are given an ultimatum: bring in more sales or find a new job.

The four major characters:
* Ricky Roma (Pacino): A hotshot and the current highest-selling salesman.
* Dave Moss (Harris): A frequent complainer. Not as good a salesman as Roma, whom he resents.
* George Aaronow (Arkin): A poor salesman and follower who cannot stand up for himself.
* Shelly "The Machine" Levene (Lemmon): A once-great salesman who has fallen upon a streak of "bad luck".

Notable for its flagrant use of profanity (which caused the cast and crew to refer to the movie as "[[Theatre/DeathOfASalesman Death of a Fuckin' Salesman]]"), no-holds-barred take on human savagery in sales, and shockingly honest portrayal of human nature. The film is still used by corporate sales training programs to demonstrate the "right" and "wrong" ways to make a sale.

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!!This play and film provide examples of:

* AdaptationExpansion:
** Blake and his entire scene aren't in the play. Some recent productions have included Blake's scene, somewhat modified, as a monologue to the audience before Scene 1, partly because it's an awesome monologue, and partly because first-time playgoers who have only seen the film will assume the play has been edited if it's not included.
** Levene's failed house call is also a new sequence, to illustrate how worthless the Rio Rancho leads really are; it really drives home the hopelessness and desperation Shelly feels [[spoiler:that drives him into trying to steal the Glengarry leads]].
* AlliterativeList: A variation with '''A'''lways '''B'''e '''C'''losing.
* {{Angrish}}: Aaronow has such a bad case of this in his first scene that half his dialogue is in Angrish. Later on, after he's been talking to the detective, he has another serious attack of it:
-->'''Aaronow''': I meet Gestapo tactics... I meet Gestapo tactics... That's not right... No man has the right to... "Call an attorney," that means you're guilt... you're under sus... "Co...," he says, "cooperate" or we'll go downtown. That's not... as long as I've...
* AntiHero: None of the characters are what you'd consider to be good people. Even at their best, they're still sleazy salesmen trying to con people into worthless real estate. However, the plot makes it clear that their profession more or less made them this way.
* TheAntagonist: Ostensibly Williamson, since he holds the coveted Glengarry leads but won't let his salesmen have them unless they close on the Rio Rancho leads first (which are worthless). But he's not evil, he's [[PunchClockVillain just doing his job]] and following orders from corporate.
* BaitTheDog: Moss invites Aaronow out with him in what appears to be a PetTheDog moment. At first it looks like an attempt to lift the struggling Aaronow's spirits, until it is slowly revealed to be a premeditated manipulation to get him to steal the new leads so that Moss can sell them to a competitor. As their conversation goes on, Moss eventually resorts to blackmail to coerce Aaronow into becoming an accomplice. [[spoiler:It doesn't work and Moss has to settle for Shelley instead.]]
* BatmanGambit: Roma pulls one when Lingk comes to the office to cancel the deal, telling Levene to pretend to be a client and asking him to mention "Kenilworth" when Roma rubs his head. The gamble is that Lingk will do the polite thing, concede that Roma is busy and let him leave with his "client." [[spoiler:Lingk doesn't do it, but Roma nevertheless gets Lingk back in the deal -- and then Williamson messes it all up.]]
* {{Bookends}}: A passing train.
* BrassBalls: The centerpiece of Alec Baldwin's epic speech is his use of a ''visual aid'' to demonstrate what a real estate seller needs.
* ButtMonkey: Levene has humiliation and misfortune heaped on him throughout the story, and he comes out by far the worst in the end.
* CallBack: In the beginning, Moss gripes about a useless lead for someone named "Patel" that he's seen multiple times before. In the end, Ricky is enraged to be handed the "Patel" lead and tosses it away.
* CanonImmigrant: Blake didn't appear in the play. Creator/DavidMamet created him especially for the film.
* Catch22Dilemma: The central dilemma of the plot: the salesmen don't get the good leads unless they sell, but they can't sell without good leads.
* ChromosomeCasting: All of the named characters are men.
* CityNoir: Shots of a city in heavy rain at night with men wearing long coats.
* ClusterFBomb: There's a reason the cast referred to the film as "Death of a Fuckin' Salesman". The word "fuck" and its derivatives are uttered 138 times. The word "shit" and its derivatives are uttered 50 times.
* CountryMatters:
--> '''Ricky''': You stupid fucking cunt. I'm talking to you, shithead!... Where did you learn your traaaaaade, you stupid fucking cunt, you idiot?
* CrapsackWorld: The world in which these salesmen live is filled with deception, backstabbing, unfulfilled promises, psychotic work loads and constant screaming and threats back and forth. And that's on a good day! The atmosphere of the film is supposedly TruthInTelevision as playwright/screenwriter David Mamet based it on his own experiences working at a boiler room real estate office in the 1960s.
* DownerEnding: There's not much to be happy about after [[spoiler:Levene is presumably arrested and is taking Moss and Graff with him, Roma has lost $6,000 in commission and has a strong possibility of being sued, and the rest of the characters are no better off... Ironically, the only one that might benefit is Aaronow, since his other two competitors in the company are going to jail, making him second place by default. Unless Moss fingers him as an accomplice, that is...]]
* ExtremeDoormat: Lingk. He simply listens to Ricky monologue for an entire night and seems to think that they've had a heart-to-heart, then gets browbeaten by his wife to cancel the sale of land, then ''apologizes'' to Ricky for canceling even after learning that Ricky lied to him.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: The movie spans one night to the next morning.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Levene is sanguine, Roma and Moss are choleric, Williamson is melancholic, Aaranow is phlegmatic.
* FunWithAcronyms: '''A'''lways '''B'''e '''C'''losing; '''A'''ttention '''I'''nterest '''D'''ecision '''A'''ction
* TheGhost:
** Mitch and Murray, the corporate heads who drive the whole shebang.
** Also Jerry Graff, head of a competing firm.
* HamToHamCombat: Particularly between Ed Harris and Al Pacino.
* HenpeckedHusband: Lingk. From his description we can deduce his wife to be wearing the pants in their relationship.
* HowTheMightyHaveFallen: Levene is said to actually be a pretty good salesman who's currently stuck on a bad streak. You can see how he actually is a {{jerkass}} under that sorry exterior as soon as he ''thinks'' he's back on a roll.
* IHaveAFamily: Shelly begs Williamson not to rat him out and mentions his daughter, but it doesn't help.
* IndyPloy: When Roma's BatmanGambit with Lingk doesn't work, he resorts to one of these to get Lingk to trust him again, stalling out his request with assurances and faux-philosophical rambling. [[spoiler:Such is his skill that it seems to be working, until Williamson screws up by telling Lingk what Roma has already flatly denied is the case.]]
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: [[spoiler:How Levene slips up and reveals he was in on the heist. Williamson said he cashed Lingk's check. Levene calls Williamson out on lying about it, something he only could have known if he robbed the office.]]
* InhumanResources: Williamson is the PunchClockVillain who enforces the cutthroat tactics of the sales firm. While not a salesman, he's open to taking bribes and lying to customers.
* InstantlyProvenWrong: Roma constructs an elaborate lie to assure to his client that their contract hasn't been filed yet and could still be amended. Then in comes his boss announcing that the contract was approved and the check has been cashed at the bank. Roma tries to resolve the awkward situation by claiming to his client that he didn't know about this.
* {{Jerkass}}: All of the main characters themselves. Ricky and Dave in particular. Little as we get of him in the film, Blake probably tops them all.
* JerkassHasAPoint:
** Blake tells everybody exactly what is needed to succeed in the Real Estate business, and he isn't polite about it. It's abrasive, full of [[ClusterFBomb Cluster F-Bombs]], and it makes it clear to everyone in sales just what is necessary to succeed.
** Levene's comment to Blake on the leads being too weak to fulfill. When he closes a big deal that boosts his confidence once again, [[spoiler: Williamson shoots him down at the end by telling Levene that the lead was a dud and Williamson had known for months. Which means for all their complaining, the main characters were right about being held back by bad leads.]] On the other hand, Shelley either forgot about or didn't read an important memo [[spoiler: "never sell to these people"]] and was too self-deluded [[spoiler: to notice that there was no way his clients had 200 grand lying around to invest in real estate]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Roma's jerkiness is related mostly to his manipulations of Lingk and his intolerance for Williamson's and Moss's jerk tendencies. When he isn't actively being a salesman, he goes out of his way to be optimistic towards Aaronow and is the only one to actively respect Shelly's skills as a salesman, even admitting his streak doesn't mean much compared to the long career of the Machine.
* JustifiedCriminal: [[spoiler:How Shelly probably sees himself due to his sick daughter.]]
* LaserGuidedKarma: Riding high on his recent sale, Shelly decides to kick Williamson while he's down by delivering a completely redundant tongue-lashing. In his arrogance, however, he lets slip [[spoiler:an incriminating bit of knowledge proving that he robbed the office]].
* LiteralMinded: Blake and his brass balls. The implied joke, of course, is that he thinks the salesmen are so literal minded they need the visual aid.
* MacGuffin: The Glengarry account leads act as one. After the contest, those who keep their jobs get to use the leads, which means they'll be able to make some real money.
* MametSpeak: Perhaps the most famous example.
* ManipulativeBastard: All of the salesmen are shameless liars who try to manipulate their marks into buying land. They only really differ in their skill.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: As Blake explains that the bottom two salesmen will lose their jobs at the end of the month, the chalkboard behind him tells the audience what the characters realize about that stipulation immediately: Roma has such an insurmountable lead on the leaderboard that the other three recognize they'll be fighting for just one spot. That's probably also why Blake went on with his "pep talk" despite Roma not being there.
* MinimalistCast: The story is told using six major characters and a few extras.
* {{Nepotism}}: Ricky guesses that Williamson got his position by being "someone's cousin."
* NervousWreck: Lingk is on the edge after his [[HenpeckedHusband wife disapproved]] of his acquisition plans.
* NeverMyFault: The salesmen attribute all their failures to bad leads or bad luck and all their successes to their skills. They also think the exact ''opposite'' about each other.
* NighthawksShot: The film has an homage to the painting ''Nighthawks''.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Roma makes a valiant attempt to stall out Lingk's request for a refund by repeatedly pretending to not understand what he's saying, but it's all in vain.
* ObliviousGuiltSlinging: Roma praising Shelly as a great salesman and teacher and inviting him for lunch, right before the latter is called in by the police officer to be interrogated about his crime. We can assume Shelly to become a BrokenPedestal to Roma afterwards.
* OhCrap: Several.
** Ricky, after very carefully talking Lingk out of backing out of his contract, sees Williamson is going to blow the whole thing.
** [[spoiler:Levene]] when he realizes he cooked his own goose with his gloating. And again when he realizes [[spoiler:that sale that got his confidence back was no good anyway.]] And a final time when Baylen summons him into the office... knowing what's about to happen.
* PetTheDog: At the end of the story, Roma gives some support to the obviously rattled Aaronow and shows Levene a lot of respect. He's a decent guy when he's not fleecing suckers or screaming at people who lost him money.
* PoliceAreUseless: Roma says as much, stating that the police will never catch the thief because they're stupid. In fact, it's Williamson who catches the thief, not the cops. The police also don't seem to notice that Roma and Shelley are conning a mark in their presence, even when Roma is screaming at Williamson for bungling the con.
* PrecisionFStrike:
** Though the movie drops F-bombs frequently, Williamson has a particularly powerful one. [[spoiler:Levene is begging Williamson not to tell the police he robbed the office, with Levene bringing up his daughter as a final plea. Williamson's response? "Fuck you."]]
** Blake's rejoinder to Moss: "Fuck you. ''That's'' my name."
* PunchClockVillain: Williamson isn't a nice guy by any stretch, but he continually insists that he's just doing his job, and he'd get in trouble if he did anything except follow his specific instructions. He also states a number of times that he'd rather be home with his kids.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "PUT! that COFFEE! DOWN!"
%%* RealEstateScam
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Several.
** Blake has one that lasts for seven minutes in the movie version, where he lays into all of the salesmen in the office except for Roma, telling them that they either sell, or they're fired. Blake also calls them all manner of names, insults their home lives, and says that no one cares about them except for how much money they make.
** Moss is going off on Roma before he leaves.
** Roma delivers a ''spectacular'' one to Williamson when the latter accidentally sabotages the Lingk contract by telling him his check was taken to the bank the previous evening, starting off by calling him a "stupid fucking cunt" and then going from there.
--->'''Roma:''' You stupid fucking cunt. You, Williamson... I'm talking to you, shithead! You just cost me six thousand dollars. ''Six thousand dollars.'' And one Cadillac. That's right. What are you going to do about it!? What are you going to do about it, asshole?! You fucking shit! Where did you learn your trade!? You stupid fucking cunt! You idiot! Whoever told you you could work with ''men?''
** Having spent the entire play being the office ButtMonkey, Levene eagerly takes the opportunity to take up where Roma left off with regards to Williamson. [[spoiler:Unfortunately for him, he gets carried away and makes a slip he shouldn't have, thus enabling Williamson to destroy him utterly.]]
* RedHerring: The conversation during the night as well as his behavior the following morning all indicate that Aaronow cooperated with Moss' scheme to steal the leads. [[spoiler:Actually it was Shelley who was Moss' accomplice.]]
* RunningGag: Moss describes anything he doesn't agree with as a "buncha fuckin' nonsense".
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Moss, after his and Ricky's shouting match. [[spoiler:Probably a cover for Moss getting out of town before the police can question him.]]
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers: First place gets a car, second place gets a set of steak knives, and everyone else gets fired.
* ShadyRealEstateAgent: The plot focuses on a office of real estate salesmen who use all manner of lies and deception to sell what is implied to be worthless land to suckers.
* ShownTheirWork: At one point, Levene refers to Moss as an "order taker." While this phrase likely won't mean anything to the average person, it's a ''huge'' insult in the sales world: it means the person you sold your product to wanted to buy it anyway, and you merely took their order. In other words, the implication is you didn't actually ''sell'' anything, and anyone could have done what you did.
* ShutUpHannibal:
** Subverted by Blake when Moss attempts to criticize him and he quickly adds his rebuttal.
** Levene's long-awaited chance to have a [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech gloat]] to Williamson is well and truly shot down when Williamson picks up on a little slip that Levene shouldn't have made:
--->'''Williamson:''' [[spoiler:How did you know I made it up?]]
* SmokingHotSex: Ricky talks about having a smoke after a passionate night of sex, and how he felt supremely satisfied at that moment.
* SoleSurvivor: Considering all the other salesmen are in a load of trouble in the end, then by default [[spoiler:Aaronow]] is the one who wins the contest and gets to keep his job.
* SoundtrackDissonance: The film concludes playing an upbeat, jazzy rendition of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies."
* SpeechCentricWork: Especially the play, but the film still qualifies.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Levene's first name is spelled "Shelly" in the original play, but "Shelley" in the film.
* StepfordSmiler: Levene is a tragic case. He is obviously under incredible strain and deeply unhappy, but whenever he starts to break down, he snaps right back into his genial, avuncular salesman persona with a forced giggle.
* SuperGullible: Lingk is not only an ExtremeDoormat and HenpeckedHusband, he also swallows every lie the ShadyRealEstateAgent Roma feeds him without getting suspicious. Even when one of Roma's statements is exposed as untrue by a third person, Lingk's reaction is to apologize for letting Roma down.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Subverted with Shelley. The poor guy spends the first half of the story as the office ButtMonkey before he's finally able to close a good sale that lets him regain his much needed confidence. [[spoiler:Later, however, not only does he accidentally incriminate himself in a robbery, but he also discovers that said sale was worthless.]] Happens twice in the original stage production. [[spoiler:In both versions, Roma comforts Shelley by praising him for his skill and earlier success and proposes that they form a partnership. In the film this is a genuine PetTheDog moment on Roma's part, but in the play it's revealed that Roma - who is unaware of the latter's fate - is playing Shelley because he wants in on the good leads he assumes he'll be getting.]]
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The shot of Williamson saying [[spoiler:"You robbed the office!" to Levene]] is included in the film trailer.
* UltimateJobSecurity: Roma appears to have this by virtue of being the top salesman in the office. You try talking to your boss [[ClusterFBomb the way he talks to Williamson]] and see how much longer you're employed.
* UnbuiltTrope: Regarding motivational coaching and its actual usefulness. For all the popularity that Blake's scene has received, one would be surprised upon actually seeing the film to find out that it was a complete failure: it didn't help the protagonists to make good sales, only to make more ''bad'' sales, and eventually perform a theft that resulted in two of them getting arrested. Blake's speech focused only on motivation and failed to acknowledge the protagonists' real problems: they lack the necessary skill and they ''are'' being held back by bad leads. Giving them motivation, and ''only'' motivation, would not help if they still don't know ''how'' to sell and their leads are bad anyway.
* ViciousCycle: The salesmen complain that they're stuck in one. They get bad leads and can't make sales with them, so they keep getting bad leads because they're not making sales. Blake counters that a real salesman ''could'' make sales with bad leads.
* VillainousBreakdown: Each of the salesmen gets one by the end of the story.
** Aaronow gets a minor one after being questioned by the detective, raging about how disrespectfully the latter was treating him. It could be considered a simple breakdown minus the "villainous" part given how Aaronow [[TokenGoodTeammate stands out as the least amoral of the salesmen.]]
** Moss spends most of his time building up to one. All the insecurity and desperation he has been expressing come to a head during his RageQuit. Moss takes the time to unleash a brutal tirade against the office, his coworkers (particularly Roma), the police, and the nature of sales in general before storming out in a huff.
** Roma vents his frustration on Williamson after the latter [[spoiler: botches the former's big sale]].
** [[spoiler: Shelley Levine is treated to a painful one after getting carried away with his ReasonYouSuckSpeech directed at Williamson. When the latter keenly catches an incriminating piece of information, the former is reduced from a SmugSnake to a blubbering, pathetic mess.]]
* WhamLine:
-->'''Williamson:''' [[spoiler:How did you know I made it up?]]
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: We never find out where most of the pieces of real estate these guys are selling are located. There are exceptions: Roma identifies Glengarry Highlands as a Florida development during his sales pitch to Lingk, while the Rio Rancho land is presumably located in Arizona, as Aaronow and Moss both pretend to be from Arizona when calling those leads.
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: Shel used to be the best salesman on the firm.
* WordSaladTitle: The title sounds like gibberish, and even after you watch the play or movie you still might not understand the full meaning. It combines the best of the new (Glengarry) and old (Glen Ross) estates that Ricky Roma has come across to sell, apparently representing the high points of a salesman's life, or life in general.
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