The first film David Mamet directed was House of Games (1987) for which he also wrote the screenplay. Still considered by many critics to be one of Mamet's best films, House of Games tells the story of a psychiatrist who gets suckered into one of her client's confidence games. The film stars Joe Mantegna and Lindsay Crouse who was, at the time, married to Mamet.
In Oleanna, David Mamet tells the story of a college student who files a sexual harassment suit against one of her professors just as he is being considered for tenure. Described by the New York Times as a "seething investigation of political correctness," Oleanna was eventually made into a movie starring William H. Macy and Debra Eisenstadt.
David Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross which recreates the atmosphere of a gritty and somewhat unethical Chicago real estate office in which an aging salesman named Shelley Levene is on the verge of being sacked for lack of production.
David Mamet's first produced screenplay was The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), a remake of the 1946 movie of the same name which depicts an affair between a seedy drifter and the wife of a roadside cafe owner. The film starred Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange.
In 1991, David Mamet married actress/singer-songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon who often plays prominent roles in movies her husband directs such as The Spanish Prisoner (1997), The Winslow Boy (1999), State and Main (2000), Heist (2001), and Edmond (2005). Mamet was previously married to the actress Lindsay Crouse.
David Mamet co-wrote the movie Things Change (1988) with the well-known poet Shel Silverstein. The film tells the story of Gino (Don Ameche), an Italian-American shoe-shiner who is paid to take the rap for a murder and Jerry (Joe Mantegna), a two-bit gangster who is charged with protecting him for the weekend.
David Mamet has adapted several works by Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov, including Vint (1985), The Cherry Orchard (1985), The Three Sisters (1991), and Uncle Vanya (1994). Mamet's adaptation of Uncle Vanya was also used as the basis for Louis Malle's film Vanya on 42nd Street (1994) in which a group of New York actors rehearse Chekhov's play in a rundown theater.