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Traffic (2000)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  5 January 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 163,707 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 865 user | 222 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.



(miniseries Traffik), (screenplay)
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 67 wins & 82 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrew Chavez ...
Desert Truck Driver
Desert Truck Driver
General Arturo Salazar
Salazar Soldier / The Torturer
Salazar Soldier #2
Lawyer Rodman
Lorene Hetherington ...
State Capitol Reporter #1
Eric Collins ...
State Capitol Reporter #2
DEA Agent - CalTrans
Peter Stader ...
DEA Agent - CalTrans
DEA Agent - CalTrans


A modern day look at America's war on drugs told through four separate stories that are connected in one way or another. A conservative judge who's just been appointed as the US drug czar learns that his teenage honor student daughter is a drug addict. A beautiful trophy wife struggles to save her wealthy husband's drug business, while two DEA agents protect a witness with inside knowledge of the spouse's business. In Mexico, a slightly corrupt, yet dedicated cop struggles with his conscience when he learns that his new boss may not be the anti-drug official he made himself out to be. Written by <MonkeyKingMA@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


No One Gets Away Clean


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

5 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Traffik  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,517,549 (USA) (5 January 2001)


$124,107,476 (USA) (6 July 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Every scene that takes place in Tijuana is shot with a hand-held camera. See more »


At one point on the movie Manolo Sanchez says "castiga a mi" instead of "castigame a mi". No native-Spanish-speaker would make this mistake. See more »


[first lines]
Javier Rodriguez: [in Spanish] Last night I had an ugly nightmare.
Manolo Sanchez: [in Spanish] Oh yeah? What happened, man?
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits except for the film's title in the lower left corner. See more »


Referenced in Face Off: Creature Carnage (2014) See more »


Going Under (Love & Insanity Dub) - K&D Sessions
Written by Glyn Bush, Richard Whittingham and Patrick Plummer
Performed by Rockers Hi-Fi
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc./Warner Music Company
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

the best american film of 2000
20 January 2001 | by (roswell, georgia) – See all my reviews

Traffic is an incredible movie. The director, Steven Soderbergh (sex, lies and videotape, out of sight, erin brockovich, etc...) has created a film that combines elements of Hollywood and independent filmmaking. On one hand, he has created an epic that has a very wide scope and has used some famous Hollywood actors. On the other hand, as the cameraman for the film, he has shot it with a handheld camera and and makes the film visually very different from traditional films. He presents the drug war in the United States from three perspectives. The first is of a police officer (superbly played by Benicio del Toro)in Tijuana struggling with the difficult situations that such a job creates in the center of drug trafficking from Mexico to the United States. Catherine Zeta Jones plays the wife of the leader of a drug cartel in San Diego who gets arrested. Once naive about his business, she takes charge of the operations. The third story deals with the appointment of conservative Ohio Supreme Court justice Robert Wakefield, played by Michael Douglas, to the post of drug czar. This occurs while his daughter Caroline, portrayed emotionally by Erika Christensen starts descending into a world of drugs thanks to her boyfriend Seth Abrahams. (Topher Grace from "That 70's Show" plays Seth) These three stories are distinguishable visually. The Tijuana story is shot with different tones of yellow, giving everything that goes on in the story a feel similar to that of a hot desert. The San Diego story has warm soft colors, representing Helena Ayala's (Catherine Zeta Jones' character) once peaceful social soccer mom life. Finally, Cincinatti and Washington, D.C., the cities where the story of the drug czar takes place is shot in a cold blue, giving it an emotionless feel. Despite the importance of the visuals, what makes this film that much better is the fact that Soderbergh does not moralize. There is not an anti-drug stance but there is also not a strong advocacy of legalization. Traffic shows a problem with no current solution. The viewer has to decide for himself. 10/10

20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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