7.6/10
185,220
888 user 229 critic

Traffic (2000)

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.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Writers:

Simon Moore (miniseries Traffik), Stephen Gaghan (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
1,880 ( 254)

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 4 Oscars. Another 69 wins & 85 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

21 Grams (2003)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother, and a born-again ex-con.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Stars: Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts
Out of Sight (1998)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A career bank robber breaks out of jail, and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a U.S. Marshal he has kidnapped.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Benicio Del Toro ... Javier Rodriguez
Jacob Vargas ... Manolo Sanchez
Andrew Chavez Andrew Chavez ... Desert Truck Driver
Michael Saucedo ... Desert Truck Driver
Tomas Milian ... General Arturo Salazar
Jose Yenque ... Salazar Soldier / The Torturer
Emilio Rivera ... Salazar Soldier #2
Michael O'Neill ... Lawyer Rodman
Michael Douglas ... Robert Wakefield
Russell G. Jones ... Clerk
Lorene Hetherington Lorene Hetherington ... State Capitol Reporter #1
Eric Collins Eric Collins ... State Capitol Reporter #2
Beau Holden ... DEA Agent - CalTrans
Peter Stader Peter Stader ... DEA Agent - CalTrans
James Lew ... DEA Agent - CalTrans
Edit

Storyline

An intertwined drama about the United States' war on drugs, seen through the eyes of a once conservative judge, now newly-appointed drug czar, his heroin-addicted daughter, two DEA agents, a jailed drug kingpin's wife, and a Mexican cop who begins to question his boss's motives.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's a dirty, dirty war! And no one comes away clean See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Traffik See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$184,725, 27 December 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$124,115,725

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$207,515,725
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The third time Steven Bauer plays a drug dealer. He did so before in Scarface (1983) and in the television drama, Breaking Bad. See more »

Goofs

When Judge Wakefield and his wife talk to their daughter after she is released from jail, the living room walls are painted mocha brown. Two to 3 minutes into the scene, the walls are clearly green in color. See more »

Quotes

[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

Master of the 4-string Electric Bassius O' Phellius - Flea See more »

Alternate Versions

The European DVD features 24 deleted scenes, including:
  • A scene at Manolo's house. Manolo is paranoid that the Cartel is after him
  • An extended scene between Manolo and Javier in the car, where Javier asks Manolo to keep his mouth shut about the Cartel
  • The assassin buying some hi-tech gadgets, including a cell-phone that can not be tapped (probably the one he later uses to communicate with Helena during his assassination attempt)
  • A scene where Judge Wakefield and Carlos Ayala's defence attorney meet at the congress party, showing that the two are old friends
  • A sequence of Helena going to a fancy party
  • An extended scene between Helena and Arnie Metzger
  • Two short scenes involving Manolo and Javier bringing Salma Hayek to the drug lord
  • An alternate scene of Helena visiting Carlos in prison
  • A scene where Helena tries to pawn her paintings
  • A scene where Helena discusses something over her cell-phone
  • An alternate sequence of Judge Wakefield looking for Caroline, involving Seth.
  • A scene where Helena asks Arnie to introduce her to the Obregón Cartel
  • A scene where Helena visits the factory where the cocaine dolls are made
  • A scene where Judge Wakefield searches Caroline's room for drugs, finding some in her diary
  • Three scenes involving Helena having to smuggle drugs into the US, as a test for the Obregón Cartel. She ends up not doing it.
  • Helena meeting the Obregón assassin at the playground
  • Judge Wakefield taking a stoned Caroline home after he found her. She tells him that she did it all because of a 'school assignment'.
  • Javier meeting Judge Wakefield after the drug bust
  • Javier meeting with Obregón, asking him for lights at baseball fields. He agrees.
  • Gordon sitting in the surveillance van in front of the Ayala residence with his new partner, listening to Carlos telling someone over the phone that they are 'back in business' and 'completely untouchable'
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sunshine State (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

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 »

User Reviews

 
Traffic delivers a powerful message with impeccable flair.
9 January 2001 | by bigroggesSee all my reviews

Early in the year 2000, director Steven Soderbergh's film, Erin Brokovich, sizzled at the box office (bringing in over $130 million) while receiving critical acclaim. Now, with the release of his latest film, Traffic, Soderbergh stands to earn Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Picture for both of these movies. It's no wonder, either, as Traffic is one of the most gripping films to hit theatres in 2000.

Traffic takes on the complex issues involved with the war on drugs in the United States and Mexico from the view of these nations as a whole to the very personal level. In the film, three stories unfold to illustrate the near impossibility of ever stopping the drug trade, despite the billion dollars that the US spends each year for just that cause. While the tales are related, the characters rarely, if ever, cross paths with one another. This is one of the elements that allows Soderbergh to deliver his message so effectively.

The first story features Benicio Del Toro as Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez. A cop in Baja, Mexico, he enforces the law and allows the wheels to be greased from time to time. After pulling off a huge drug bust on the Juarez drug cartel, the powerful General Salazar swoops in to confiscate all of the drugs and the credit. Later, Javier and his partner are recruited by Salazar to fight the war on drugs by aiding him in bringing down the Obregon cartel that has plagued Tijuana for some time.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Judge Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) of the Ohio Supreme Court is about to be appointed by the President as the nation's new leader in the drug war. For the judge, the drug war is about to become more personal than he could ever have imagined.

In San Diego, Monty (Don Cheadle) and Ray (Luis Guzman) are two federal agents perpetrating a drug bust on a slimy drug supplier named Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer). The events that follow lead them up the drug food chain to Carlos Ayala, a well-to-do suburban man who has been smuggling illegal drugs into the country from Mexico. His arrest leaves his pregnant wife, Helena (Katherine Zeta-Jones, who was really pregnant during the film), to fend for herself while taking care of their son, court costs, and a $3 million dollar debt to the drug lords in Mexico.

Traffic, written by Simon Moore (the writer for the British miniseries, Traffik, upon which this script is based), is superbly crafted and woven. We learn just enough about each character to give us some insight into their motives for the courses they choose to follow. By the films end, matters are not neatly wrapped up; there is not a fairy tale ending. This simply adds to the realism of the issues presented within the movie. Furthermore, the intertwining stories drive home the fact that drugs are closer to you than you think.

The script is bolstered by the phenomenal, ensemble cast. Zeta-Jones and Del Toro have both received Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Actor in a drama for their roles in this film. Don Cheadle is superb in his role. Michael Douglas gives his usual performance while Erika Christensen does a good job as his daughter. Topher Grace (of TV's That 70's Show) is excellent as her upper-class, druggie boyfriend. Dennis Quid's character, while played adequately, is underused.

The stories were shot using various filters and lenses, neatly separating them as the film went from one to another and adding to the viewing pleasure of the movie. Mexico is filmed through a hand held camera and yellow lens to give it a dry, grainy, shaky look that heightens the feel of unrest involved with Del Toro's situation. Douglas' story is initially filmed in a hue of solemn, comforting blue. Zeta-Jones' story is filmed without the use of lenses, suggesting that her situation and actions are the most realistic and achievable of all those presented.

Despite some dialogue that spouts off statistics and seems a bit preachy, Traffic ranks among the top ten films of 2000, surpassing even Soderbergh's other venture, Erin Brokovich. Don't be surprised if this film picks up the Oscar for Best Picture.

By film's end, the message is clear and powerful. The fight against drugs is a long, uphill battle, but it is better than no battle at all.


58 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 888 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed