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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)
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Popularity
1,723 ( 589)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 70 wins & 86 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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:

No One Gets 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 »
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Details

Country:

USA | Mexico | Germany

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Traffik See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$184,725, 31 December 2000

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the first day of production of Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) - Steven Soderbergh's first film - the producers of that movie sent a telegram to Soderbergh. They teased him good-naturedly, telling him they'd heard reports he "couldn't direct traffic". Twelve years later, Soderbergh won an Oscar - for directing "Traffic". See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, when they discover the drug on the truck, the guy wearing a hat is handcuffed, but when they're stopped by General Salazar, his handcuffs are gone. 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 The Oscars (2016) 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

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User Reviews

Involving, informative and unbiased look at the drug problem
8 June 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In Mexico Officer Javier Rodriquez Rodriquez is stuck in the middel of a country where the drug dealers and the police work hand in hand and murder is rife. In the USA the head of one of the cartels Javier is trying to close is taken to court by the DEA who have an informant (Eduardo Ruiz) in the custody of Agents Montel Gordon and Ray Castro, leaving his wife, Helena, to take care of his business. Over all this a new drug czar is appointed who begins to find that the war on drugs is not as simple as it seems and that it is a war raged in his own home.

Based on the channel 4 series Traffik this is an open-minded intelligent look at the war on drugs. Looking at the problem across several interlinking stories allows us to hear everyone's side – to see the internal problems in Mexico, to see the futility of the DEA's actions even to see the scope of the problem facing the US political machine as it tries to fight a war against the drugs trade on all sides. The stories are told with out over doing it – action happens without pomp or fanfare, explosions happen in silence, killings are brutal, swift and final. This is not an action movie. The thoughtful nature means the film moves slowly and, if you're not used to following stories then it may frustrate you. However those wishing something to get you thinking, during and after the film should be rewarded.

The film is intelligent far beyond the subject matter. The direction and editing is perfect. The scenes in Mexico are all yellow and washed out – giving a desolate feeling, the scenes in political America are given a blue hue to give a colder, detached feel to the business while the scenes with the DEA are noticeably bright and realistic. This is typical of the intelligence put into the film – it rewards you the more you watch it. The casting is another example of how right the film is.

Del Toro is perfect – he gets the moodiness spot on but also has a fun side to his character. Cheadle and Guzman are as good as they always are and play off each other well – they have an element of the `buddy cop' couple without becoming caricatures. Douglas is really good – how often can you say that!? His young wife is also very good – I expected her to be the weak link but she gave a good performance. These are the main players but really the cast is deep in quality from those that have bigger roles (Quaid, Bratt, Miguel Ferrer) to those that essentially have only a few lines (Albert Finney, Peter Riegert).

The strength of the film is that it lets you work it out yourself. It never goes one way or the other on the drugs issue and leaves you to decide for yourself what should happen. This is rare in an `issue' film and it should be commended. The film allows long silences for us to think but yet is never boring or dull.

Overall this is a really good film. It is shorter and more polished than the mini-series it came from, but it is very intelligently done and is though-provoking. Anyone who thinks they are sure of their stance on drugs should watch this – no matter what you think this will highlight the fact that it is a complex problem to which there is no simple solution. Excellent.


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