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The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom 

Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the ... See full synopsis »






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Series cast summary:
James M. Buchanan ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2007
Paul McHugh ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2007
Philip Mirowski ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2007
John Nash ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2007
Robert Spitzer ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2007
Jerome Wakefield ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2007
David Rosenhan ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Thomas Frank ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Elliott Abrams ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Stephen Byers ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Napoleon A. Chagnon ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Alain Enthoven ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Brian Ferguson ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Stuart Hall ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Antony Jay ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Robert Kavesh ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Yevgeny Kiselyov ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Michael Ledeen ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Arthur Levitt ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
John Major ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Robert Parry ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Tom Peters ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Kevin Phillips ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Madsen Pirie ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Robert Reich ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Robert Rubin ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Morton Schatzman ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Thomas Schelling ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Itzhak Sharav ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Clancy Sigal ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
James Strachan ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Friedrich von Hayek ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
R.D. Laing ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
John Maynard Smith ...  Himself 1 episode, 2007
Richard Dawkins ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Marc Summers ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Isaiah Berlin ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Kenneth Clark ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Malcolm Muggeridge ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Jean-Paul Sartre ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Jim Howard ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Alexander Haig ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Francis Fukuyama ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Jeffrey Sachs ...  Himself (archive footage) 1 episode, 2007
Tony Blair ...  Himself (archive footage) 3 episodes, 2007


Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the world. But if you step back and look at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.

Politicians promised to liberate us from the old dead hand of bureaucracy, but they have created an evermore controlling system of social management, driven by targets and numbers. Governments committed to freedom of choice have presided over a rise in inequality and a dramatic collapse in social mobility. And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to enforce freedom has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism. This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the Government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedom.

The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam ...

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis


Human beings will always betray you. You can only trust the numbers.









Release Date:

2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Западня: Что сталось с мечтой о свободе? See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(3 parts)



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Narrator: It was found Scientifically that there were actually only two groups of people who behaved rationally in all situations. One of those groups was the Economists themselves. The other was Psychopaths.
See more »


References Kopps (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

I didn't agree with all of it or even understand it all but it made me think and was engaging and interesting as a result
30 April 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

I missed The Power of Nightmares recently so this was my first experience of the films from Adam Curtis. Perhaps, one could say, trying to get used to his style while also trying to take in his cases for societal changes about self interest, market forces, drugs, management styles, genetic control, economics and God knows what. And well perhaps you would be right to say that because no matter how well structured the three part series is, it is still a real challenge to take in and digest one point before the next one comes along.

Of course this is not a bad thing because normally watching television is quite a vegetative state (and if anyone can vouch for that, it is me) so having something that forces you to put your brain in gear is not bad thing. This isn't the same as me saying that Curtis is totally correct in his points or that I completely belief the basis for all the theories and points of view put across here. The reviews of Power of Nightmares (for example) seem to be good when the reviewer agrees with the viewpoint and bad when the reverse is true. I find this a shame and I suspect that it will mostly be the same here because of course if you spend three hours nodding and going "preach brother" then you will no doubt have already decided that it is great series.

Personally I found the delivery and degree of research to be very impressive. The archive footage is mostly very good and the non-relevant use (eg old movies etc) is not overused and is mostly in context. In regards the research and structure of the thesis I cannot even imagine how it is done with a team of people who are all either on the very same word on the same page politically or are very well directed by the man at the top because the basis for the whole argument (not just specific points) is really well done and supported. I don't agree with all the points made or the roots of some of the social changes that Curtis suggests and I think that if you come to this series without any opinion or thoughts of your own then you are probably not in the right frame of mind to appreciate it because I found it more valuable as a tool to spark thoughts in my own head and question what I "know" and also question what I am being told in this series.

Of course the accusations of political slant will be all over this series as with the last and perhaps at some points there is a case to be answered because New Labour is regular target – although I do think this is more to do with the part they play within society of the last ten years rather than a deliberate attempt to drag them into everything. Unexpectedly for me, the main problem I had with it was how it tended to repeat some arguments and go over topics it had already covered but this was a minor quibble for me.

Overall then an interesting and engaging thesis on the nature of recent societal change and theory. It didn't all convince me and had bits that I did disagree with no matter how well structured the argument was but it did make me think, which can only be a good thing. I'm not saying I agreed with it all or that I understood it all, but it was an engaging series of films and certainly different from the rather sedentary documentaries that tend to be in the majority.

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