Box art for Traffic



It's the high-stakes, high-risk world of the drug trade as seen through a well-blended mix of interrelated stories.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Tons of drug use, violence, and depressing stories.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that drug abuse, drug smuggling, and the United States' war on drugs are the central themes of Traffic, a movie that condemns instead of glamorizes drugs yet graphically shows scenes of users doing drugs and drug-related violence. The former is perhaps most disturbing in several scenes of teenagers having afterschool parties in their parent-less homes, smoking pot, drinking, taking pills and (eventually) smoking heroin. One teen has an overdose and stops breathing. Two young characters eventually take to shooting heroin; all of this is graphically depicted onscreen. In addition to the disturbing sexual scenes there are numerous scenes of brutal, gory violence: point-blank shootings, torture, execution-style murder, a scary guy threatens a pregnant woman with the murder of her young child, and so on. Traffic is very strong stuff and may make drugs look appealing to teens; watch with kids if they watch at all.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about drugs, both their own views on individual drug use and the impact that the drug business has on the community and the country. Did the movie make you feel differently about the role that illegal drugs play in the lives of people around us? When the judge asks the staff for new ideas, the response is silence. What should the next person to hold the anti-drug czar job do?
  • What is the effect of the violence in this film? Does it underscore the film's messages or is it gratuitous?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Traffic reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The promise of Sex, Lies, and Videotape has been fulfilled.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Friday, April 27, 2007

Fresh: With Traffic, his most ambitious and complex film to date, Soderbergh again proves himself one of our most inventive filmmakers.

- Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, January 5, 2001

Fresh: Smart, risky entertainment.

- Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle, Friday, January 5, 2001

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Traffic is an astounding, well acted film. Traffic tells the story of America's war on drugs. Judge Robert Wakefield played by Michael Douglas has been appointed the head of the President's of National Drug Control. The war on drugs gets pretty personal for Wakefield as his daughter starts experimenting with cocaine, and she soon develops a drug addiction. Traffic does an amazing job of portraying the drug war and overall cost of what drugs can do to a loved one. The film provides a clear view of the danger of drugs and also makes you realize what the cost is. Steven Soderbergh has assembled a phenomenal cast of actors that elevates the film tremendously. With such a cast at hand, Soderbergh has crafted quite an intriguing film. Traffic is one of the most captivating films about the war on drugs. As I've previously said twice in the review, the film examines what drugs do to kids, and also it counteracts with the ongoing war on drugs. Which the film does very well. It shows the cost of drug abuse, and what the government try to do to stop the drug lords from importing into the states. This is not an exciting action packed film that some may think it may be. Traffic is overall a suspenseful, thrilling film thats very well acted and told. Steven Soderbergh has crafted a unique film and it sends a very important message.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Thursday, September 16, 2010

4 stars

I saw this in the theater a couple of lifetimes ago, and it's stuck in my head ever since. I watched it again the other day, and was again struck by how well the stories interweave, the film's emotional pull, and the quality of the acting.

- janna, Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3 stars

You may think Dennis Quaid is in this movie, but no. he is not. actually, just to be 100% that hes not in it, during the part where Zeta-Jones is leaving court for the first time, close your eyes for like 7 seconds and then open them when you hear Del Toro's voice. your welcome.

- ColinCostigan8590, Monday, June 7, 2010