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57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As seen on Masterpiece Theatre

Remastered 20th Anniversary Edition

Twenty years after this six-part British miniseries won an International Emmy®, a newly remastered version brings it to life more vividly than ever before. This riveting thriller also inspired Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar®-winning film.

Filmed on location in Pakistan, Hamburg, and London, Traffik lays bare the international drug trade by tracing three intersecting lives: Jack, a British government minister who finds the scourge of heroin striking too close to home; Helen, a woman who embarks on a daring survival strategy after her husband’s arrest; and Fazal, a Pakistani peasant who works for a menacing drug lord. Starring Bill Paterson (Little Dorrit, Smiley’s People), Lindsay Duncan (Rome, Under the Tuscan Sun), and Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall) in her extraordinary film debut.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE interview with writer Simon Moore and producer Brian Eastman, extended U.K. broadcast version of episode 6, photo gallery, production notes, and cast filmographies.

Though it's less stylish than Steven Soderbergh's big-screen version, the original miniseries Traffik displays more nuance and detail than the shorter, star-laden Oscar-winning remake. Writer Simon Moore's expansive script takes in more layers of the drug trade -- from the journalists who cover it and the dirt-poor farmers whose labor powers it to the street dealers who are far more prevalent than the preppie thrill-seekers of Soderbergh's version. Although the film is shot in a naturalistic palette, Traffik is not without a certain visual flair; the sequences set in Pakistan in particular introduce viewers forcefully to the mixture of beauty and squalor that serves as a backdrop to the genesis of narcotics production. Traffic does little to question the moral rightness of the American "war on drugs," but Traffik, by highlighting the economic and cultural realities of the developing world, paints a less cut-and-dry portrait of this international phenomenon. Bill Paterson's Jack Lithgow proves a less familiar, more human protagonist than Michael Douglas' grand standing drug czar, while Linda Bassett gets more to work with than Amy Irving does in the part of the government official's wife. All of the principals, in fact, acquit themselves admirably even when the writing reveals its television origins. It doesn't have the sparkle of a Hollywood showpiece, but in its place we get a script with a lot more gray areas, and a glimpse at the drug trade half a world away from our own backyard. In fact, the European and South Asian settings guarantee that Traffik will seem fresh even to rabid fans of the celebrated Traffic. ~ Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Paterson, Lindsay Duncan, Fritz Müller-Scherz, Jamal Shah, Talat Hussain
  • Producers: Peter Ansorge
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009
  • Run Time: 315 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001Y44DHW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,183 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "TRAFFIK 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Vale-Allen VINE VOICE on June 9, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Traffik is one of the most memorable viewing experiences I've ever had. Not only does it give a very clear view of the economic necessity that is the driving force in the lives of the people who cultivate the poppy fields, but it also gives sharply focused insights into how ill-informed politicians make hay on a hot-potato issue. It's only when the effects of drug abuse come home--to Bill Paterson, the splendid Scottish actor who plays a member of parliament whose daughter falls victim to addiction, and to Lindsay Duncan, the wife of the importer--that we see the lengths people will go to, for all sorts of reasons, to engage in the traffic, going one way or the other. Duncan is extraordinary in this series; her transformation from innocent wife to determined conspirator is stunning. This, the original Traffik, makes the film version look small and choppy and incoherent. Benicio Del Toro's performance in the film is, without doubt, a fine one. But when it takes a viewer at least half the movie to figure out who the good and bad guys are, you've wasted a lot of time. Traffik doesn't waste a single frame. It's a breathtaking ride from start to finish and leaves the film version in the dust.
If you saw the movie and thought it was okay, see the TV series and you'll see something great. Years after the fact, there are scenes in the mini-series that will come back to haunt you. This is a profoundly affecting, deeply compelling drama.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J Perior on January 22, 2002
Format: DVD
I am a Los Angeles writer and filmmaker that was eager to see the style and magnitude of Traffic when it was released. I found it tragic, powerful and well made with reservations toward the characterization of Michael Douglas and Julia Ormond. I was completely unaware of Traffik. Sometime later Traffik was released (or re-released) on PBS and I sat amazed at the identical plots and characters except I knew I was watching the original and so far superior I was astonished that Traffic dared show its face. On the night of the Academy awards all from Traffic received their awards lauding one another and not a mention of the creative source from which they had drawn...and quartered.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Hamood Rehman on July 4, 2004
Format: DVD
I was one of the few people in the world who watched this mini-series before the Hollywood production. I must admit the Hollywood version was excellent as well, considering the fact that it didn't have time to build up on characters. This miniseries is one of the most gripping and well-made productions ever. Although it is six hours long, you don't feel that it is and don't even remember looking at the clock while watching it. The lengths at which the production team has gone through to make sure everything looks authentic is admirable. This mini-series was filmed at a time when Pakistan was struggling with its poppy production. I'm glad to say that Pakistan has successfully rooted out the poppy cultivation within its borders, thanks to efforts made by this movie and the like. However, Afghanistan has more than made up for the loss.
Overall, an excellent movie, except for a few overdone scenes, especially the last dramatic climactic scene.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John on April 15, 2004
Format: DVD
Nothing much to add, apart from saying that the region 2 release has been superbly produced, so if you want to avoid the poor US market adaptation and have a multi region player, purchase the region 2 version from Amazon UK.
It was really dumb to change the original subtitling to dubbing.
If you can take it raw, watch Traffik. If you can't, watch the movie.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Farrell on April 22, 2004
Format: DVD
"Traffik" written by Simon Moore and directed by Alastair Reid is a milestone in recent British television history. It is a beautifully crafted and terrifying vision of the international drugs trade and the effect this trade has on different individuals. It destroys the myth from a Western European viewpoint that heroin begins and ends its life in areas of urban decay and dislocation and gives us an unemotional snapshot of the whole process of its production.
Steven Soderbergh's US adaptation was always going to fail to reach the heights of its British counterpart (although it was a highly worthy effort), and an issue and narrative of this scale needed six hours (at least) to give it gravitas. Each character in "Traffik" is well developed and expertly played: Bill Patterson's Jack Lithgow, the stubborn drugs czar who fails to comprehend the problem he is tasked with solving while simultaneously watching his college educated daughter (Julia Ormond) slip further into heroin addiction; Lindsay Duncan as a drug importer's wife who plays the Lady Macbeth role much more effectively than Catherine Zeta Jones in "Traffic"; Jamal Shah as Fazal, opium farmer turned heroin producer and the closest thing the audience has to having it's conscience openly voiced; Fritz Muller Scherz's single minded Hamburg cop, out to bust the suppliers and dealers no matter what the cost.
One of the main strengths of this mini series is that in never uses too many quick emotional taglines. The viewer is sucked into the storyline of each character and is constantly forced to re-assess their previous assumptions. Fazal is a particularly good example of this.
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