With Contraband being released on Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet on the 16th, we’ve decided to take a look at some other films that have given us the best insights into the slick underground world of international smugglers.
Contraband explores the cutthroat world of smuggling as Mark Wahlberg plays a legendary ex- smuggler forced back into running contraband following his brother-in-law’s botched drug deal. Here are some of the most memorable smuggling films.
- Scarface (1983)
Al Pacino stars in the legendary movie as Tony Montana, known as Scarface to his enemies.
He brought himself up from the Cuban slums to make it as the most feared drug dealer in America. Montana and his close friend, Manny Ray, build a strong drug smuggling empire in Miami.
- Brokendown Palace (1999)
Contraband star Kate Beckinsale and Claire Danes star as two new high school graduates who head to Thailand for vacation. They meet a good-looking Australian who persuades them to come along to Hong Kong at his expense.
Unbeknownst to them, the girls are set up as drug mules and get caught with a suitcase full of heroin at the Bangkok airport.
The man tipped off the customs guards to use the girls’ arrests as distractions to get his other mules to smuggle drugs though.
- Traffic (2000)
The film revolves around separate stories that are connected in one way or another. A conservative politician and the US drug czar (Michael Douglas) learns that his daughter is a drug addict.
A wife struggles to save her husband's drug business, while two DEA agents protect a witness with inside knowledge of her husband’s business.
In Mexico, a corrupt, yet dedicated cop struggles with the idea that his boss may not be the anti-drug official he made himself out to be. This multi-character drama shows the effects of international drug smuggling on all fronts.
- Blow (2001)
Johnny Depp stars in the true story of George Jung, the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. George’s family went bankrupt when he was young. Determined to not let that happen to him, George started to deal marijuana.
After becoming a hit in California for selling pot, he went to jail and found out about the wonders of cocaine. As a result, when released, he became rich by smuggling cocaine to America.
- The Italian Job (2003)
In Venice, Italy, Mark Wahlberg stars as a team member of expert thieves as they pull off a daring task of smuggling of 35 million dollars in bars of gold right from underneath the noses of the Italian Police and the Mafia.
One of the thieves betrays his team and takes the gold for himself. A year later, in Los Angeles, the team members create a smart and scheming plan to steal back the gold and get their revenge on the traitor.
- Maria Full of Grace (2004)
Maria Alvarez (Catalina Sandino Moreno) is a young woman living in poverty-stricken Columbia. Desperately needing to make money for her family, she takes a job from a drug lord who hires young women to serve as mules to smuggle heroin into the United States.
She is offered 5,000 dollars to swallow pellets full of drugs and keep them in her stomach until she gets to the U.S., and then allow them to exit through her digestive system upon her arrival to complete the smuggling job.
- Blood Diamond (2006)
The film stars Leonardo DiCapprio as Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler looking for a big score to make him the money he needs to leave Africa for good.
When he meets Solomon Vandy, an African diamond miner played by Djimon Hounsou, his conscience is tested against his greed as he tries to help Vandy in retrieving the diamond and smuggling it out of Africa.
- Cocaine Cowboys (2006)
This documentary is based on the true story of how Miami became the drug, murder and cash capital of the United States, told by the people who made it all happen.
Built around interviews with Jon Roberts, Mickey Munday, and Jorge “Rivi” Ayala the film tells the story of when the 1980s ruthless Colombian cocaine tycoon invaded Miami with massive drug smuggling.
- Miami Vice (2006)
Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) are two police detectives working undercover in Florida. Their latest assignment is to get the goods on a local drug top-dog whose men are believed to be responsible for recent murders.
In order to get inside the operation, Tubbs and Crockett pose as powerboat racers willing to use their talents to drive drug-smuggling ships.
- American Gangster (2007)
Following the death of his employer and mentor, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) establishes himself as the number one smuggler of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan.
He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in Bangkok and he comes up with a unique way of smuggling the drugs into the United States.
- We Own the Night (2007)
As dedicated NYPD cops Joseph Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg) and his father, Burt (Robert Duvall) prepare to take on a newly powerful and dangerous Russian drug smuggler, they never thought they would be turning to Joseph's black sheep brother, Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix) for help to catch him.
When the Russian mafia declares war against the NYPD, Bobby is forced to choose between his life of luxury and family.
- The Shepherd: Border Patrol (2008)
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as an ex-cop turned border patrol guard who is battling ex-navy seals that are smuggling drugs from Mexico to America.
When he learns that a traitor from the American Special Forces unit made a plan to smuggle $35 million worth of heroin into the United States, he sets out to single-handedly take down the smuggling cartel.
- Pineapple Express (2008)
The more comical film on the list is about a Process server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) who visits drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) to purchase a rare new form of marijuana called Pineapple Express.
Dale leaves the Pineapple Express at a scene where he witnesses a murder by a corrupt cop and city’s most dangerous drug smuggler. When the Pineapple Express gets traced back to him, Dale and Saul run for their lives and end up in middle of the dangerous drug smuggling world.
- Mr. Nice (2010)
Rhys Ifans plays the role based on the true story of Howard Marks, an elite British drug smuggler. The Oxford graduate and teacher abandoned the education system to become one of the world’s most powerful and influential drug dealers in the 1960s and 1970s.
He eventually got caught and was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for drug smuggling.
- The Guard (2011)
Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), an unorthodox Irish policeman, investigates a seemingly random murder when FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) arrives in Ireland to stop a large operation by an international drug-smuggling ring.
At first irritated by Gerry's approach, Everett is surprised by the guard’s cleverness as he connects the murder to the drug smuggling case.
- Contraband (2012)
Super-smuggler Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is called back into action for one last job to clear his brother’s debts and keep his young family safe.
The haul is counterfeit cash, the point of origin is Panama, the method is container ship, but the experience is all but predictable. Will Farraday’s last job work out?
Watch this for some great action, and ingenious smuggling techniques.
Contraband is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet on July 16th from Universal Pictures UK.