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German title Traitor
Original title Traitor
Country of production USA
Original language English, Arabic
Year of publication 2008
Length 114[1]Minutes
Age rating FSK 16[2]
Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Script Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Production Don Cheadle,
David Hoberman,
Todd Lieberman,
Jeffrey Silver
Music Mark Kilian
Camera James Michael Muro
Edited by Billy Fox
  • Don Cheadle: Samir Horn
  • Guy Pearce: Roy Clayton
  • Said Taghmaoui: Omar
  • Jeff Daniels: Carter
  • Neal McDonough: Max Archer
  • Archie Panjabi: Chandra Dawkin
  • Raad Rawi: Nathir

Traitor is a 2008 American thriller film directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who also wrote the screenplay.


FBI agents Roy Clayton and Max Archer investigate a terrorist network around wanted leader Nathir and come across former US explosives expert Samir Horn, whom they initially believe to be a non-fanatical arms dealer. Horn’s trail is lost, however, after he escapes from a prison in Yemen along with terrorists around Nathir’s right-hand man Omar. Via a bombing in Nice, an operation in London and planned attacks in the USA, the evidence thickens for the FBI that with Horn they are facing a big fish of the far-flung Islamist terrorist network. Through Omar, the latter meets first Fareed and then Nathir, the two leaders of the network. Nathir orders Horn to provide explosives to fifty “sleepers” living in the United States. On Thanksgiving Day, they are supposed to commit suicide bombings on long-distance buses as passengers.

However, Horn’s irregular meetings with Carter of the CIA, which reveal his activity as a double agent, escape the FBI agents. When Carter is shot by the incoming Omar at one of these meetings, the situation for Horn seems increasingly hopeless. However, he manages to get a message to Clayton about his and Omar’s escape route after the attacks. The latter, after investigating the Nice bombing, realizes that Horn is an undercover agent for the CIA. Aboard a freighter that Horn is to take from Halifax to Marseilles with Omar, Fareed and Nathir, Horn manages to shoot Fareed and Nathir. Omar is killed by the police officers alerted by the FBI and Horn is wounded by a shot in the shoulder. It turns out that Horn ordered all the assassins onto a single bus, so there is no innocent victim except the driver in the explosion. After recovering, Horn retires from the “business” for good.



The idea for the film came to Steve Martin during the filming of House Overhead in 2002.[3]

The project was presented to potential buyers of the distribution rights at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2007.[4]

Screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff met with various intelligence officials, political observers, as well as other specialists to make the script as authentic as possible.[3] After the originally intended director left the project, Nachmanoff took over as director.[3] Matthew McConaughey was intended for the role of agent Roy Clayton, which was eventually given to Guy Pearce.[3]

The film was shot in Chicago, in Washington, D.C., in Toronto, in Hamilton, in London, in Marseille, and in Morocco starting in September 2007.[5][6] The filming was done within 48 days in 17 cities on three continents.[3]

An allusion to the film’s title Traitor(engl. Verräter, frz traître) can be found in the scene in which Samir buys an apple at the market in Marseille and the word traiteur can be seen in the background.[3]


It was screened at the Downtown Film Festival in Los Angeles on August 5, 2008.[1] The film opened in theaters in the United States on August 27, 2008.[7] On 26 June 2009, the film was released on DVD in Germany by Universum Film GmbH with FSK-16 clearance.[7]

Box office results

The film’s budget was estimated at US$22 million.[6] In its opening weekend, the film grossed over US$10 million in the US.[6] In total, the film grossed over US$23.5 million in the US.[6]

German dubbed version

The German dubbing was done by Film- & Fernseh-Synchron in Munich and Berlin.[8] The dialogue book was written by Marina Köhler, who also directed the dubbing.[8]

Cast German speaker[8] Roll
Jeff Daniels Wolfgang Condrus Carter
Archie Panjabi Elisabeth von Koch Chandra Dawkin
Alexandra Castillo Tatjana Pokorny Dark haired woman
Alyy Khan Manou Lubowski Fareed Mansour
Neal McDonough Götz Otto Max Archer
Saïd Taghmaoui Khadem Saba Peyman Omar
Guy Pearce Philipp Moog Roy Clayton
Don Cheadle Dietmar Wunder Samir Horn


The Encyclopedia of International Film review wrote that Traitor is a “solid thriller whose suspense relies more on classically staged action and careful development of the characters and their relationships with each other than on effects. [It] is also convincing for its nuanced handling of clashing worldviews.”.[9]

Todd McCarthy wrote in Variety magazine on August 18, 2008, that the “provocative political thriller” was reminiscent of Syriana in placing the action in locations around the world (“Reminiscent of “Syriana” in its globe-hopping approach”) – it skillfully used these locations. The film offers suspense and some gripping scenes.[1]


In 2008, Don Cheadle was nominated in the Best Actor category at the Black Reel Awards, while Saïd Taghmaoui received a nomination in the Best Breakthrough Performance category, and Todd Lieberman, Don Cheadle, David Hoberman, and Jeffrey Silver were nominated in the Best Film category.[10] Don Cheadle was nominated in the Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture category at the 2009 Image Awards.[10] The film received a nomination at the Saturn Awards in the category Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film.[10]

Individual references

  1. a b c Film review by Todd McCarthy(Memento of the Originals august 20, 2008 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this notice.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/, retrieved 19 August 2008
  2. Release certificate for Traitor. Voluntary Self-Regulation of the Motion Picture Industry, April 2009 (PDF; review number: 117 860 DVD).
  3. a b c d e f Internet Movie Database: background information, retrieved January 2, 2013
  4. Daniels, McDonough cast in ‘Traitor’ (Memento of Originals june 4, 2009 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and has not been checked yet. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this notice.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/ in Variety, September 5, 2007, retrieved August 19, 2008
  5. Internet Movie Database: film locations, retrieved 19 August 2008
  6. a b c d Internet Movie Database: budget and box office receipts, retrieved January 2, 2012
  7. a b Internet Movie Database: release dates, retrieved 19 August 2008
  8. a b c Traitor.In: Deutsche Synchronkartei, retrieved January 2, 2013.
  9. Traitor. In: encyclopediaof international film. Filmdienst, retrieved 5 May 2021.
  10. a b c Internet Movie Database: nominations and awards, retrieved January 2, 2013

Web links

  • Traitor in the Internet Movie Database (english)
  • Traitor at Rotten Tomatoes (english)
  • Traitor at Metacritic (english)