If you are currently discovering Barry Seal on Netflix, you may know that Tom Cruise is not the first actor to play this pilot turned drug trafficker for the Medellin Cartel. More than 25 years before Doug Liman’s film, in 1991, a feature film was already devoted to this criminal returned by the DEA to infiltrate the world of Colombian dealers.
In 1991, HBO produced a TV movie featuring the character of Barry Seal. Entitled The Infiltration Strategy, it is also based on the true story of this drug trafficker pilot. It shows Seal’s arrest by the DEA and how he’s going to double-play and turn against the cartel. Thanks to him, the DEA collects proof (photo in support) of the links between Medellin and Pablo Escobar. Once the operation is over, Seal is released but not sufficiently protected by the government, he is shot dead by mysterious assassins.
The film is directed by Roger Young, a regular at television staging and true stories, having just completed Murder in Mississippi or Held Hostage: The Sis and Jerry Levin Story, both adapted from real events. Dennis Hopper plays Barry Seal opposite Robert Carradine, Richard Jenkins and Danny Trejo.
The photography and music for the TV movie were nominated for the 1992 Emmy Awards.
“Barry Seal: American Traffic”, currently on Netflix: