Is the movie Taken based on a true story?

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Taken is a famous movie directed by Luc Besson, released in 2008 and starring Liam Neeson. It’s mostly famous because of the line that the character interpreted by Liam Neeson says at the phone, but in general is a revenge action movie quite nice to watch. And one of the questions that viewers ask themselves after watching is: is it a true story? And in general, how accurate is the plot and the events described in the movie. In this article we will delve into all these questions.

What is the famous line that Liam Neeson says in Taken?

The line is so famous that in some countries it even gave the translated title to the movie. It’s what Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) says at the phone to the people who just kidnapped his daughter, threatening them. This is the famous line:

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.
If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you.
But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” 

Below you can find the original scene from the movie. The line above is at the end of the scene:

Taken 1- Kidnapping Scene

Is Taken based on a true story?

For years people believed that there was a true story behind it, but it came out as a false information. In fact, the movie is not based on a specific true story.

After the release of the movie, a man named William G. Hillar claimed to be a retired Colonel who had his daughter kidnapped, sold as a sex slave and then killed. He managed to trick everybody in this story, but it was all made up.

Nevertheless, human trafficking is of course something real. And it works in a very similar way to the one depicted in the movie.

How accurate is the movie Taken?

It’s true, there are criminal organizations that kidnap people, mainly kids and young girls, and throw them into the prostitution world, or even worse sell them. And there are people who are willing to buy girls and children as sex slaves. This was true when the movie was shot, and it’s still true today, where this kind of trafficking takes place mainly in the dark web.

The typical victim of this crime are vulnerable people, perhaps living far from their family, with economic troubles, and preferrably new in the place where they live.

Also the choice of Albania as the originating country of the gang who manages human trafficking is relevant: Eastern Europe is still one of the places where this crime is quite developed, and Albanian mafia is sadly known for this kind of crime.

The move shows the gang picking two rich girls coming from United States and just landed in Paris, as tourists. Maybe in real life, two girls like them are not the perfect target for human trafficking, since they probably have behind a close family that could trigger serious investigations. But that would be the only part of the movie that could differ from what typically happens in real life.

How realistic is the movie Taken?

Short answer: despite not based on a specific true story, the movie Taken is very realistic. Events like the ones depicted in the movie really happen. And as a final confirmation, some years after the movie was released, a true story was unveiled from a Texas businessman, who managed to track down his daughter, who was kidnapped and lured to sex trade. The full story is told by Irish Central in this article.

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