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The Wages of Fear (1953)
"Le salaire de la peur" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller  |  16 February 1955 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 31,424 users  
Reviews: 133 user | 114 critic

In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) (as H.G. Clouzot) , 1 more credit »
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Top 250 Movies #171 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
M. Jo
Folco Lulli ...
...
Bimba (as Peter Van Eyck)
...
Linda (as Vera Clouzot)
William Tubbs ...
Bill O'Brien
Darío Moreno ...
Hernandez (as Dario Moreno)
Jo Dest ...
Smerloff
Antonio Centa ...
Camp Chief (as Centa)
Luis De Lima ...
Bernardo
Grégoire Gromoff
Joseph Palau-Fabre
Faustini
Seguna
Darling Légitimus ...
(as Miss Darling)
Edit

Storyline

In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerin are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers and on the rough remote roads the slightest jolt can result in death. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The complete restored version of the 1953 French classic [reissue] See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | | | |

Release Date:

16 February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wages of Fear  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Henri-Georges Clouzot originally planned on shooting the film in Spain, but Yves Montand refused to work in Spain as long as fascist dictator Francisco Franco was in power. Filming took place instead in the south of France, near Saint-Gilles, in the Camargue. The village seen in the film was built from scratch. See more »

Goofs

Mario jumps out of the cab and runs back toward where the platform had just collapsed. Jo is hiding in the hills. With nobody in the cab, the engine stops as if someone had turned it off. See more »

Quotes

Dick: When I was a kid, I used to see men go off on this kind of jobs... and not come back. When they did, they were wrecks. Their hair had turned white and their hands were shaking like palsy! You don't know what fear is. But you'll see. It's catching, it's catching like small pox! And once you get it, it's for life! So long, boys, and good luck.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rich Hall's Continental Drifters (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Blue Danube
Composed by Johann Strauß
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the greatest movies ever made
6 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie is astonishing, a gritty story filmed in an ultra-real style that relies simply on the beauty of lighting and film to achieve its stunning effects. It seems from another world, which in a way, it is. The acting is superb: Montand's Mario is full of jerky movements and intense impulses but always maintains his Gallic savoir-faire, while Charles Vanel as Jo brings, at first at least, a type of macho to the screen that modern movie-makers simply do not comprehend. The rest of the cast, especially the camp chief, Luigi, and Peter van Eyck as Bimba are incredible, as is Vera Clouzot who is incomprehensibly but believably upbeat and innocent - and totally gorgeous - in the midst of the hellhole of a town they're all stuck in. Clouzot's directing is flawless - I don't think anyone has ever squeezed more tension with just a few essential scene elements. The trucks wheeze and grunt as well as they ever have in the movies - the only comparison is Spielberg's early gem, "The Duel", but Clouzot's automotive cinematics outdo even Spielberg. The stripped down existentialism of the characters, the starkness of their shared dilemma, the grim and grimy scenery, and the cinematography itself are all of a piece. The latter is what elevates this movie to the very top rank, including some of the most dramatic and effective black and white shooting I've ever seen. Yet it never becomes mannered or gratuitous - it is orchestrated with the rise - and rise! - of tension in the film. The final scene takes on a surreal as opposed to ultra-realistic quality that has its own logic. One last word about the acting - we don't see anything like it anymore. The self-conscious mannerism of method acting (which has had its own triumphs) and the toxic awareness of everyone from the actors to the audience, the camera, directors, etc. that each actor is a celebrity and potential artiste, has ruined that conviction that actors were once larger than life people before they went on-screen, that they came to acting as an outcome of living rough, unadorned, and yet imaginative lives as opposed to shooting for fame and fortune and celebrity within an artificial corporate star-making incubator.


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