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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)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 31,832 users  
Reviews: 135 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.


(novel), (adaptation) (as H.G. Clouzot) , 1 more credit »
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Top 250 Movies #172 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »



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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 ...
Antonio Centa ...
Camp Chief (as Centa)
Luis De Lima ...
Grégoire Gromoff
Joseph Palau-Fabre
Darling Légitimus ...
(as Miss Darling)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | | | |

Release Date:

16 February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wages of Fear  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Yves Montand and Charles Vanel both contracted conjunctivitis after filming in a pool of crude oil and being exposed to gas fumes. See more »


Near the end of the film, when Jo is leaning against Mario in the cab of the truck, the oil smear on Mario's right cheek changes between shots. See more »


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 »


Referenced in The Wild Bunch (1969) See more »


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User Reviews

The Wages of Fear Vs. Sorcerer
24 April 2005 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

Georges Arnaud's novel LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR has been filmed twice, by Henri-Georges Clouzot as THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953) and by William Friedkin as SORCERER (1977). While both films are worth seeing, the earlier version is the one regarded as a classic, and rightly so. Although SORCERER goes into more detail about the political climate and the various misdeeds that led the four desperate protagonists to the South American hellhole where they accept high-paying but life-risking jobs driving nitroglycerin through treacherous terrain, WAGES... distinguishes the men's personalities better, giving the audience more rooting interest in them. Both films have excellent casts, with charismatic leads in Yves Montand (WAGES...) and Roy Scheider (SORCERER), plus WAGES... also provides feminine charm in the form of beguiling Vera Clouzot as the café waitress who loves Montand. Both films have tense action sequences as well, but somehow for all the staging and skillful editing, SORCERER's action scenes seem strangely slow, slogging along in the mud just like the protagonists in their less-than-state-of-the-art trucks. Both versions have enough good things in them to be worth a look, but if you only have the time and resources to check out one of them, it's WAGES... that really pays off!

49 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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