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 32,431 users  
Reviews: 136 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 Rated Movies #171 | 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


"TREMENDOUS! BRILLIANT! SUPREME! "...N. Y. Times (original USA/Canada poster 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
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Did You Know?


Body count: 5 on screen, plus 13 on the oil well disaster (as explained by one of the characters). 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.
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Remade as Atash-e jonoob (1976) See more »


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User Reviews

Stunning!! Completely Unique!
8 March 1999 | by (San Diego) – See all my reviews

A completely novel plot. Happened upon this on late night TV about 10 years ago. Thought I had seen all the best of the classics and then this came on. "Where have you been all my life?" was the overwhelming question. What an incredibly beautiful and stark movie at the same time. Absolutely unprecedented. Everything about it--especially the cinematography (check out the scene with the turnabout for the trucks) is superior. If you care about plot, allegory, intelligent directing and acting, this is one which is second to none. Nitroglycerine being transported across the Venezuelan countryside. . .who comes up with this stuff? The remake (Sorcerer) is decent, but doesn't even come close. Outstanding flick.

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