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

Writers:

Georges Arnaud (from the novel by), Henri-Georges Clouzot (adaptation) (as H.G. Clouzot) | 1 more credit »
Top Rated Movies #206 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Yves Montand ... Mario Livi
Charles Vanel ... M. Jo
Folco Lulli ... Luigi
Peter van Eyck ... Bimba (as Peter Van Eyck)
Véra Clouzot ... Linda (as Vera Clouzot)
William Tubbs William Tubbs ... Bill O'Brien
Darío Moreno ... Pepito Hernandez (as Dario Moreno)
Jo Dest Jo Dest ... Hans Smerloff
Antonio Centa ... Camp Chief (as Centa)
Luis De Lima Luis De Lima ... Bernardo
Grégoire Gromoff Grégoire Gromoff
Joseph Palau-Fabre Joseph Palau-Fabre
Faustini Faustini
Seguna Seguna
Darling Légitimus ... (as Miss Darling)
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Storyline

In the Central 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year in France. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Bill O'Brien: The Hell with the Union! There's plenty of tramps in town, all volunteers. I'm not worried. To get that bonus, they'll carry the entire charge on their backs.
Bradley: You mean you're gonna put those bums to work?
Bill O'Brien: Yes, Mr. Bradley, because those bums don't have any union, nor any families. And if they blow up, nobody'll come around bothering me for any contribution.
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Alternate Versions

The film was cut for U.S. distribution in 1954, in part due to scenes that denounced crooked U.S. business interests in Latin America. The Criterion Collection laserdisc restored the film to its uncut version with 21 minutes of footage removed from other versions of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sweat (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Valentine
Music by Henri Christiné
Whistled by Yves Montand and Charles Vanel
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User Reviews

An unforgettable bit of existentialism on exposed celluloid
3 July 2001 | by frank_olthoffSee all my reviews

Whoever it may be to rightly claim that he invented the action thriller genre (Méliès, I suppose), Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Le salaire de la peur" is an indispensable milestone on the exciting route to the best films of that kind in the 70's, 80's and nowadays. In its tenseness, as symbolized by the danger of explosion of the lorries' loads, it has hardly been surpassed.

The plot is perfectly worked out from start to end, the leading players act in some of their best parts ever, the (almost) absence of music supports the brutal realism and the consequent choice of authentic outdoor settings contributed a lot to the film's deserved success. Historically, it ranges between neorealismo and nouvelle vague, and yet it is its pure action and suspense that make it worth watching for younger audiences who wouldn't go in for just the artistic way. - Only flaw I can see is the curious, rather artificial change in Vanel's character which has no comprehensible motivation, at least for me whenever I see it.

Apart from that, Clouzot's wife Véra (also well-known from his "Les diaboliques") plays to the "most breathtaking angles" gallery when she bows down to scrub the floor of Dario Moreno's gin joint. It's a man's world after all and there are male perspectives on human survival only. Well, it's existentialism, mates. Altogether, the black and white photography is gripping. The gun scene between Lulli and Vanel is one of the best montages in film history, and there is more excellent editing in "Salaire" (including the finale) that completely fits the hot atmosphere.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | English | Spanish | German | Italian | Russian

Release Date:

16 February 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wages of Fear See more »

Filming Locations:

Poulx, Gard, France See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,098
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (director's cut) (2017 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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