Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous Latin American jungle.


William Friedkin


Walon Green (screenplay), Georges Arnaud (novel)
4,820 ( 524)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Roy Scheider ... Scanlon / 'Dominguez'
Bruno Cremer ... Victor Manzon / 'Serrano'
Francisco Rabal ... Nilo
Amidou ... Kassem / 'Martinez'
Ramon Bieri ... Corlette
Peter Capell ... Lartigue
Karl John ... 'Marquez'
Friedrich von Ledebur ... 'Carlos' (as Fredrick Ledebur)
Chico Martínez Chico Martínez ... Bobby Del Rios (as Chico Martinez)
Joe Spinell ... Spider
Rosario Almontes ... Agrippa
Richard Holley Richard Holley ... Billy White
Anne-Marie Deschodt ... Blanche (as Anne Marie Descott)
Jean-Luc Bideau ... Pascal
Jacques François ... Lefevre (as Jacques Francois)


A gangster, a crooked banker, a hitman and an arab terrorist are stranded and on the run in a small village in South America. Their only chance of escape is to drive two trucks filled with unstable nitroglycerin up a long and rocky mountain road in order to plug an escalating oil refinery blaze. With their deadly cargo likely to explode at the slightest bump, the four men must put aside their differences and work together to survive.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The only wages worth running for...dying for...killing for...are the wages of fear. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


William Friedkin antagonized Paramount, using a Gulf and Western corporate photo for a scene that featured the evil board of directors of the fictional company which hired the men to deliver nitroglycerin. Walon Green recalled the experience in the following way:

"[Friedkin] put Bluhdorn's picture on the wall in the office in the scene where [the oil company foreman] finds out that the well is blown by terrorists and they can't do anything about it. When Bluhdorn saw his picture on the wall as chairman of the oil company he had a shit hemorrhage!" See more »


In the wide shots of the trucks crossing the bridge you can see the tow cables/anchor lines to the bridge going in and out of the water as the bridge rocks back and forth. See more »


[Discussing using a helicopter to transport the nitro]
Corlette: Well, what do you think?
Billy White: Well the main problem is the vibration. This thing is like a damn egg-beater, no matter how we shock mount something it'll still have a severe lateral vibration.
Corlette: I thought maybe you could swingload it on a pallet.
Billy White: About twenty feet down there'd be no vibration, but then the problem is turbulence, you might move it a half mile that way but not 200, never had a flight around here without some turbulence.
Corlette: What are you ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the end credits, Roy Scheider isn't even listed. All the other main actors are there but not Scheider. See more »

Alternate Versions

The European version of the film was re-edited and shortened by CIC, the European distributor, without director William Friedkin's permission. The prologue sequences set in New York, Paris, Vera Cruz and Israel that show what happened to the main characters and why they had to flee to South America, were changed to flashbacks running throughout the film. See more »


Referenced in Cold Sweat (2010) See more »


I'll Remember April
Written by Gene de Paul (uncredited), Patricia Johnston (uncredited) and Don Raye (uncredited)
Performed by Charlie Parker
Courtesy Verve Records
See more »

User Reviews

That bridge scene
21 February 2008 | by dave-sturmSee all my reviews

Try to clear your mind of the fact that "The Wages of Fear" exists as a previous French movie. I've seen it and its a great movie on its own merits. Would it be better if Sorcerer had not been made so that Wages would have its pristine place in the film pantheon. No, it would not.

I saw Sorcerer in a movie theater when it first came out (having seen and like Friedkin's two earlier films) and was knocked for a loop. I wonder how many of the reviewers here who disparage Sorcerer have only seen it on a TV screen.

Because, I gotta tell you, some parts of this movie seen on the widescreen are mind blowing. Getting that truck (which just about has a personality of its own) across that rope bridge during what looks like a hurricane has to be one of the most intense moments in cinema history. What they pull off in that scene looks patently impossible. And without a speck of CGI.

One of the great adventure movies.

The score by Tangerine Dream ("kings of the German synthesizer") is spellbinding. (For another great TD-drenched movie, see Michael Mann's Thief.) And it has one of the late Roy Scheider's greatest performances.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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English | Spanish | French | German

Release Date:

24 June 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wages of Fear See more »


Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (international)

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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