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Directed by William Friedkin

Long unavailable, William Friedkin's ambitious, technically spectacular remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic thriller The Wages of Fear returns in a new, director-approved digitial restoration.


William Friedkin was riding a wave of success in the 1970s with the multi-Oscar-winning French Connection and controversial box-office smash The Exorcist, but that all came crashing down when he embarked upon this ambitious remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's suspense classic The Wages of Fear, which went vastly over budget and flopped disastrously upon release. Yet while the behind-the-scenes drama — including Friedkin's battles with studio executives and the daunting physical challenges of shooting in Latin American jungles — has often taken precedence over the film itself, many now claim Sorcerer to be one of the last great films of the New Hollywood, and even superior to its model. Though working from the same basic premise — four desperate men (here played by Roy Scheider, Buñuel regular Francisco Rabal, Bruno Cremer and Amidou) take a suicidal commission to drive two trucks filled with nitroglycerin to a raging oil fire in the middle of the jungle — Friedkin elaborates considerably on Clouzot's stripped-down scenario, providing each character with an extensive backstory (which entailed location-shooting jaunts to Paris, Jerusalem, Veracruz and New Jersey) and amping up the perils of their explosives-laden journey — most notably in the film's signature scene, a nerve-shredding crossing of a rickety wooden bridge suspended above a raging river. Newly restored by Warner Bros. under Friedkin's supervision, Sorcerer now seems poised for a major critical reassessment.

Andrew Tracy

Director(s): William Friedkin
Rating: 14A
Year: 1977
Country: USA
Runtime: 121 minutes