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The Wages of Fear(Le Salaire de la peur)

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France, Italy · 1953
Rated PG-13 · 2h 33m
Director Henri-Georges Clouzot
Starring Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Folco Lulli
Genre Drama, Thriller, Adventure

In the South American jungle, an oil company pays four men in two trucks to deliver supplies to a remote oil field, where stocks of nitroglycerine are needed. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers on the rough remote roads where the slightest jolt can result in death.

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What are critics saying?


The New York Times by Bosley Crowther

The excitement derives entirely from the awareness of nitroglycerine and the gingerly, breathless handling of it. You sit there waiting for the theatre to explode.


Slant Magazine by Eric Henderson

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear now seems much less like Salt of the Earth-as-a-potboiler and a lot more like the spiritual godfather to every testosterone-fueled thrill ride since.


Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

A significant influence on Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, this grueling pile driver of a movie will keep you on the edge of your seat, though it reeks of French 50s attitude, which includes misogyny, snobbishness, and borderline racism.


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

Here's where it's easiest to see Clouzot's advantage over his more famous peer, as he combines nail-biting action scenes - calibrated to the millimeter - with a Hawksian command of earthy performances.


Austin Chronicle by Kathleen Maher

This film, the inspiration for the less successful Sorcerer, is a textbook case of how to handle suspense. It has also been called the cruelest movie ever made and it certainly earns that title by the film's end.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

Deriving endless anxiety from brawny men moving as gingerly as possible, it’s a riveting anti-action movie, one of the most memorable high-concept pictures ever made in Europe.

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