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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 desperate men and two trucks called Sorcerer and Lazaro carrying a cargo of tempestuous explosives.
Sorcerer is directed by William Friedkin and adapted to the screen by Waldo Green from Georges Arnaud's novel Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear). It stars Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Raba and Amidou. Music is scored by Tangerine Dream and cinematography by John M. Stephens and Dick Bush.

It bombed famously at the cinema, was a location shoot...
Published on 10 Aug 2012 by Spike Owen

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good place to lay low....
A group of outcasts from different backgrounds/nationalities are forced by misfortune to work in a remote drilling operation in South America.

When fire breaks out of control, four of the outcasts are given the opportunity to earn enough money to get out by transporting six crates of unstable dynamite through miles of jungle in two ancient trucks...
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Corey S. Newcombe


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 desperate men and two trucks called Sorcerer and Lazaro carrying a cargo of tempestuous explosives., 10 Aug 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Sorcerer [DVD] [1977] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Sorcerer is directed by William Friedkin and adapted to the screen by Waldo Green from Georges Arnaud's novel Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear). It stars Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Raba and Amidou. Music is scored by Tangerine Dream and cinematography by John M. Stephens and Dick Bush.

It bombed famously at the cinema, was a location shoot nightmare with rows aplenty between cast and director, and even recently a court case erupted over the film as Friedkin sued Paramount and Universal over ownership of the picture. A film with such a mystical sounding title, could it be cursed? All the shenanigans surrounding Sorcerer have sort of had it hovering around the "forgotten" bin, where were it not for the Friedkin purists and 1970s movie aficionados it would have dropped in and had the lid put on it. However, if ever a movie from 1977 deserved to be revisited and treated better on home formats, then Sorcerer is the one. Where in its complete two hour form plays out as a lesson in skilled story formation, letting us know how these guys came to be in the situation they find themselves in, which in turn gives way to utter suspense as desperate men fight nature's jungle whilst perched on the precipice of explosive doom.

There are a number of factors put forward on why Sorcerer failed at the box office. The title itself is a classic case of misdirection, the name given to one of the trucks in the story, it conjured up images of mystical and magical dalliances, it's safe to say that the film is a million miles away from that sort of genre. It also went up against the box office monster that was Star Wars, in comparison, and Friedkin readily admits this, it's dwarfed in production scope and cross demographic appeal. Then there is the matter of the "cut" version that did the rounds, where almost thirty minutes were chopped to allow more showings in theatres, without Friedkin's permission, the resulting film was a travesty of Friedkin's vision. Lead man Scheider, who is terrific, didn't want to promote the film, such was his anger at Friedkin cutting a subplot involving his character being shown in a sympathetic light. Have to say the director was right in keeping it grim.

Also there's the Clouzot's factor and his version of the Arnaud novel released in 1953. Much beloved by many a critic as some sort of sacred cow of French cinema, Clouzot's The Wages of Fear is a very good film, but hardly a masterpiece. Looking back at some of the reviews upon Sorcerer's release, it seems that some big critics of the day wanted to appear cool by lauding from the roof tops about a foreign movie and how it shouldn't be remade. Weird really since Sorcerer isn't a remake, it's an interpretation on Arnaud's source. Inspired by Clouzot? Undoubtedly, but it's not remaking his movie. They moaned about the good hour of build up, calling it slow, but I'm sure I remember it rightly that Clouzot's movie does the same thing, and that didn't have Friedkin's fluid camera and Tangerine Dream laying hypnotic synthesisers all over it.

Though the current Region 1 DVD of the film is full frame and grainy in print, the skill of the director, photographer and actors really comes to the fore. Film is often gritty and realistic and playing better now thematically than it did back in the 1970s. The locations are real and you are easily transported into the character's world, you feel the danger as nature and human bandits enter the fray; as if it wasn't bad enough with the case sensitive explosives in the back! There are risks at almost every turn, breath holding the order of the day, and the famous bridge scene is as good a sequence as 70s cinema has to offer (a logistic nightmare for Friedkin that required take after take to finish). All this only works because we have had the hour of build up previously. True, we may hanker for deeper character interaction as they traverse the perilous terrain, but this isn't about bonding, it's about men risking their lives for freedom and redemption. It beats a black heart and never once cops out. A truly great film crying out to be rediscovered by old and new film lovers alike. 8.5/10
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Release Sorcerer on Region 2!!, 4 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Sorcerer [DVD] [1977] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I agree with the first review - a fantastic movie from a Director who is either lauded or derided; some of his work must feature in most peoples 'best of' lists - French Connection, Exorcist etc but equally there is a cache of forgotten movies that cry out for attention - Live & Die in LA, Jade and of course Sorcerer.I doubt its even been on TV in the last 25 years!! Sad........ but true.
Release the Sorcerer on Region 2.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't mention the tension, 10 May 2014
By 
Inspector Gadget "Go Go Gadget Reviews" (On the trail of Doctor Claw) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I was doubly skeptical about this movie before watching it. I absolutely hated the original Wages of Fear. I bought the Criterion DVD way back in 2000 after hearing many good things about it but the tension just wasn't there. I thought I was missing something. When I heard about Sorcerer (thanks to a brief parody in the Mr. Plow episode of the Simpsons) I looked it up and learned about its terrible release history and assumed it was a stinker. Now, all these years later, William Friedkin has fully restored his lost treasure and presents it to us once more without the threat of George Lucas stealing his audience.

It's a slow-burn movie that initially feels a lot like the Exorcist in that several plot threads in different parts of the world are established first before being tied together in the second act. Four desperate men stuck in a South American peasant village agree to drive trucks filled with volatile nitro-glycerine to an oil fire 218 miles away. It's a suicide mission fraught with danger and peril. Leader Jackie Scanlon/Juan Dominguez (played by the ever-vulnerable and haunted Roy Scheider) is a lowlife from Queens hiding from a mob boss, and his comrades are a French stock swindler, a Palestinian bomber, and a rodent-like assassin. Together they make for a quartet as nervous and unstable as the explosives they are transporting.

William Friedkin's jungle is full of lush darkness and menace. One bump in the dirt road could lead to disaster. The rivers rage, the wind and rain batters the windshields, and every other corner disintegrates beneath them. One standout scene involves the trucks slowly inching across a derelict rope bridge as the wooden boards splinter to pieces under the wheels.

It's better than Wages of Fear, but what is up with that title? No matter how much Friedkin argues that it was a good choice...it's not. Sorcerer is a title that kills this movie as it has virtually nothing to do with anything. So it's the name of one of the trucks, so what? That's like calling Speed "2525" or calling First Blood "That Army Truck He Drives For A Bit". The word Sorcerer has absolutely nothing to do with anything and if you look for a deeper reason you are not going to find it. Friedkin is wrong about this title. It's a stupid, stupid choice and no doubt one of the many reasons why this film was a box office bomb. They should have just called it Wages of Fear. Friedkin doesn't really consider it to be a remake, more of a loose reinterpretation, and it's not like American audiences would have even been aware back in those days at the French original was something of an obscure flick in 1977.

That's not to say that there isn't anything deeper to be found in the film, it's just that the title has nothing to do with it. Sorcerer is an existentialist nightmare that's about as close to Cronenberg as Friedkin will ever get. The huge close-ups of sweaty tormented faces, the slowly-building mental breakdowns, the hostile, creeping jungle surrounding and containing us - it's not the exotic adventure that Thomas Cook promise, it's a place you don't want to be.

Friedkin made Sorcerer at the height of his creative freedom and stands as a perfect example, and as a warning, of how good and of how expensive a talented director's vision can be. Is it indulgent? Sure. But it's also a labor of love, this wage of fear.

The Blu-ray presents the film in 1.78:1 1080p that looks excellent after being painstakingly restored over the course of a year. The sound is fully remixed DTS HD-MA 5.1 and it's also great. Extras, sadly, are absent - why, I do not know! But the DigiBook itself looks wonderful.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's off-road!, 19 Jun 2005
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This review is from: Sorcerer [DVD] [1977] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Sadly underrated, why isn't this film available on Region 2?
Odious & unnecessary comparisons with Wages of Fear have led to this movie being shunted into a siding.
In fact it's very much a film of & about our time, as 4 men on the run from corruption, terrorism, the Mob & their past seek escape, money & perhaps redemption in a South American hell-hole.
Like an updated Treasure of the Sierra Madre it walks the existentialist backwaters of B Traven, with breath-taking action sequences as trucks loaded with nitro-glycerine attempt to cross flooded rivers(ripping away villages & trees) via ramshackle bridges. You really feel the actors are living through this, just as Coppola pushed his cast to the limit in Apocolypse Now or Fassbinder in Fitzcarraldo. No CGI here, only human suffering.
It speaks of the chaos of our times, of random terrorist violence, rival gangsterism, financial corruption, the rape of the landscape by big business. The extreme poverty of the exploited locals is graphically portrayed. This is no paradise peopled by noble savages.
As pollution & mining scar the landscape, this becomes like a like an action movie version of Powaqqatsi. Occasionally Friedkin(in as good a film as he's made)draws back(together with the camera) from the heat & sweat of the action & underlines its insignificance in the wider scheme of things. An explosion becomes a puff of smoke on the horizon.
The film stars Roy Scheider, one of the most interesting & undervalued Hollywood stars of the 70s. A strange mix of Kirk Douglas & Jean Paul Belmondo, he is the ideal anti-hero for this movie, combining a believable toughness with a realistic sense of human frailty & character defect.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 70s film, when cinema was good, 28 Sep 2006
This review is from: Sorcerer [DVD] [1977] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
William Friedkin was at the top of his form when he made this film, coming off the back of The French Connection and The Exorcist. As fine a film as those two, this suffered with poor marketing and having the misfortune to be released the week after Star Wars opened.

Gritty, ultra realistic, with scenes of third world poverty that make you squirm in your seat, and one of the most downbeat endings ever committed to celluloid, (and no princess in danger or light sabres to liven things up), Sorcerer bombed at the box office.

Undeservedly.

A fine, underrated film about four desperate men in a desperate situation willing to risk their lives for another shot at freedom, (and redemption), this is good old fashioned film making at its best, and Friedkin's most European film, with sequences of almost unbearable tension (in which the actors appear to be in actual danger), and an ending you will never forget.

Roy Scheider is at the top of his form, riding the wave of popularity from Jaws which would take him through to the mid 1980s before petering out.

That's the great shame about watching a film like this; remembering how good cinema was in the 70s, and how wretched it so quickly became from the 80s on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True Grit, 12 April 2014
A pleasant surprise to see Warner releasing Freidkin's "lost" movie on blu ray. The region one dvd was a poor quality cropped pan and scan release now corrected with this disc.
The movie is reworking of the famous French movie The Wages of Fear ,with the grittiness of 1970's cinema. A great era. The digibook packaging raises the price a bit but as it has been so long waiting for a worthy release it is worth paying that bit extra. The bleached out dvd transfer is now surpassed with an image of more intense colour, maybe a little over saturated in places but combined with additional clarity and definition. Audio is presented as DTS HD 5.1. I forgot how underused the excellent soundtrack is by synth pioneers Tangerine Dream. No extras apart from the booklet taken from previously released excerpts and a letter card from the director. Thanks to all concerned for this release.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sorcerer (one of roy scheider) best films:, 9 Feb 2009
By 
K. Sneesby (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sorcerer [DVD] [1977] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
why oh why, for gods sake hurry up & put this great film on (region 2) dvd, besides jaws, the godfather, & blue thunder, this is one of roy scheider best films ever, because maybe like many other film fans of the great roy scheider, the last time i ever saw this great film was back in 1977 or 78, on t.v. one sunday night on itv london weekend television: back then you did not won,t to go out, there where so many good programs & films on t.v. i wish there was some film company i could write to, but i don,t know who, so we could get great film released on (region 2) anyway besides that roy was a great actor anyway, (GOD BLESS ROY) maybe one day we see this great film on t.v. again afterall there,s so many repete,s why not this...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Word of Caution, 1 May 2014
A fine restoration of Friedkin's unfairly forgotten remake of Wages of Fear. But PLEASE note: only the Blu Ray has been restored! Against all usual practice, the dvd version while sharing the same cover image is from a pan and scan 4:3 tv master so bad that the director himself posted a review on Amazon. com telling fans he has not authorised it and to avoid it! I don't yet own a Blu Ray and my local store guy was so appalled by the dvd that he GAVE me a copy free rather than let me waste money on it. That should tell you something. You have been warned. Shame on Warners for pulling such a shabby trick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poza rico is dead,now in hi-def, 23 May 2014
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First off,Sorcerer is not a remake,you can;t remake a film based on a novel,you do a new version,a remake is a film from a original source.The sorcerer is without a doubt friedkins marsterwork,a brilliant study in supense and tension,the whole thing oozes maleness,ulikeible characters.You can feel the heat,smell the oil and you are exshusted as these four losers journy to hell.The blu-ray;s pq is great,sq is fantastic,you feel the roar of the engines,it is region free,and there is a intresting behind the sences booklet that comes with the disc,the blu-ray has is long has been longover due but it it finally here for the world can now see one of the best and underrated films in the last 50 years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vivid thriller which works better today than in 1977, 17 Sep 2008
This review is from: Sorcerer [DVD] [1977] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is an underrated gem with a good soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and a fine performance by Roy Scheider as one of four crooks who volunteer to drive heavy trucks with deadly case sensitive explosives across two hundred miles of dangerous jungle roads and terrain.
The irony of this movie is that hardly anyone wanted to see it, mainly because everyone in the year of its release preferred to see Star Wars instead. The reason this film failed, i believe, was due to its background of some of the characters and the fact that the film has a sense of dread hanging over it just like the director's previous effort The Exorcist. By the late seventies, people were seeing films which were changing cinema forever like Jaws and Close Encounters, however if Sorcerer were released in the cinema today it might have had serious potential at the box office given today's current Political climate in the middle east and just who to trust nowadays. Today, this stands as an overlooked and underrated gem.
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