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Sorcerer (1977)

Roy Scheider , William Friedkin  |  PG |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)

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Sorcerer + The Wages of Fear (The Criterion Collection) (1953)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Roy Scheider
  • Directors: William Friedkin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 17, 1998
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 078322947X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,679 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sorcerer" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Following the blockbuster success of The Exorcist, director William Friedkin had the clout to make any film he wanted, and he nearly ruined his career making Sorcerer, an ill-fated remake of the classic French thriller The Wages of Fear. Given the big-budget treatment that Friedkin could command, the original plot remains unchanged: In an unnamed Latin American country, Roy Scheider leads a group of four fugitives who will earn their freedom if they can successfully transport truckloads of volatile nitroglycerine over treacherous terrain to extinguish a raging oil fire. The unstable explosives could prove deadly at any point of the journey, and numerous obstacles threaten the completion of the mission. Produced under rugged conditions in the jungles of the Dominican Republic, the film is visually impressive and contains intense moments of astonishing suspense, but the specter of the superior French version hangs over every scene. This version remains a folly of directorial ambition run amuck, but for the very same reason Sorcerer is a film that's hauntingly unforgettable, fueled by an atmosphere of dread and the forceful powers of nature. Presented in full-screen format on DVD, the film is aided immeasurably by Tangerine Dream's eerie electronic score. --Jeff Shannon

    Product Description

    Roy Scheider lends his intense talent to this taut action-adventure from director William Friedkin. Set on the edge of a South American jungle, a desperate four-man team, led by Scheider, must transport a volatile cargo of nitroglycerine over 200 miles of treacherous terrain in order to stop a potentially disastrous oil fire. Enter into this potentially explosive mix of split-second strategy and jolting suspense set against an outstanding score by Tangerine Dream.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A stylish, intimate remake of a French Classic December 15, 2003
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    William Friedkin (The French Connection) brings us exotic locations and gripping story in Sorcerer, a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1953 thriller Wages of Fear.
    The first hour of this movie seems to be comprised of random events involving four individuals that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The only commonality is that they are all men of dubious character. Probably the most recognizable actor in this film is Roy Schieder, who plays a low level New York gangster participate in a robbery that goes bad, and forces him to flee the country due to the fact he managed to step on some pretty well connected toes. The second man, a French businessman, escapes from the threat of prosecution due to some shady business dealings. The third man, a Middle Eastern terrorist flees his captors after being caught participating in a bombing, and the fourth man is a shady assassin type apparently on the run from repercussion from his last hit.
    The key is all four men end up in a South American rat-infested stink hole of a town called Vera Cruz. After awhile, they find their sanctuary has become more of a prison and all begin a desperate search for a way out, but that involves money, a commodity that's in short supply, with the only work available in the area is provided by an oil company that runs a well and is building a pipeline for the bubbling crude. Dangerous work, and the pay is so low that it would take years to earn enough to leave. Salvation for the men comes in a catastrophic disaster, an explosion damaging the well and causing the oil to burn.
    The only way to close the well proper for repairs is to blow it up, and the only explosives available are 200 miles away.
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    168 of 194 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars TRANSFER FROM A BROADCAST MASTER March 29, 2000
    By "eg001"
    If you look at all the other reviews, you'll rarely see anything less than five stars and the film deserves it. "SORCERER" falls into that category sometimes referred to as an "undiscovered gem". My reason for giving this DVD one star is technical. Rather than creating a new master from film elements, this DVD was created from an existing full-screen SMPTE television broadcast master. As a result, you miss all of screen left, all of screen right, and a portion of both north and south. "SORCERER" is one of my all-time favorite action films and I can only hope that Friedkin and company release the original, theatrical wide-screen version of this thriller. I am so disappointed by the technical failings of this DVD that I won't buy it unless/until it's re-released in the theatrical format.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase

    William Friedkin's remake of "The Wages of Fear" brought a more contemporary, edgy slant to a classic French film. The scale is bigger but the plot remains the same; Roy Scheider plays Jackie Scanlan a member of a crew who accepts what appears to be a suicidal mission; transport nitroglycerin across the treacherous landscape of South America to put out a massive oil fire. All four members of the driving crew have shady pasts making this an ideal chance to escape from the events haunting them at home.

    This review is for the Blu-ray of the film. The DVD is, evidently, the original DVD transfer with new packaging so that would NOT receive 5 stars.

    In my humble opinion, this is a five star movie and superior to the film that inspired Friedkin to make this.

    The remastered, restored blu-ray release of this classic film looks terrific--colors pop and depth is exceptionally good even considering that this is on a single layer blu-ray disc.

    The 5.1 HD master audio sounds marvelous adding to the suspense of a terrific film.

    I haven't seen the DVD but have heard that it is in full screen using the same broadcast pan and scan version that was available on the Universal DVD from a decade ago.

    The blu-ray, beyond the booklet included as part of the package (this may receive a regular blu release later in a standard keep case as is often the case with these Warner book-style releases)is truly the only "extra" included here which is unfortunate--a commentary track by Friedkin would be welcome discussing the difficult making of the film.
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    77 of 88 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! January 15, 2014
    Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
    Throughout the early seventies, William Friedkin was flying high in Hollywood, having won a Best Director Oscar for the huge hit, "The French Connection", and then making the terrifying and enormously successful "The Exorcist". Then, to the surprise (and disgust) of many critics, Friedkin had the hubris to announce a remake of a classic French film, “The Wages of Fear”. He had an enormous budget, the backing of two studios, and near complete creative control. Unfortunately, this film was an expensive flop when it was released in 1977. The fact that it came out the weekend before "Star Wars" was released was a large part of the reason why, perhaps. It was nearly universally (and somewhat gleefully) panned by critics, and quickly disappeared from theater screens. It was nearly forgotten about, except by a few fans (like me).

    I saw this when it was released, and was absolutely riveted by it. The acting, direction, screenplay, editing, and sound were all incredible (with a stunning soundtrack by Tangerine Dream). The famous “Bridge” sequence is one of the most gut-wrenchingly suspenseful scenes you will ever see. The darkly existential ending is perfect. This will strike some as heresy, but not only is this film superior to the 1953 Clouzot original, it is one of the best films of the 1970s. Sadly, the only DVD release has been in the dreaded “pan and scan” 4:3 aspect ratio, which makes the film unbearable to watch. This edition is fully authorized by the Director, and will no doubt be a spectacular transfer.

    The journey out of limbo this film has taken over the last five or so years, with frustrating legal issues and a major lawsuit by Friedkin, are well documented in “Wikipedia”.
    Read more ›
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Very good remastering of this classic but being reissued on a ...
    Very good remastering of this classic but being reissued on a blu-ray I would have expect some extra goodies (some making-of images or interviews with Friedkin since the guy is... Read more
    Published 7 days ago by Bernard Lachance
    4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting to be Discovered... Again.
    I love both film versions of this story. Friedkin's take falls in line with his "French Connection" grittiness and an almost horrific setting. Read more
    Published 7 days ago by TelegramSam
    4.0 out of 5 stars Killed Careers... But It's Still Awesome!
    Stephen King cited William Friedkin's "Sorcerer" as his favorite bad movie in his non-fiction dissertation on horror, "Danse Macabre", and, although I do agree this movie isn't an... Read more
    Published 7 days ago by Steve V.
    5.0 out of 5 stars it is one of the best films that William Friedkin made
    An underrated movie, it is one of the best films that William Friedkin made. Roy Scheider gives an over the top performance. A good blu ray transfer. Read more
    Published 11 days ago by D. Coleman
    5.0 out of 5 stars Intense Movie with Intense Tangerine Dream Soundtrack
    One of my favorite movies of all time and the movie that introduced me to Tangerine Dream. I can remember swapping pizzas for movie tickets in college with the manager of the... Read more
    Published 23 days ago by The Alb
    4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly beautiful reissue of this 70's classic
    Amazingly beautiful reissue of this 70's may or may not be better than the original "Wages of Fear"... Read more
    Published 23 days ago by souvien
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Unforgettable; you'll never feel the same about old trucks again. One of the most intense movies I've ever seen.
    Published 25 days ago by Wendy C. Jones
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 25 days ago by lemée
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    classic must see film
    Published 28 days ago by Leslie Ispanky
    5.0 out of 5 stars Sorceror
    At last,a great transfer of an understated film.
    Its great to have it on Blu Ray! It looks better than the 35mm print we've seen in the past.
    Published 29 days ago by Gary Patterson
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    Aspect Ratio
    Very underrated and excellent film with a strong cult following.Saw the film back in the day at the theatre.Film still holds up very well after all these years.So what's the deal? I see rumours on amazon about a blueray release.Anybody out there with any hard facts on a release date ? Wish... Read More
    Sep 12, 2012 by Dave C |  See all 8 posts
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