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Sorcerer

380 customer reviews

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Sorcerer + The Wages of Fear (The Criterion Collection) (1953)
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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.

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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

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Trailer

  • 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 (380 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: 078322947X
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,550 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Sorcerer" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    76 of 82 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on 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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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    REVISED FOR THE BLU-RAY RELEASE AND INFORMATION ON THE DVD REISSUE AS WELL.

    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.

    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 new remastered widescreen DVD uses the same new transfer supervised by the director.

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

    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. I'm not sure if a vintage featurette (these often appeared on TV to promote films)exists for the film or not but if it did it would be nice to include that as well.

    Still, the booklet is very good with Friedkin discussing the making of the film and plenty of photos.
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    89 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Gross on 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”.
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    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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