The Wages of Fear
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Together with Diabolique, The Wages of Fear (Le Salaire de la Peur) earned Henri-Georges Clouzot the reputation as a "French Hitchcock." In truth, Clouzot's ability to sustain suspense may have even exceeded Hitchcock's; when originally released, Wages ran 155 tension-filled minutes. Based on the much-imitated novel by Georges Arnaud, the film is set in Central America. The Southern Oil Company, which pretty much rules the roost in the impoverished village of Las Piedras, sends out a call for long-distance truck drivers. Southern Oil's wages of 2,000 dollars per man are,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Turning the screws with a relentlessness that impresses even in this age of the ruthless, high-tech thriller, Clouzot strings together situations of vividly, almost sadistically imagined danger."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"A harrowing odyssey of four derelicts inching two trucks loaded with nitro-glycerine over a tortuous terrain puts this in the strong meat department with a downbeat theme of fear and its manifestations."
‑ , Variety
"Anti-capitalist exciting existential adventure film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"When contrabandists become businessmen and human life is blown away as simply as the tobacco in a half-rolled cigarillo, heroism and grace are notions that wither in the heat"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"A classic suspense film...also the screen equivalent of a classic existentialist drama...The chemical reaction Clouzot gets from these genres is pure dynamite. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Hitch's bomb-under-the-table suspense formula burnished to an expert sheen."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"A reeking bandana movie, with all the expected thrills, but a vision of men as scurrying insects with no redeeming features."
‑ , Time Out
"The Wages of Fear contains tension-fraught stretches of "pure cinema" that probably gave even the Master cold sweats."
‑ Budd Wilkins, Slant Magazine
"An extraordinarily gripping thriller from Henri-Georges Clouzot that establishes and maintains a level of tension rarely equalled elsewhere in cinema."
‑ , Film4
""Wages of Fear" is an uncompromising parable about money, greed, and man's jealous desire for that which he can never have. Yves Montand is outstanding in this gritty and unrelentingly suspenseful picture."
‑ Cole Smithey, Daily Radar
"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."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"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."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
""The Wages of Fear" is as much about manufactured fear as it is about the folly of courage that feeds on it."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Now seems much less like Salt of the Earth-as-a-potboiler and a lot more like the spiritual godfather to every testosterone-fuelled thrill ride since."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"One of the best existential thrillers ever made, Clouzot's 1952 film, which won the Cannes Fest Palme d'Or, is just as fresh, suspenseful, gritty and haunting today as it was decades ago; good companion piece to Clouzot's Diabolique."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for The Wages of Fear on Rotten Tomatoes