The Wages of Fear

Watch The Wages of Fear

"Dynamic Tremendous Shattering."
  • NR
  • 1953
  • 2 hr 28 min
  • 8.2  (64,932)
  • 85

The 1953 thriller, The Wages of Fear, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, is a gripping cinematic experience that leaves a lasting impression on its viewers. Set in a remote oil-drilling town in Latin America, the movie follows the lives of four desperate men who agree to transport two trucks filled with highly explosive nitroglycerin to an oil field that is engulfed in flames. The stakes are high, and the journey is perilous. One wrong move could mean an instant death for the four men, who have no other choice but to put their lives on the line and take on this deadly task for a hefty wage.

The film opens with a stark depiction of the harsh living conditions in the impoverished village of Las Piedras. The majority of the population is made up of oil rig workers who live in constant fear of being laid off. Amidst this desperation, four men, Mario (Yves Montand), Luigi (Folco Lulli), Bimba (Peter van Eyck), and Jo (Charles Vanel), are selected for a risky job that could change their lives forever.

The film's first half highlights the characters' bleak lives and the agony they feel. There's Mario, a tough, handsome drifter who wants to leave town and start anew; Luigi, a simple cook who believes that he deserves better; Bimba, a German ex-Nazi who hides his past and craves for redemption, and Jo, a middle-aged man who has been away from home for too long and wants to go back to his wife and child.

The second half of the film follows the four men as they embark on the dangerous journey to transport the nitroglycerin. The journey is filled with perilous obstacles, including treacherous roads, rickety bridges, and bumpy terrain. The tension is palpable as the audience watches the men navigate through hair-raising challenges, including oil spills and tight turns. Clouzot's skillful direction and camera work make the audience feel like they are in the trucks right alongside the characters, experiencing every moment of panic and fear.

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie involves the truck slowly making its way over an old wooden bridge that creaks with every pass. The scene is masterfully executed and incredibly tense, with the sound effects of the truck, rain falling on the trucks, and the creaking bridge, all building up the suspense.

The Wages of Fear is a slow-burn thriller that demands patience and attention from its audience. The movie's quiet, contemplative moments are just as crucial to the story as its heart-stopping action scenes. The four lead actors deliver nuanced and powerful performances that bring intensity and depth to their characters. Yves Montand, in particular, is mesmerizing as Mario, conveying his character's brooding intensity with just a few piercing gazes and a clenched jaw. Meanwhile, Charles Vanel plays the heart and soul of the group as Jo, a man who can't hide his fear but rises to the occasion when it matters most.

The film's black-and-white visuals add a layer of bleakness and hopelessness to the story, underscoring the characters' dire predicament. There's an element of fatalism that looms over the entire movie, with the message being that when one is desperate enough, one's choices are limited, and the consequences of those actions can be deadly.

In conclusion, The Wages of Fear is a masterfully crafted thriller that stands the test of time. It's a movie that leaves a lasting impact on its audience, with its suspenseful sequences, memorable characters, and overall message about the dangers of desperation. If you're a fan of classic cinema or just looking for a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then The Wages of Fear is a must-watch.

The Wages of Fear is a 1953 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.2 and a MetaScore of 85.

The Wages of Fear
Where to Watch The Wages of Fear
The Wages of Fear is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Max and Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The Wages of Fear for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (64,932)
  • Metascore