8.1/10
46,791
156 user 129 critic

Le salaire de la peur (1953)

In a decrepit South American village, four men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Writers:

Georges Arnaud (novel), Henri-Georges Clouzot (adaptation) (as H.G. Clouzot) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Top Rated Movies #200 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Demonen (1955)
Certificate: 18 Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal hatch a plan to murder him while having the perfect alibi. They carry out the plan...but then his body disappears.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
Certificate: 18 Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A waifish prostitute wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Franca Marzi
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley
Certificate: AL Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
La poison (1951)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Through a series of circumstances and plot twists an enterprising man manages to get away with murdering his wife, even though he cheerfully admits his guilt in court.

Director: Sacha Guitry
Stars: Michel Simon, Jean Debucourt, Jacques Varennes
Ikiru (1952)
Certificate: 12 Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend's father's pocketwatch.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton
Paper Moon (1973)
Certificate: 14 Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal, Madeline Kahn
Andrei Rublev (1966)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stars: Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolay Grinko
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Yves Montand ... Mario
Charles Vanel ... M. Jo
Folco Lulli Folco Lulli ... Luigi
Peter van Eyck ... Bimba (as Peter Van Eyck)
Véra Clouzot ... Linda (as Vera Clouzot)
William Tubbs William Tubbs ... Bill O'Brien
Darío Moreno ... Hernandez (as Dario Moreno)
Jo Dest Jo Dest ... Smerloff
Antonio Centa ... Camp Chief (as Centa)
Luis De Lima Luis De Lima ... Bernardo
Grégoire Gromoff Grégoire Gromoff
Joseph Palau-Fabre Joseph Palau-Fabre
Faustini Faustini
Seguna Seguna
Darling Légitimus Darling Légitimus ... (as Miss Darling)
Edit

Storyline

In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerin are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers and on the rough remote roads the slightest jolt can result in death. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pictured in Life Magazine as Picture of the Week (original USA/Canada posters) See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | English | Spanish | German | Italian | Russian

Release Date:

22 April 1953 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Lohn der Angst See more »

Filming Locations:

Poulx, Gard, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (director's cut) (2017 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Henri-Georges Clouzot originally planned on shooting the film in Spain, but Yves Montand refused to work in Spain as long as fascist dictator Francisco Franco was in power. Filming took place instead in the south of France, near Saint-Gilles, in the Camargue. The village seen in the film was built from scratch. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, when Jo is leaning against Mario in the cab of the truck, the oil smear on Mario's right cheek changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Mario: When someone else is driving, I'm scared.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original uncensored release in France ran 152 minutes. The so-called "director's cut" runs 148 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Valentine
Music by Henri Christiné
Whistled by Yves Montand and Charles Vanel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Macho naturalism extraordinaire
7 May 2002 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

This is an extraordinary movie. From the opening scene showing the squalor of a Latin American town with filth and vultures in the street and naked children begging for food amid the oppressive, fly-stirred heat, to the finale on a winding mountain road, it is just plain fascinating. True, some of the action does not bear close scrutiny. One does not siphon nitroclycerine nor does one avoid potholes or bumps in the road by driving at forty miles per hour. No matter. Let's allow a little license. And the title doesn't entirely make sense because the wages of sin are death, but the wages of those who followed their fear and did not seek to drive a nitroclycerine truck over 300 miles of bad road are life. Again, no matter.

This is such an original movie, every scene like little or nothing you've ever seen before (and for sure will never see again), that the little inconsistencies and some stretching of what is possible are not important. This is man against nature, man against himself reduced to a simple task. It is life in the raw. One mistake and you are dead.

Yves Montand has the lead as Mario, a Frenchman stranded in this god-forsaken town with only one way out: get enough money to pay for airfare. Charles Vanel is the older, tin-horn dandy who ends up with a case of the shakes. Peter Van Eyck is the man with the nerves of steel who finds this little adventure a piece of cake after forced labor in the salt mines for the Nazis. And Folco Lulli is Luigi, the happy, singing baker who hopes to return to Italy with the two thousand dollars they are paying him to drive the nitro-loaded truck.

This is a film depicting the primitive nature of a macho mentality. There's a lot of posturing. Every event is a potential test of manhood. Status and privilege are flouted. The weak and the poor do not inherit the earth.

Henri-Georges Clouzet directs and somehow manages to come up with a work of genius. One wonders how. The story, on the face of it, would seem to belong in the slush pile of a ten-cent pulp fiction mag from the 1930's. The acting is good, very good in places, but not great. The cinematography is straightforward, but nonetheless very effective. It is lean and focused always, showing us what needs to be seen without drawing attention to itself: the invisible style, which is the best. Clouzet's direction is characterized by a vivid depiction of things that we can feel: the mud and filth in the streets, the desperation and the boredom, the cruelty and meanness of men, the oil on their bodies, the singular fact of a ton of nitro in the back seat so that every move is a neuron-exposing adventure. I think that the visceral experience from beginning to end and the fine pacing are the essence of what makes this a great film.

Clouzet's wife, Vera Clouzet, plays Linda who first appears scrubbing the floor in an open-air bistro. She is rather extraordinary herself, finely made up and creamy white like a star of the silent film era. She grovels a lot, especially for Mario. She provides the counter-point, the contrast for the testosterone action of the movie.

No student of film should miss this. It would be like missing Citizen Kane or Dr. Strangelove or especially The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which it vaguely and strangely resembles. "La salaire de la peur" is, regardless of its flaws, one of the best ever made.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


112 of 159 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 156 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed