The plot of William Friedkin's suspense thriller originated with the same Georges Arnaud novel that inspired Henri-Georges Clouzot's French suspense classic The Wages of Fear (1953). Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, and Amidou play four men who, for various reasons, cannot return to their own countries.
They end up in a dismal South American town where an American oil company is seeking out courageous drivers willing to haul nitroglycerin over 200 miles of treacherous terrain. The four stateless men have nothing to lose -- and, besides, they'll be paid 10,000 dollars apiece, and be granted legal citizenship, if they survive.
The suspense is almost unbearable at times, even outdistancing the tension level of The Wages of Fear in certain scenes. Sorcerer had all the earmarks of a moneymaker, but this picture bombed for a rather odd and silly reason: its glaringly inappropriate title.
Fans of Friedkin's The Exorcist may have gone home disappointed that not one sorcerer ever rears its ugly head.