Trivia / Sorcerer

For the Sorcerer movie:

  • Box Office Bomb: Budget: $21-22 million. Box-Office: $5.9 million (domestic). $9 million (worldwide).
  • Creator Killer: William Friedkin lost his Auteur License with that movie, and had an irregular career afterwards.
  • Deleted Scene: A deleted scene shows Nilo, driving the truck when the truck suddenly comes to a very steep and bumpy road down a large hill. Scanlon quickly jumps to Nilo's side to help him steer as the truck descends the hill too fast while shaking violently. This scene was cut from the film but a clip of it still remains in the sequence towards the end where Scanlon has his emotional breakdown while driving and begins having flashbacks.
  • Executive Meddling: The film's European distributor released a radically altered cut called Wages of Fear to remind audiences about the source material. It was roughly a half-hour shorter than Friedkin's cut and rearranged the prologue to appear as flashbacks within the main story. Friedkin was not amused.
  • Referenced by...: When an episode of MacGyver was using the Nitro Express plot, it picked Sorcerer, rather than The Wages of Fear, since leaking nitro, hard terrain and old, run-down truck provided an excellent ground for MacGyvering.
  • Star-Making Role: While the movie tanked and killed Friedkin's career, it still put Tangerine Dream on the map for film industry, making them one of the most popular composers for the movies in The '80s.
  • Troubled Production:
    • It was supposed to be a "little 2.5 million in-between movie" by William Friedkin, particularly as he had just went through Hell with The Exorcist. Then he decided to go all the way, with four different locations, most prominently in Latin America, providing an antipode experience to what Coppola was facing in Southeast Asia with Apocalypse Now. Actors refused the movie even when they liked the script due to having to travel to Ecuador and Dominican Republic, and one of the eventual stars, Roy Scheider, was tougher with Friedkin than when they did The French Connection. The ten month shoot was described as "Friedkin took his camera crew to the jungle and never quite returned", with the crew being stricken by food poisoning and malaria - the latter including the director himself - and departures due to injury or gangrene; difficult stunts and effects, with at a certain point an arsonist being sent from NYC to help the pyrotechnics; and Friedkin firing a cinematographer, five production managers, and the trucker crew. It divided critics upon release and flopped at the box office, as along with the Non-Indicative Title ("Sorcerer" is the name given to one of the truck, not a wizard) and subtitles to alienate audiences, being released shortly after Star Wars (even replacing it at the Chinese Theater before demand made the space opera return) destroyed any chances. Still, Sorcerer has since been Vindicated by Cable and earned Cult Classic status.
    • The famous bridge scene was a complete disaster to make, as the first location turned unsuitable and required to move the production, build the bridge (greatly straining the budget) and right when the bridge was finished the entire area was struck by a drought, requiring to artificially create the storm and high water on the river. A helicopter was hovering few meters away from the bridge to create the illusion of strong wind. The entire sequence, lasting for about ten minutes, basically doubled the film budget and extended filming by two months. On the plus side, it still looks fantastic, especially in the restored Blu-ray edition.
  • Vindicated by History: Massive bomb panned by critics upon release, the film steadily started gaining recognition just few years after release. Then its VHS release helped a lot. By now, it's reached the point where it's considered better by both critics and audiences than the French original, which aged not so well.
  • What Could Have Been...:

For the Sorcerer pinball game: