Four seedy criminal outcasts risk their lives in pursuit of redemption, both legal and moral, by driving unreliable trucks stocked with nitroglycerine through dangerous landscape to cap an oil well fire in a Central American banana republic. Featuring a trance-like score by Tangerine Dream and a visceral, astonishing performance by Roy Scheider, Friedkin's reinterpretation of Clouzot’s 1953 masterpiece is perhaps the best remake of all time and is among Friedkin’s most daring works. Three sequences alone – a chaotic car crash in New Jersey, the unloading of charred bodies in a Central American village, and the explosives laden trucks crossing a rickety storm-blown bridge – render Sorcerer a classic and retain their power to make audiences gasp. Released the same year as Star Wars, Friedkin's audacious masterpiece represents the braver road abandoned by the studio system.
As with his earlier police dramas, Friedkin explores the skewed morality of the armed forces in this gripping thriller about a retired government agent brought back by the F.B.I. to track his former protégé, an assassin whose wartime experiences have left him murderously unhinged. Stripping their characters to the barest essentials, Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro engage in scenes of almost primitive physicality, with hand-to-hand fight sequences choreographed in Friedkin’s trademark documentary style. The Hunted is driven by Jones’ relentless energy and muscular filmmaking that showed that Friedkin—even in his 60s—had not lost his visceral touch.