Tarantino and Coppola Take Us Through Friedkin's Practical Effects in 'Sorcerer'

Tarantino and Coppola talk about why 'Sorcerer' is a classic to them.
'Sorcerer'Credit: Universal Pictures/Paramount Pictures
Imagine releasing a masterpiece and having it overshadowed by one of the most famous blockbusters of all time.

The career of outspoken and exciting director William Friedkin is one of the most fascinating in Hollywood. He's a firebrand who pushed back on studios, did things his way, and gave some of the best interviews of all time.

Seriously, the guy never holds back and delivers the best snippets. It's hard to pick a favorite movie he's done, but I would have to say Sorcerer holds a special place in my heart because it's audacious and stunning.

Friedkin's Sorcerer had the unfortunate timing to premiere the same weekend as a little movie called Star Wars. While that movie overshadowed it in every way, every year I've heard of new people finding Sorcerer and falling in love with the thriller.

Recently, I came across this tweet from All the Right Movies, which features a clip of Quentin Tarantino and Francis Ford Coppola waxing philosophic about Friedkin's Sorcerer.

Check it out below.

Tarantino and Coppola both hold Sorcerer in high regard and consider it a classic of its genre.

Tarantino has been quoted as saying that Sorcerer is a "masterpiece" and that it is one of his favorite films. He has also praised Friedkin's direction and the film's suspenseful atmosphere.

Coppola has also spoken highly of Sorcerer, praising its cinematography, soundtrack, and overall production design. He has called it a "great movie" and a "forgotten classic."

Both filmmakers acknowledge the influence that Sorcerer has had on their work and considered it to be a major influence on the action and suspense genres.

In the clip, both those directors laud Friedkin for doing something extraordinary and then shooting it.

Tarantino and Coppola talk about why 'Sorcerer' is a classic to them.
'Sorcerer'Credit: Universal Pictures/Paramount Pictures

What Practical Effects Were Used in Sorcerer?

As Friedkin explains it, all of the effects in the film are all practical effects that he meticulously planned and oversaw. He preferred to use physical effects over computer-generated imagery whenever possible, as he believed it created a more realistic and tangible sense of danger for the audience.

Some of the practical effects used in Sorcerer include:

  1. Miniature Models: Friedkin used miniature models to create many of the film's explosive sequences, including the film's iconic truck crash.
  2. Stunt Work: The film's many dangerous sequences, including the truck and bridge sequences, were performed by real stunt drivers and performers.
  3. Special Effects: Friedkin used pyrotechnics and other special effects to create realistic explosions and fire.
  4. Physical Sets: The film's extensive use of real sets, including a full-size truck rig, helped to create a more immersive and tangible world for the audience.

Overall, Friedkin's use of practical effects in Sorcerer helped to create a more intense and realistic experience for the audience, and it remains one of the film's most enduring elements.

The most famous of these awe-inspiring scenes is the truck crossing the bridge. As Friedkin tells it, he had hydraulics under the bridge, making it sway.

Then, the trucks were physically attached to the bridge as well. While a few fell in while shooting, they ultimately got the shot they needed, and that one shot that will live in infamy.

Let us know what you think in the comments.       

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Your Comment


"He preferred to use physical effects over computer-generated imagery whenever possible."

You are an ignorant idiot if you think they used computer generated imagery in movies back in 1977.

Quite the ignorant.

February 10, 2023 at 6:17AM, Edited February 10, 6:17AM


Speaking of ignorant, you should look in the mirror. The first use of CGI was in 1973's Westworld. Know what else used CGI? Starwars in 1977 used it for the Death Star diagram.

But the comment in the article is clearly about his views on CGI in general. So if you want to find an idiot, you just have to look at yourself.

February 10, 2023 at 7:06AM


That post may be pointlessly hostile but is historically correct. Your internet sourcing is wrong. There was no CGI in the 1970s nor was there CGI in Westworld or StarWars. Those films had animated Computer Generated GRAPHICS playing on display screens. Not Computer Generated Imagery enhancing or creating photographic images. Important difference.

February 23, 2023 at 12:09PM

M Chubb

The film features several scenes with explosions and fire, which were achieved through the use of practical pyrotechnic effects.


February 10, 2023 at 7:22PM

edmon dpogi

Wow, people, why are we so unnecessarily harsh on here? Ad hominem attacks generally discredit the writer. That said, "infamy" is a pejorative meaning, not a superlative.

February 11, 2023 at 8:00AM

Bob Curry
Actor/College Instructor

Sorcerer has always been one of my favorite movies. The bridge scene is stunning in its execution and will keep most on the edges of their seats. A forever classic.

February 11, 2023 at 3:03PM