“Sorcerer” opens disorientingly with four globetrotting vignettes introducing the main characters. In Mexico, the hired assassin Nilo (Francisco Rabal) calmly walks into an apartment and shoots at his target. In Israel, a group of Palestinians stage a terrorist attack in Jerusalem and are detained by the Israel Defense Forces; only Kassem (Amidou) manages to escape. Wealthy Parisian banker Victor Manzon (Bruno Cremer) faces financial ruin and jail when accused of fraud, forcing him to flee the country and leave behind his cosmopolitan lifestyle and his glamorous wife. Lastly, Jackie Scanlon (Roy Scheider), a crook from New Jersey, is forced to go on the run from the mob after a robbery goes disastrously wrong.
Assuming false identities and living in self-exile from their home countries, the four men hide out in a small town in Colombia. He is a miserable and dangerous existence, scraping a meager income and constantly looking over his shoulder. They are trapped, too poor to afford a better life anywhere else. Desperate, they take a dangerous job from a large American oil company that is an integral part of the region’s economy. An oil well has exploded and the only way to contain the fire is to seal the breach with dynamite. The only source of explosives is a dangerously unstable and poorly stored cache of nitroglycerin at a remote outpost more than 200 miles away.
The company needs four drivers prepared to risk their lives hauling the deadly cargo in two heavy trucks, knowing full well that the slightest vibration could cause the sticks to explode. The route ahead is treacherous and fraught with potential disaster as they traverse thick jungle, fallen trees, bandits, tropical storms, and a river that crosses over an ancient rope bridge.