Alexander Walker’s review published on Letterboxd:
Travelling along extremely perilous terrain in an effort to transport dynamite becomes a titanic struggle for four capricious men in this enthralling cult classic.
After the film's frenetically paced first half full of carnage and mayhem, we hit the road and watch Jackie( Roy Scheider), Victor( Bruno Cremer), Kassem( Amidou) and Nilo( Francisco Rabal) as they occupy 2 sturdy trucks that lumber along well worn concrete and a fragile looking bridge. William Friedkin omits anything that could be an extraneous distraction, so dialogue is minimal and character development is limited. Even the terrific atmospheric soundtrack from Tangerine Dream is quiet and unobtrusive.
This is a tale of people fighting against the hostility of nature, where trees collapse without warning and torrential rainstorms hit with great ferocity. And aside from Nilo, a sadist with an evil cackle, watching this motley crew trying not to get blown up whilst battling the elements causes the viewer to root for these people. As they travel to their destination every crack and bend in the road is shown as a potential hazard, with Friedkin able to build considerable tension and excitement.
One of Friedkin's personal favourites of his films which was not surprisingly very difficult to make and was a box office flop in a year which saw a change in the cinematic landscape as audiences became preoccupied with the emergence of escapist fantasies a`la 'Star Wars.' It now feels like one of the great films of the 1970s, a descent into a heart of darkness that is infinitely more thrilling than the vast majority of much more financially successful action/adventure films that have been made since.