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The Passengers (1977)

Les passagers (original title)
A man and his stepson driving across Europe are terrorized by a man following them in a pickup truck.


Serge Leroy


Christopher Frank (adaptation), Dean R. Koontz (novel) (as K.R. Dwyer) | 1 more credit »


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Credited cast:
Jean-Louis Trintignant ... Alex Moineau
Mireille Darc ... Nicole
Bernard Fresson ... Fabio
Richard Constantini Richard Constantini ... Marc
Adolfo Celi ... Boetani
Angela Goodwin Angela Goodwin
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Georges Audoubert ... Le policier français
Yves Barsacq Yves Barsacq
Francesca Benedetti Francesca Benedetti
Rosine Cadoret Rosine Cadoret
Gianfilippo Carcano Gianfilippo Carcano
Philippe Chauveau Philippe Chauveau
Alberto Crosco Alberto Crosco
Duccio Dugoni Duccio Dugoni
Riziero Emidi Riziero Emidi


A man and his stepson driving across Europe are terrorized by a man following them in a pickup truck.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


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France | Italy



Release Date:

9 March 1977 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Intruder See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Composer Éric Demarsan did a score for the film which was rejected. On July 8, 2014, Music Box Records released the score on CD (also paired with the replacement score by Claude Bolling), limited to 500 copies. See more »


Le Camion
Written and Performed by Claude Bolling
See more »

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User Reviews

Exciting thriller inspired by Spielberg's DUEL
15 August 2018 | by adrian-43767See all my reviews

Trintignant is always a pleasure to watch, certainly one the best actors French cinema ever produced, so I was very interested to see LES PASSAGERS (1977), which ran in English-speaking countries with a dubbed version entitled THE INTRUDER. I guess the latter was Bernard Fresson, who is also very good in his part as a psychopathic killer- The character played by Fresson has apparently had a relationship with Mireille Darc, recently married to Trintignant, and the latter is returning home in the company of her son (his stepson, therefore).

Is Fresson the young boy's father? The film does not explain that point, and that is a big minus. What is clear is that Fresson and Darc were lovers in the past. In his schizophrenia, Fresson thinks he is having a conversation with Darc is in his Ford truck as he pursues and then attacks Trintignant and stepson in their little Renault (great publicity for the elastique, fantastique model of 1976, which probably paid for the picture).

The chase sequences are well done but I was not convinced that Trintignant's character was so financially poor that he could not afford to hire or even buy a second hand vehicle, instead of driving some 300 miles with a child, in the night, without a front windscreen, in very cold winter conditions, and in a clearly unsafe vehicle, after being so brutally bashed about.

Although Adolfo Celi is OK in his role as Italian police chief, he seems easily sidetracked by irrelevant considerations, such as whether Trintignant's character was an extreme rightwinger, or member of OAS, to determine why he is being chased by someone he never met before. Celi is also much too easily convinced that the attacker was killed in a vehicle accident.

But if Italian police officers generally look unfit for their profession, their French counterparts win hands down in terms of sheer stupidity and lack of professionalism, and Fresson beats Trintignant to Darc, possibly forces intercourse (Trintignant does not seem to get to know about it), and then there is a shootout, and, finally, the main concern is where the kid has disappeared to.

It is a pity that the ending is so wayward and unbelievable, because for about three quarters, LES PASSAGERS is quite engrossing in spite of the above listed credibility holes.

Direction is not particularly inspired and seems to borrow from Steven Spielberg's DUEL (1971), the difference being that the pursuing vehicle is driven by a deranged human, whereas in DUEL for a long time it seems that the truck has a murderous will of its own, and you never get to see more than the human driver's arm.

LES PASSAGERS' cinematography is good in parts, especially the chase sequences, and unremarkable in others.

Trintignant and Fresson are definitely the film's greatest assets and they are well worth watching.

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