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The Duellists (1977)

PG  |   |  Drama, War  |  December 1977 (UK)
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A duel between two feuding Napoleonic officers eventually evolves into a decades-long series of duels, after each bout - for various reasons - ends unresolved.



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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Set during the grand, sweeping Napoleonic age, an officer in the French army insults another officer and sets off a life-long enmity. The two officers, D'Hubert and Feraud, cross swords time and time again in an attempt to achieve justice and preserve their honor. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fencing is a science. Loving is a passion. Duelling is an obsession.


Drama | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

December 1977 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Duellists  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$900,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Screenwriter Gregory Widen stated in an interview that the film was his inspiration behind the 1986 film "Highlander". See more »


(at around 1h 23 mins) Faraud, loading his pistol, drops a ball into the barrel and then rams it into place. When the ball drops,a metallic sound is heard, indicating that there is no powder in the barrel. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: The duellist demands satisfaction. Honour, for him, is an appetite. This story is about an eccentric kind of hunger. It is a true story and begins in the year that Napoleon Bonaparte became ruler of France.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: STRASBOURG 1800 See more »


Featured in Ahate pasa (2010) See more »


Bist du bei mir
Music by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel
(from "Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach" No. 25. BWV 508)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

the best understanding of Napoleon's age ever (thanks to Conrad)
15 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The best issue about this movie, other than, of course, the aesthetic perfection, is its absolute fidelity to Conrad's short novel. I think this is very good in the movie because the book is so good, and it would have made no sense try to change it in the least way, as it often happens when movies come out of books (for example, Kubrick always made his films somehow look different from the books they are taken from, and I should say often improved them, but in many other cases it's true the opposite). It's noteworthy saying that in another, more popular, Ridley Scott's movie such as Blade Runner, always derived from a novel, important changes have been made from the original story ( in that case, all the part about the 'empathy' religion doesn't appear in the movie, and I think it was a good choice to omit it). But ' The Duelists' had to stick to the book! The point about the Duelists is all about the rich simplicity of its being a movie: Ridley Scott just takes the story as it is, and it's a damn good one, and he tells it to us in the best possible way, with an incredible attention to the graphical details (the duel scenes are just one better than the other), and an amazing use of the camera (the boxing scene, the horse riding duel). Now, going back to the story, in less than 100 pages, Conrad managed in explaining everything about the great illusion of Napoleon's empire, without the emperor ever appearing in it. It's incredible how he managed making the ever lasting duel between the two officials a great metaphor of that age, still keeping the two characters real and alive. The movie gives you all this. Watch it!

36 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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D'Hubert + Foot Soldier in Russia? wogerdodger
What was the point of this movie? steatoda
How does this compare to Scott's other work? samuel-84
Why take rivals' name off death llist? rsr26
Another view on the Duellists. fistjedi
The Music For Christ Sake.... sid_ssw_a
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