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The Duellists (1977)

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



(screenplay), (story "The Duel")

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gen. Treillard
Dr. Jacquin
Maurice Colbourne ...
Gay Hamilton ...
Mme. de Lionne
Alan Webb ...


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
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Did You Know?


Cristina Raines, who played D'Hubert's wife, was Keith Carradine's girlfriend at the time. He suggested her for the part partly because she would have been on the set with him anyway. See more »


In the opening scene, Harvey Keitel's character's sword strikes home in the upper chest (near the heart) of his opponent, then the film cuts to a side view of the opponent depicting the sword as having entered his stomach area. 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.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: STRASBOURG 1800 See more »


Featured in Film 2016: Episode dated 10 December 2014 (2014) 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

definitely worth watching
14 May 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Seems this film has left most viewers with only positive comments to make (quite rare actually). I agree with most of them.

This is a very believable film and is beautiful to watch in parts thanks to Scott's eye for design and natural beauty, esepecially regarding the use of light.

I was mesmerised to know how it was all going to end. I was so sure it was going to end tragically but then was surprised and elevated by the ending that showed the richness & depth of the human experience. I believe there's some meaning for us all in this movie. And I got to hear about this movie by accident!

An amazing quality of a film overall when you read about it's history, which was almost not made!


25 of 31 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
Anyone know what the Cossack said . . . joscco
Another view on the Duellists. fistjedi
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