A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Richard Matheson (screenplay), Richard Matheson (story)
Reviews
Popularity
1,596 ( 248)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dennis Weaver ... David Mann
Jacqueline Scott ... Mrs. Mann
Eddie Firestone ... Cafe Owner
Lou Frizzell ... Bus Driver
Gene Dynarski ... Man in Cafe
Lucille Benson ... Lady at Snakerama
Tim Herbert ... Gas Station Attendant
Charles Seel ... Old Man
Shirley O'Hara ... Waitress
Alexander Lockwood Alexander Lockwood ... Old Man in Car
Amy Douglass Amy Douglass ... Old Woman in Car
Dick Whittington Dick Whittington ... Radio Interviewer (voice)
Carey Loftin ... The Truck Driver (as Cary Loftin)
Dale Van Sickel ... Car Driver (as Dale VanSickle)
Edit

Storyline

While traveling through the desert for an appointment with a client, the businessman David Mann from California passes a slow and old tanker truck. The psychotic truck driver feels offended and chases David along the empty highway trying to kill him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the headlights of a truck become the eyes of a psychopath. See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Steven Spielberg had considered Jean-Louis Trintignant for the David Mann part. He also wanted him for the role of the French scientist in " Close Encounters of the Third Kind ". See more »

Goofs

During the scene at the railway crossing, in one shot the lettering on the freight cars appears in mirror image. (It is not possible that we're seeing a reflection in the rear view mirror, as the train is in front of the car and still seems to be moving the right way anyway). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[radio playing, driving down the road, approaches the truck]
[David coughs, coughs again]
David Mann: Talk about pollution.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The man with the sandwich is referred to as "Hoagy Man". See more »

Alternate Versions

The 5.1 remix that's provided on both the DVD and Blu-ray release contains new sound effects for the engine sounds, along with several other small sound effects throughout the film (though the original mono mix is provided as well in DTS-HD 2.0). Plus the Blu-ray is presented in a matted 1.85:1 ratio to closer represent what was shown in theaters during its limited theatrical release, rather than the 1.33:1 broadcast ratio shown on ABC in 1971. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinemassacre's Top 10 Car Chases (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Brush Those Tears from Your Eyes
(uncredited)
Written by Al Trace (as Clem Watts), Oakley Haldeman and James Lee
Published by MCA Music (ASCAP)
See more »

User Reviews

Road Rage, Spielberg style.
3 November 2004 | by jaywolfenstienSee all my reviews

From the opening credits, where we see a POV of David Mann's car pulling out of his driveway off to who-knows-where, the viewer knows their in for something special. Indeed, Duel is something special. It's essentially a 90 minute chase with the occasional brief intermissions for scenery change. This could get old really quick, and indeed it does get old . . . but I can't help but watch in amazement and observe how long Spielberg kept me engaged in just two vehicles on open roads.

And interestingly enough, ten minutes after the film started boring me it recaptured my interest for the breathtaking finale.

After Duel, the Creeper truck and the semi from JoyRide are pushovers. This is the Freddy Krueger of vehicles, and the truck (not its driver) is treated as the bad guy. I particularly loved when the truck was shot in silhouette through the tunnel - beautiful and haunting composition. Also the shots where the camera pulls around Mann's car and travels parallel up along the truck – simply put, 'awesome cinematography.' The high number of interesting shots (on location, no less) of the truck chasing Mann is what really drives this film forward. It takes a long time for this particular flair and flavor of film to get boring.

Dennis Weaver plays his part of David extremely well; unfortunately, I didn't much care for the spineless middle-class Joe-shmo character on the page. I think part of my dislike comes from those annoying internal monologues that were totally unnecessary. It's always been a cheap gimmick in my mind, and Weaver truly communicates those emotions without the added soundtrack. Still, despite a character that I did not like, Duel managed to keep me engaged in the story . . . strangely enough.

Earlier I spoke of brief intermissions from the chase; notice I didn't say the tension is eased up here. Spielberg finds ways to lace these breathers with suspense through the presence of the truck (still, more to do with the truck itself than the driver). And really, it's through these intermissions that we meet other (very colorful) characters who make quite an impact considering their bit parts (then again, maybe it's due to the fact that juxtaposed to an empty desert any character is colorful).

I appreciate the lack of any real information, lack of a motive, lack of background story on Mann, very little info (if any) on Mann's destination. I do, however, think Spielberg went just a bit too far with the ambiguity; however, that's a very minor complaint that I don't care to dwell on. Sure a few points needed to be touched on more, but then again the Freddy Krueger of diesel trucks is chasing you, are you really going to stop and ask it a question?

I wish the character emotions had taken the same route instead of feeding the audience those redundant internal monologues. Oh well, there's a fun contrast for you.

In my review of T3, I wrote 'I wonder what director will be the first to direct the very first film composed solely of one action scene?' Spielberg comes pretty damn close, and the funny thing is his 60+ minutes of chase footage is more interesting than the new millennium's 10+ minute chases. Rock on Steven!


48 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 392 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Duel See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$450,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,544
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed