7.6/10
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383 user 132 critic

Duel (1971)

Clip
3:08 | Clip
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
1,901 ( 242)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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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)
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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:

Dennis Weaver in the ultimate highway NIGHTMARE! See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steven Spielberg wanted David Mann's car to be red so it would stand out in the wide shots of the desert highways. See more »

Goofs

The weather changes from clear and sunny to dark clouds and back to clear and sunny towards the end of the movie when David Mann's car starts conking out on him. See more »

Quotes

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

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

Alternate Versions

Another new scene, where Weaver stops at a gas station and phones his wife, was written by producer George Eckstein to inflate the running time to the requested 90 minutes. This was reportedly done against Spielberg's wishes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Gift for Christmas (2017) 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)
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User Reviews

The ultimate car chase movie...
9 August 2000 | by keihanSee all my reviews

Leave it to prosemaster extraordinaire, Richard Matheson (a favorite of mine and the man Stephen King acknowledges as being his biggest influence), to come up a premise so simple yet so believable and terrifying that the viewer will never look at an eighteen-wheeler the same way ever again...and leave it to cinematic wunderkind, Stephen Spielburg, to do right by Matheson's script and win acclaim in the bargain.

Though some may argue that "Bullit", "Vanishing Point", or maybe even the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" could be called the ultimate car chase movie, "Duel" deserves this designation better because it does something none of the above films can claim. The story literally starts on the road and ends on the road. No location in the entire film is ever out of sight of the highway and, in spite of the brief conversation with the wife, virtually nothing else happens outside the highway. For David Mann (played adequately enough by Dennis Weaver) and the monster truck he's trying to get away from, the road and everything alongside it is their entire universe. Nothing else of importance exists outside of it.

Though it's never mentioned in the film, this would seem to take place on the California highways. When I went out there about eight years ago, I went down roads that seemed to be not too dissimiliar to the ones shown here. They seemed to stretch on forever, no vestiges of civilization in sight for miles. Spielburg uses this setting to great advantage. Being in your car in a crowded city intersection is one thing, but on those highways with nothing but your car and a homicidal maniac in a diesel for miles? The isolation factor that cars naturally produce jumps up a thousand percent. The radiator hose problem made me think of many other times that I had similar troubles with cars I've had. Of course, I never had someone trying to kill me at the time, but...

Anyone looking for drama, character development, or all the other elements that pseudo-critics point out as the mark of cinematic excellence are liable to be disappointed by "Duel". It's what King described in "Danse Macabre" as a Tale of the Hook. It's only purpose is to scare the hell out of you. Damn if it doesn't work. THAT'S the mark of a classic.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Duel See more »

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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 »

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