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The Duellists (1977)

PG | | Drama, War | February 1978 (UK)
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2:12 | Clip
France, 1801. Due to a minor, perceived slight mild-mannered Lieutenant d'Hubert is forced into a duel with the hot-headed, irrational Lieutenant Feraud. The disagreement ultimately results in scores of duels, spanning several years.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

Gerald Vaughan-Hughes (screenplay), Joseph Conrad (story "The Duel")
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith Carradine ... Armand d'Hubert
Harvey Keitel ... Gabriel Feraud
Albert Finney ... Fouché
Edward Fox ... Colonel
Cristina Raines ... Adèle
Robert Stephens ... Gen. Treillard
Tom Conti ... Dr. Jacquin
John McEnery ... Amiable Second
Diana Quick ... Laura
Alun Armstrong ... Lacourbe
Maurice Colbourne Maurice Colbourne ... Tall Second
Gay Hamilton Gay Hamilton ... Maid
Meg Wynn Owen ... Léonie
Jenny Runacre ... Mme. de Lionne
Alan Webb Alan Webb ... Chevalier
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

February 1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Duellists See more »

Filming Locations:

Aquitaine, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cinematic directorial debut of Ridley Scott. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

References Sanjuro (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Bist du bei mir
(uncredited)
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)

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!


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