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The Duellists (1977)

PG | | Drama, War | February 1978 (UK)
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2:11 | Clip

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A small feud between two Napoleonic officers evolves into a decades-long series of duels.

Director:

Writers:

(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

Cast overview, first billed only:
... d'Hubert
... Feraud
... Fouché
... Colonel
... Adèle
... Gen. Treillard
... Dr. Jacquin
... Chevalier
... Laura
... Lacourbe
Maurice Colbourne ... Second
Gay Hamilton ... Maid
... Léonie
... Mme. de Lionne
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

February 1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Los duelistas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Harvey Keitel was only available for this film because he had been released from Apocalypse Now (1979) which, like this film, was based on a Joseph Conrad novel. 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.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: STRASBOURG 1800 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) 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

 
Quest for honor in swordplay
21 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

How good this is caught me totally off guard, with 'Alien' and 'Bladerunner' I knew that Ridley Scott could turn out a good movie, but to do great sci-fi and then go on to a dueling duo in the times of the Napoleon wars is truly something.

Because of an insult Feraud cant seem to duel back his honor easily from D'Hubert and the obsession with which he keeps the feud alive has the determination of a true madman. D'Hubert has second thoughts all the time, but keeps bumping into Feraud a number of times during the passing of the Napoleon wars as they both serve in the army and for the sake of his honour he cant very well refuse to duel with him. Feraud on the other hand is ice cold and after revenge for something so small and silly that he probably has forgot.

Harvey Keitel fits perfectly as Feraud and together with his role in 'Bad Lieutenant' makes him a brilliant actor. Keith Carradine plays D'Hubert very convincing as well. To set them up against each other was a good idea.

Something that is often lost in bigger scale fight scenes is the tension and dynamics that is excellently brought forth here. From the stances and four - five - six powerful strikes afterwards one of them are potentially dead. In fact I don't know of fight scenes with as much power as seen here, though 'Gladiator' comes close. For pure action Ridley Scott is a master.

Without having read the book by Joseph Conrad it can truly be said that the script is a successful adaptation of it, one of many similar traits with 'Barry Lyndon'.

The outdoor scenes are so fresh that you feel the morning mist on your breath and the compositions has some sense of the art of the time, the sense that is also present when a stilleben of bread and wine is framed. Also similar to 'Barry Lyndon' is the fine use of the zoom lens. How this could be a debut is beyond me, but the other Scott, namely Tony also made a damn fine debut with 'The Hunger'. Too bad he couldn't follow up as Ridley did.

Flutes and violins add up to a perfect score.


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