Parents' Guide to

The Duellists

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

19th-century period drama has swordplay, guns, blood.

Movie PG 1978 100 minutes
The Duellists movie poster

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Notable as the movie debut of Ridley Scott, this 1977 period war drama tells a quietly unnerving story of two men whose obsession with one another needlessly threatens their existence. Cast as members of the 19th-century French cavalry, Keitel and Carradine quickly embody the The Duellists' unassuming d'Hubert and volatile Feraud, both of whom are proud to a fault. We see their mutual dislike simmer across two decades and different countries, before reaching a conclusion that entwines their fates.

Given the stellar trajectory of Scott's directing career (which includes Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator, among many others), The Duellists is now mainly referred to as a piece of moviemaking history. Shot on a budget with no special effects, it established Scott's eye for telling the human stories that cut through his big-budget smash hits. But its tale of hubris and frailty still endures, thanks to a talented assembly of cast and crew.

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