Duellists

( 4 )

Overview

The Duellists is based on a story by Joseph Conrad, variously titled The Duel and The Point of Honour. Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel play officers in Napoleon's army -- D'Hubert and Feraud, respectively -- who spend their off-hours challenging each other to bloody duels. This goes on for nearly 16 years, with neither man showing any inclination of calling a truce. The final clash finds the gentlemanly D'Hubert getting the upper hand of the obsessed Feraud -- but that's not quite the end of the story. The ...
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Overview

The Duellists is based on a story by Joseph Conrad, variously titled The Duel and The Point of Honour. Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel play officers in Napoleon's army -- D'Hubert and Feraud, respectively -- who spend their off-hours challenging each other to bloody duels. This goes on for nearly 16 years, with neither man showing any inclination of calling a truce. The final clash finds the gentlemanly D'Hubert getting the upper hand of the obsessed Feraud -- but that's not quite the end of the story. The Duellists was the debut feature for director Ridley Scott; it won the Cannes Film Festival prize for Best First Film.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The Duellists 1977 may look an awful lot like Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon 1975, but first-time feature director Ridley Scott can hardly be faulted for picking such a sumptuous model. Based on a Joseph Conrad story yet also structured around a series of duels like Barry Lyndon, adman -- and camera operator -- Scott turned The Duellists into a lusciously photographed spectacle of Napoleon-era France, complete with chiaroscuro interiors and painterly landscapes akin to Kubrick's vision of 18th century England. Along with the almost palpable visual atmosphere, particularly in the ice-cold sequence of Napoleon's Russian campaign, the kinetic dueling scenes between Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel revealed Scott's well-honed control over the medium long before Gladiator 2000. Though Carradine and Keitel might not seem the obvious choices to play French army officers, their pointlessly adversarial relationship becomes as metaphorically effective as the actors' surroundings in communicating the psychic fallout of war and politics. Critically hailed as one of the most beautiful films of the year, The Duellists won Scott the Best First Film prize at the Cannes Film Festival and earned a BAFTA nomination for cinematographer Frank Tidy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/19/1994
  • UPC: 097360897531
  • Original Release: 1977
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Keith Carradine D'Hubert
Harvey Keitel Feraud
Cristina Raines Adele
Edward Fox Col. Reynard
Robert Stephens Treillard
John McEnery 2nd Major
Albert Finney Fouche
Diana Quick Laura
Alun Armstrong Lecourbe
Maurice Colbourne Tall Second
Tom Conti Dr. Jacquin
Matthew Guinness
Gay Hamilton Maid
Meg Wynn Owen Leonie
Jenny Runacre Mme. de Lionne
Alan Webb Chevalier
Technical Credits
Ridley Scott Director
Howard Blake Score Composer
Michael Bradsell Editor
Bryan Graves Art Director
Peter J. Hampton Production Designer
Pamela Power Editor
David Puttnam Producer
Tom Rand Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Tidy Cinematographer
Gerald Vaughn-Hughes Screenwriter
Joseph Conrad Source Author
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent Film!

    Ridley Scott's first film starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel exploring the concepts of honor, belligerence, and duels in the context of 19th century France during the Napoleanic Wars. Carradine and Keitel play the roles of two French officers in Napoleon's army engaged in a perpetual series of duels lasting over 20 years. The plot tension of endless duels reflects the ongoing thematic clash between belligerence and honor and how each feeds the other. Each character mirrors the opposite side of the spectrum of belligerence and honor throughout the story until the end. Keitel, in one of his best roles, plays a belligerent officer whose ego seeks to establish honor by sheer agression; no pretext is too small or absurd for him to fight a duel to the death. Caradine is his antagonist who will defend his honor to the last; even where the pretext of insult is so groundless to be even too comical to fight over. A parrallel theme is shown between Keitel's belligerent character and Napoleon's imperialistic egotism. At the end, Keitel's character is the one who remains a loyal supporter of Napoleon to the last while Caradine has moved on to associate himself with the returned aristocracy and cozy entourage of King Louis XVIII. The last scene shows Keitel wearing a Napoleanic hat paralleling how Napoleon would have looked over the seas from either St Helen or Elba still dreaming of reasserting his honor for the rest of the world to see. As usual, Ridley Scott immerses the audience in a plush, almost dreamlike, imagery of the European landscape with all the pageantry of the Napoleonic era. A good movie that has all of the right elements and appeals to all genders.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Put this early Ridley Scott film on your list...

    Visually stunning, hauntingly well written by Joesph Conrad, well acted...this movie combines everything needed for a successful cinematic experience...if you like good movies, see/buy this one...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2002

    Historical epos

    This is a story about the hate between to proud soldiers in Napoleons army. Maybe is this the best of Ridley Scotts movies. With the wonderful music of Howard Blake it is the best spend 90 minutes in front of a TV you can have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2000

    Amazing atmosphere and historical detail

    Ridley Scott's fine film captures the sweep of the Napoleonic Wars by focusing on the almost psychopathic relationship of two officers in the French Army. A fascinating analysis of personal honor, violence, and military culture. The historical details are amazing, with even the smallest changes in uniform from year to year being meticulously observed. The cinematography is superb, the reliance on natural lighting in particular really evokes the period beautifully. The action sequences - the duels themsleves - are amongst the most gripping and realistic ever filmed. It is no surprise that this film is a favorite amongst historians and students of the Napoleonic Wars, but it is also a thoughful, beautifully crafted film of general interest. Superb.

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