The Duellists 1978 PG CC

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(180) IMDb 7.5/10
Available in HD
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Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel star in this dramatic film about two officers in Napoleon's army who violently confront each other in a series of duels.

Starring:
Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel
Runtime:
1 hour 41 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

The Duellists

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama
Director Ridley Scott
Starring Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel
Supporting actors Albert Finney, Edward Fox, Cristina Raines, Robert Stephens, Tom Conti, John McEnery, Diana Quick, Alun Armstrong, Maurice Colbourne, Gay Hamilton, Meg Wynn Owen, Jenny Runacre, Alan Webb, Arthur Dignam, Matthew Guinness, Dave Hill, Neville Jason, Timothy Penrose
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

This is a stunningly beautiful film.
David C. Read
It is a great story, well acted and very entertaining.
J. H. Thillmann
It is one of the best filmed movies ever.
The Historian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By John Dynan on December 15, 2002
Format: DVD
Based on Joseph Conrad's book "The Duel", the true story of a 30-year feud between two Napoleonic cavalry officers, "The Duellists" was Ridley Scott's first major film. Starring Keith Carradine as the pompous D'Hubert and a particularly menacing Harvey Keitel as Feraud, the film climbs inside the minds of two men for whom honor is more important than life itself.
The two antagonists begin their series of bloody encounters when D'Hubert is ordered by his commanding general to arrest Feraud for wounding the local mayor's nephew in a duel. Feraud, in a hopelessly irrational state, challenges D'Hubert to a duel, which is carried out more or less on the spot. D'Hubert comes off slightly better in the initial encounter, which only serves to fuel Feraud's rage, and the course of the film is set.
The cinematography of this film, shot by Frank Tidy, is almost beyond comparison. The previous versions on VHS simply looked muddy and rather washed out. The colors lacked any real saturation, rendering Feraud's bottle-green dolman black and it almost looked like a poor quality black and white in some scenes, especially those set in Napoleon's abortive Russian campaign.
The DVD transfer, by contrast, is staggeringly beautiful and releases colors, which I did not realize existed in the original. I am, by coincidence, a professional cameraman and I rate this as the best shot film I have ever seen. The only criticism I have is a somewhat inconsistent use of graduated filters, which, whilst they were probably quite innovative for their day, don't always work well. Grads are always a problem and any film made since will tend to suffer the same way. A very minor point.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Ridley Scott made this film in the mid-70's prior to going into the big time with such hits as "Alien." While obtaining film making experience by making commercials, he learned to visually pack an image and do so with exciting details. "The Duelist" was made on a shoe string, but looks like it cost 10-20 times as much. Every dollar is on the screen. The sets and costumes are excellent. The camera style--dramatic and romantic-- often captures scenes that looked like they have been painted by David, a major French painter of that period. Exteriors show period chateaus in early morning light under blue skies, while the interiors are bathed in candle light. The sword play is wonderfully visualized as both men fight each other in a series of duels over many years. Both Carradine and Keitel are excellent as two officers serving under Napoleon that must live by a code--no matter how that severe code of honor affects their lives in war or peace time. This excellent action film is a jewel. See it. Hopefully, it will come on DVD soon.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on October 12, 2003
Format: DVD
Director Ridley Scott (Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Alien) made his directorial debut with this overlooked gem - THE DUELLISTS, based on a story by Joseph Conrad. Released in 1977, the movie didn't make much of an impact in the US, although it was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes and won Scott the coveted Best First Work at that festival.
The movie chronicles the long-lasting feud between two French officers, the hot-headed Feraud (played by Harvey Keitel) and the more even-keeled D'Hubbert (played by Keith Carradine), during the Napoleonic wars. The feud has murky beginnings, but it lasts for decades due to the lead characters' desires to avoid losing their "honor." As they cross paths during various parts of their lives, they duel.
The duel scenes are well-filmed and add a great deal of excitement to the plot. The main story is also interesting, as the men's duels forge an unlikely relationship between them. The lead actors do a passable job in their roles, although they seem out of place amongst the largely British supporting players; Keitel actually seems more at place in the film, despite his eastern accent. Finally, the cinematography is stunning, and it's one of the most beautiful looking films of its period; the look of the film is a bit like "Barry Lyndon," although the tone is warmer. Overall, this film is an intriguing part of the Ridley Scott canon; it stands among his best works and one of the most overlooked films of the 70s.
DVD extras: director's commentary with Ridley Scott, and director Keith Reynolds also interviews Scott.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Ridley Scott's first theatrical release, "The Duellists", is a thought-provoking exploration of the rivalry between two officers in Napoleon's army. The plot is taken from the Joseph Conrad short story, "The Duel", in which two French officers face each other in a series of duels over 15 years. Keith Carradine plays Lt. Armand d'Hubert, a Hussar of Napoleon's cavalry, who is sent on a routine errand to arrest Lt. Gabriel Ferraud (played by Harvey Keitel), for having wounded a man in a duel. Upon hearing of his arrest, Ferraud challenges d'Hubert to a duel, which both survive. Although d'Hubert is reluctant to fight, and though forbidden by his commanding general to confront Ferraud while the army is at war, he cannot avoid the other man's challenges. What was merely a perceived insult on Ferraud's part becomes a matter of honor. In early 19th century military fashion, the duel was an acceptable, if unsanctioned, way of defending one's reputation. D'Hubert, too, seems drawn to the violent encounters, as a way of setting the record straight (if not for Ferraud, at least for the troop). Both men are portrayed as loyal and able soldiers. D'Hubert is laid-back, cautious yet brave, his loyalty to Napoleon tempered by realism. Ferraud is touchy, combative, fanatical. Even after the Emperor's final defeat he remains sure of his devotion. In the final chapter of the film we see d'Hubert settled in quiet married domesticity (and security in the restored King Louis XVIII's army), while Ferraud languishes in obscurity as an outdated Bonapartite. The two men (now generals) will meet for a final time. The outcome is intriguing, and it follows Conrad's story to a melancholy end.Read more ›
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