Duellists, The 1978

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(64) IMDb 7.5/10

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, 40 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure
Director Ridley Scott
Starring Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel
Supporting actors Cristina Raines, Edward Fox
Studio Paramount
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Rental rights 48 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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By John Dynan on 27 July 2003
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Duellists is directed by Ridley Scott and adapted loosely to screenplay by Gerald Vaughan-Hughes from the Joseph Conrad short story The Duel. It stars Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney, Edward Fox, Cristina Raines, Robert Stephens, Tom Conti, John McEnery and Diana Quick. Music is scored by Howard Blake and cinematography by Frank Tidy.

Plot finds Keitel and Carradine as officers in Napoleon's army, who after an incident brings them into conflict, sees them duelling over a number of years. Something that greatly affects the lives of both men.

Ridley Scott has never hid from the influence of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon on The Duellists, and why should he? For The Duellists is every bit as noble and enjoyable as Kubrick's lengthy picture. Here on his first feature film assignment the director has crafted a picture of lush visuals, while also garnering great performances from his two leads. Story ultimately is a bit thin, but Scott explores interesting themes and keeps things ticking over nicely for the hour and forty minute running time. The characters are intellectual, the dialogue sharp, the Napoleonic period splendidly recreated with thought and attention to detail. While the sword fights are intense and credible and never once does it feel like Scott is slotting in a duel purely for action's sake.

A darn great film for the period film lover to gorge on, where the futility of war and men's obsessions blend seamlessly with visual splendour. 8.5/10
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Siamese on 26 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For such a marvellously constructed film, it's hard to believe this was Ridley Scott's very first feature length work! It's also quite surprising to realise that, for someone that was described as being uncomfortable around actors when "Alien" was in production, here Scott managed to get his whole cast to give more than capable performances and delivered his trademark dazzling visuals with overwhelming results.
"The Duellists", based on Joseph Conrad's story 'The Duel', deals with man's obsession that turns into folly, namely Feraud's intolerant arrogance that turns him into a loose cannon, whose compulsions overpower his life and of those around him - he shares some similarities with Mr. Kurtz in Conrad's better known novella 'Heart of Darkness.' Yet ultimately it's the beautiful visuals that grabbed my attention - many said that the film was too beautiful at the time of its original release! Ridley Scott was heavily influenced by Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" during filming, and admits that, like Kubrick had for "Lyndon", he also took the work of painters as references to create his superbly detailed images in the commentary track. Curiously, Kubrick's work was so influential to Scott that he went as far as to cast Gay Hamilton, who had played Nora Brady in "Barry Lyndon", in a small role as one of Feraud's mistresses.
Keith Carradine as D'Hubert renders a quiet and understated performance, and Harvey Keitel is excellent as the intense and almost impossibly obsessive and maniacal Feraud. Funnily enough, their native accents never bothered me as I felt they weren't obtrusive in delivering their very well written dialogue, plus they didn't affect the incredible atmosphere set up by the director for the entire length of the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By amazon customer on 25 Nov. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The perfect gift for all historical movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

This is with out a doubt an historical masterpiece, the film is based on fact there where actually two individuals who did duel throughout the best part of the Napoleonic wars. The cinema photography is superb, the historical attention to detail incredible. The film was partly shot in the Perigord at the town of Sarlat which is for the most part very well preserved. I am a Napoleonic historian and can vouch for the authenticity of just about every detail in this beautiful film. Highly recommended.
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