Duel 1971

Duel was a TV movie that came out in 1971. It’s a great suspense movie that will keep you entertained.

It was Steven Spielberg’s first full-length movie. It came out as a TV movie in the US but after some scenes were added it was released in theaters in Europe and Australia. It starred Dennis Weaver. This is a very good first movie by Spielberg. It had some grit to it that some of his movies lack…probably because of it’s low budget.

Duel was much better than your regular TV movie. Dennis Weaver was superb in it. Another star was the Truck itself. It had its own personality. This is one of the best TV movies ever made.

Steven Spielberg told Dennis Weaver at one time that he watches this movie at least twice a year to see what he did as far as techniques.

The story is simple but effective. It still works today.

It’s about a man who is driving to a business meeting and part of his journey is through the desert. He starts being followed by an ugly as hell diesel Peterbilt truck. The truck starts passing Weaver and then starts bumping him later on. The suspense in this movie is great. You cannot see the truck driver but he has plates from all over the US that makes you think he picks random people out and starts harassing them.

It reminds you of a Hitchcock film. The suspense builds and builds and you feel Dennis Weaver’s fear.

Weaver is run off the road by the truck and he sees a diner.

He stops at a diner and phones his wife about a fight they had the night before… He gets off the phone and thinks he finds the truck driver that’s been targeting him for miles inside the cafe…

If you like suspense movies the movie is worth a watch.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

46 thoughts on “Duel 1971”

    1. Oh cool about Weaver! I love him in Gunsmoke (black and white versions) and McCloud. He seemed like such a cool guy…oh yea and Gentle Ben…forgot about that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pure Spielbergian minimalism at its best! He really has a knack for perspective and pattern of events that builds and builds. And, you never see the freaking dude! I guess the studio was pissed there wasn’t a bigger “explosion” at the end. Spielberg said it would have taken away the reality of the situation. I agree. Great pic, too! Looks like a young Liam Neeson, haha!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the best acting parts that Dennie Weaver ever had…he made it believable. Bailey is studying Spielberg now for a college class. They picked a director and he was disspointed that it wasn’t Kubrick…
      I like Spielberg but I do wish he would revist this a little…sometimes having a low budget makes the film a little more interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. The fame and awards got to him a bit – bigger is better. He’s at his best in minimalism, I think. Even Jaws was a masterpiece, and they barely had the $ to show the darn robotic “thing,” which wasn’t as effective as his camerawork 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jaws was special…then came Close Encounters and the budget hit the roof.
        He also directed some tv shows at first. He did one of the first Night Galleries with Joan Crawford.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I never saw Night Galleries, but they mentioned it in the doc, “Spielberg,” which was very good. I agree that he might find the challenge of a smaller film more fulfilling. Also, he could put the Tobe Hooper vs. Spielberg “Who directed Poltergeist” feud to rest, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. LOL I remember that Poltergeist director deal. Someone needs to cut his budget lol.

        If you get a chance watch the 1st Night Gallery episode…it has three stories…The Cemetary, Eyes (Spielberg), adn The Escape Route.

        Personally I like The Cemetary the best…but all three stories are good.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I do like Tales From The Crypt…of course the Twilight Zone is the ultimate to me.

        You know? I don’t…
        I just assume everyone has a copy of it! lol. When you work in IT…many things are shared…I have probably over 50 – 70 complete tv shows and around 500 movies or probably more.

        If I run across it to stream I’ll let you know…I wonder if netflix has it?

        Liked by 2 people

      6. No worries. I’ll check Netflix, Stream, Apple TV, and other apps I have… Good ole IT. They have been miraculous with our classroom cameras, new software, and programs for student/teacher communication throughout all of this mess…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. You know…we usually only hear people talk when something is wrong or their home computer is messed up lol.


      8. I’ll bet. I love our group. We have five that run our entire school, and they get *&#$ on all the time. You’re right – it’s only negative things they hear. I try to pep them up, talk video games and movies. They (you) are a unique breed of cat, and we wouldn’t be teaching if you weren’t working the scenes in the background. I’m clueless with this stuff…

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I like the IT crowd usually…except the ones that talk down to people. I’ll get rid of someone if they are like that…I’ll tell them…you couldn’t do the job of people you are supporting so shut up.

        All in all there are a lot of good people in IT.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Cool on Bailey studying a specific director and I would have preferred Kubrick over Spielberg but he’ll probably learn something. Kubrick is one of my younger son’s favorite directors. My older son loves Christopher Nolan.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked him a lot in that. In the past few years I’ve watched him in Gunsmoke when he played Chester… those are my favorite ones…he also played the dad in Gentle Ben

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this movie. Back when there were only 3 (or 4) channels, back before cell phones, back before home computers took off. The Hero against The Beast. I also loved Dennis Weaver in this and other things. The tension went off the charts and no CGI needed. Back in the good old days of quality TV movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is what took me by surprise…this was a tv movie that was worthy of a theater release…those 70s tv movies of the week…some were really good.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Memories! I vaguely remember the movie – it was scary, I think though I haven’tseen it since I was a small kid. My dad liked it, I think. We all like Dennis Weaver in our house – those ‘McLeod’ movies were favorites , think both parents liked them as I did too. I had no idea this was a Spielberg work though – wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked what Spielberg did here without a big budget…it just as easily could have been released in the theaters…it was quality…Weaver was terrific.


    1. A typical driver now! It was really good. When Bailey was younger this was one scarey movie I could show him and we would watch it over and over….hell he is twenty and we watched it not long ago again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know much about movies but still remember when I watched that picture for the first time in Germany sometime during my early teenage years. It’s just an outstanding suspense thriller.

    Nowadays many movies are packed with special effects and if you’d took them away, they would pretty much fall apart.

    Duel proves you don’t need all these effects to make a great movie. This has got to be one of Spielberg’s best pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so surprised on how many bloggers saw this. It still stands up today as well. Weaver was great in it and Spielberg did great with no money.
      It keeps you guessing the entire way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know…probably the same effect as Jaws…by going into the water.
        I bet people were nervous at first when a truck got behind them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Surprisingly enough, one of my favorite Spielberg films. I know, what about ‘Jaws ‘, ‘E.T.’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’? And, “Really? Duel?”

    I’m not even sure why it grabs me as much as it does. One of the best low budget films along with Clerks and A Hard Day’s Night in my opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. If you can find it watch The Making of Duel. It’s really good. Youtube has it split up in 4 parts I believe. He uses some of the same sounds in Jaws…when the Truck crashes…he uses it when Jaws dies. Also the older couple in a car…he uses them in Close Encounters.

      It such a thriller and Dennis Weaver plays the part so well.

      I posted it and got the biggest surprise…that so many people knows the movie…I am thrilled over that. Thanks for commenting.

      Here is part 1 if you are interested.


      1. Huh, interesting ties between movies. A Spielberg cinematic universe, perhaps? Thanks for the link; I might have seen some of it before one time. Oh, any Jacques Tati film are also solid contenders for best minimalist movies. Stay stellar!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dude! I actually remember this thing being on TV because, of course, my dad would have been watching it.

    I actually disliked big, rusty trucks for several years after that…until I grew up a bit and forgot about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a great movie. One of the best low budget movies period…you can’t tell it’s low budget at all. Dennis Weaver is great .
      The movie worked if you disliked them!


    1. I’ve become a big fan of Dennis Weaver…he could do that “nervous guy” really well. Touch of Evil and this one.
      Even his early Gunsmoke as Chester is fun to watch. He WAS Chester.

      Liked by 1 person

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