Road rage in the rearview: Looking back at Spielberg’s frightening Duel


Mild-mannered family man David Mann drives along a single-lane road in a bright red Plymouth Valiant. He’s just left suburbia and the city behind him when he encounters a slow-going, smoke-belching truck, a monstrous thing caked in motor oil, mud, and bugs, which dwarfs Mann’s puny Plymouth. If he keeps following the truck, he won’t make his meeting, and he may die choking on exhaust fumes. So Dave Mann passes the truck. There’s no way he can predict that this move will nearly cost him his sanity, and his life.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/04/20/road-rage-in-the-rearview-rewatching-duel


I have enjoyed this movie, especially when I used to visit a friend halfway across the country and ran both interstates and back roads.
I kept imagining how I would react if this truck was chasing me and I was driving a 77 Cadillac Seville that could easily run 29 second mile markers.
One night near Rock Springs, WY, I was passed by an 18 wheeler that passed me as though I was going backward and I was traveling close to the century mark.
That was a long time ago, I no longer own that car and nowadays, I run at the speed limit.


I was just a teenager when I first saw this movie and it scared the hell out of me…I’ve seen it a few times since then and it has always been exciting and just as scary.


I lived in Santa Clarita for 30 years. I have ridden my Hagerty insured classic bike up those Duel roads and through that tunnel many times. I’ve also filmed a B movie where we T-boned a Camaro with a train in that same area.:sunglasses:


I love this move and the other “car guy” movie from the same year: Vanishing Point.
Remember that one?


I agree that Duel and the original Vanishing Point were two great movies. Have watched them many times which is something I don’t do with a lot of movies.


I watched it as a teenager here in Germany, then West Germany. Dennis Weaver as MCLoud was popular on Dutch TV but virtually unknown in Germany. Loved it very much. Did not know it was Spielberg’ first or even Spielberg’ at all until much later.
Have to find Vanishing Point as I do not know that one…
Thanks for the article, it was much fun to read.


Dennis Weaver is perhaps the only actor who ever had the chance to fire Spielberg. Spielberg was virtually unknown, and Weaver was given the opportunity to replace Steven with a more experienced director if he so chose. Weaver said that Steven was fine, and the rest is history. IMHO Duel was one of the best TV movies ever filmed.


I was fortunate enough to catch Duel on one of ABC’s “movie of the week” showings, in what I think was it’s tv premier. Having seen it numerous times since it will always be one of my favorites.