Duel (1971 film)

1971 film directed by Steven Spielberg

Duel is a 1971 television movie about a salesman driving through the California desert who is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer after passing it on the deserted road.

Well, you never know ... you just never know. You just go along figuring some things don't change ever, like being able to drive on a public highway without someone trying to murder you.
For the general concept of persons fighting in arranged combat for honor, see Duels.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Richard Matheson, based on his short story.
Fear is the driving force. Taglines

David Mann

  • Well, you never know...you just never know. You just go along figuring some things don't change ever, like being able to drive on a public highway without someone trying to murder you. And then one stupid thing happens. Twenty, twenty-five minutes out of your whole life, and all the ropes that kept you hanging in there get cut loose, and it's like, there you are, right back in the jungle again. All right boy, it was a nightmare, but it's over now. [pauses] It's all over.
    • An edited version which uses most of the above clip in its entirety, is featured prominently in the Doomtree track 'Duel' featuring Cecil Otter.
  • [to himself, in Chuck's Cafe] I don't know, all I did was pass this stupid rig a couple of times, and he goes flying off the deep end. He has to be crazy. Okay, so he's crazy. What can I do about it? Find him a psychiatrist? Oh, boy. Now wait a minute. Now wait just a minute. All right, now, think. Okay, he's in here. Well, that doesn't mean he intends to continue his attack. It is lunchtime, and Chuck's Cafe may be the only place to eat for miles around. Yeah. He probably eats here all the time. He was just moving too fast before, and he had to slow down, turn around, that's all. That's all. [pause] Why didn't I leave right away when I saw his truck outside? Then I'd know what he intends to do. What if he followed me out, though? Started after me again? I'd be right back where I started; even if I got a lead, he'd overtake me soon enough. He's got some, some, some souped up diesel; my car's just not that powerful, I just can't break eighty and ninety miles an hour. As soon as I stop concentrating, I'd go back to sixty or seventy like I always do; it's a habit, I can't help it, he's just... [pauses] take it easy...just, take it easy.


Gas station attendant: Looks like you could use a new radiator hose.
David Mann: [To himself] Yeah, where have I heard that before... [To the attendant] I'll get one later, thanks.
Gas station attendant: You're the boss.
David Mann: Not in my house, I'm not.

Cafe owner: [as David Mann exits cafe restroom and enters dining area] Are you all right?
David Mann: Yeah, I'm fine.
Cafe owner: What happened out there?
David Mann: Oh, just a slight complication.
Cafe owner: Oh? Looked like a big complication to me. [Others laugh]

David Mann: [mistakenly thinking that the man eating a sandwich in the cafe is the truck driver harassing him] Look, uh... I want you to cut it out.
Man in Cafe: [bites into sandwich, chewing] Wha?
David Mann: Just... just cut it out, okay?
Man in Cafe: [bites into sandwich again, chewing] Cut what out?
David Mann: Now come on, let's uh... let's not play games.
Man in Cafe: What the hell you talkin' about?
David Mann: I can call the police.
Man in Cafe: [stops eating, looks surprised] Police?
David Mann: You think that I won't? You're wrong, mister. I mean if you think you can just... just take that... that truck of yours and use it as a murder weapon and uh... killin' people on the highway... you're wrong! You got another thing comin'!
Man in Cafe: [shakes head, fed up] Man, you need help.
David Mann: [Mann slaps the sandwich out of his hand] Don't you tell me I need help!
[the man punches Mann in the stomach]
Cafe owner: Heyy! [Rushes over and hurriedly pulls the trucker off Mann] Look at 'im! Who've you got to fight? You got nobody!
Man in Cafe: [Grumbling] I lost my sandwich...
Cafe owner: I'll buy you another sandwich, all right? How about a beer? I'll buy you a beer. [The man leaves, and the owner comes back to Mann] All right, you get outta here, huh?

David Mann: That truck driver's crazy, he's been trying to kill me, I mean it!
Bus Driver: Well, mister, if I was to vote on who's crazy around here, it'd be you.

[The truck smashes into the Snake Lady's phone booth]
David Mann: Call the police!
Snake Lady: With what? That's the only phone I got!


  • Fear is the driving force.
  • The Killer's Weapon - A 40 Ton Truck
  • Terror in your rear view mirror.
  • When the headlights of a truck become the eyes of a psychopath.
  • The most bizarre murder weapon ever used!
  • A duel is about to begin between a man, a truck and an open road. Where a simple battle of wits is now a matter of life and death.


Wikipedia has an article about: