Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Dennis Weaver, Carey Loftin and Jacqueline Scott.
Written by I Am Legend novelist Richard Matheson and based off his own short story that had featured in Playboy, Duel is a psychological thriller about a motorist (Dennis Weaver) who is stalked by a crazed truck driver (Carey Loftin). It is notable for being the feature debut of Steven Spielberg, who had recently signed to a contract with Universal and had been honing his skills on the well-received TV pilot Night Gallery (1969) and episodes of several TV shows including Marcus Welby, M.D. (1970), Columbo (1971) and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1971).
Shot on location in 13 days for an original running time of 74 minutes, Duel enjoyed high ratings when it premiered on US television as an ABC Movie of the Week in November 1971. This prompted Spielberg to embark on two additional days of filming, extending the movie to 90 minutes for a theatrical release in Europe and the UK (along with a limited North American release the following year). With the success Duel establishing Spielberg as a major emerging talent, he would go on to produce two further TV movies before making his theatrical feature film debut in 1974 with The Sugarland Express.
For more on Steven Spielberg, check out Trevor Hogg's in-depth career profile Encountering Spielberg and be sure to vote in our poll for your favourite Steven Spielberg movie.
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Five Essential Films of Steven Spielberg
Short Film Showcase - Amblin' (1968)
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