The duelists

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German title The duelists
Original title The Duelists
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 1977
length 100 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Ridley Scott
script Gerald Vaughan-Hughes
production Ivor Powell
David Puttnam
music Howard Blake
camera Frank Tidy
cut Pamela Power

The Duelists is a 1977 British historical drama directed by Ridley Scott and became the first major feature film. It is based on the story The Duel by Joseph Conrad .


D'Hubert and Feraud are officers of the hussars in the Napoleonic army. Feraud wounds the mayor of Strasbourg's nephew in a duel and is placed under house arrest by his superior. D'Hubert brings him the news of what Feraud takes to be an insult and calls him to a duel. D'Hubert injures Ferraud in this fight. Feraud is not satisfied with that, however, and so the situation escalates into a consuming passion that will determine the lives of the two men for the next 15 years.

In 1801 the two officers meet again in Augsburg, where Feraud D'Hubert is wounded. In 1806 there was another duel in Lübeck - this time on horseback. This duel ends with a serious wound to Feraud.

In the winter of 1812 they meet again on the Russian front. There they have to let their personal animosity rest when they are attacked by Cossacks. D'Hubert then offers Feraud to resolve the conflict, which Feraud refuses.

After Napoleon's Russian campaign, both were appointed generals. D'Hubert recovers from his war injuries in Tours and marries. A little later he learns that Feraud is intriguing against him in Paris and is tarnishing his reputation.

When Napoleon is ousted, D'Hubert takes over a cavalry division of Louis XVIII's army . in Reims, while Feraud is arrested as a follower of Napoleon and sentenced to death. When D'Hubert learns of this, he arranges for Feraud's pardon.

Feraud, impoverished and embittered, then visits D'Hubert in Reims and challenges him to a final duel in an abandoned castle. D'Hubert reluctantly agrees. Both receive two pistols each and can shoot at will. During the duel, Feraud used up his two shots without hitting D'Hubert. D'Hubert, who still has one shot left, spares Feraud's life on the condition that Feraud now leaves him alone for the rest of his life. Feraud agrees, and D'Hubert returns to his pregnant wife.


“The paintings are inspired by contemporary painters: some works by Wilson and Gainsborough , the early phase of Turner , but especially the paintings by John Constable , the epitome of the traditional landscape painter. The atmospheric quality and intensity of a landscape with which a person can identify is congenially transferred into camera positions and movements, as otherwise only seen in Werner Herzog , Jan Troell and most recently in Stanley Kubrick's ' Barry Lyndon ' [...] The actors, from the main to the supporting roles, are consistently excellent. "


The film was named Best Debut Film at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival . Cinematographer Frank Tidy and costume designer Tom Rand were nominated for the British BAFTA Award in 1979 . Frank Tidy was also nominated for the British Society of Cinematographers Award in 1978 .

German title

The German title is based on a translation error; the correct translation would be "Die Duellanten".

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Film review by Hans Gerhold in film-dienst 09/1978