Duel (1971) - Steven Spielberg

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A lot of people out there might just look at the title and think that Duel doesn't belong in the horror movie area. I have a different view on the subject, obviously. Duel is scary as shit to me. I hate driving on the freeways and passing a trucker. Those "cowboys" of the highway are all hopped up on goofballs, they could run you right off the road and not even know they did it. Crazy. That is like one of my fears. 

This is Steven Spielberg's first theatrical film, written by Richard Matheson and based on his short story. If that isn't enough to get you to see it then maybe the plot will. The movie is about a guy that is on his way home from a business trip and runs afoul of a menacing and ugly diesel tanker truck. The truck stalks our hero the entire film and squares off with him on numerous accounts. The most recent movie that I could tie this in with would be Joy Ride from 1997. 

The movie dose a good job of solidly setting you up and getting you to root for our hero. The trucker is overbearing and horrifying. He is always around. It is almost paranormal. Like he haunts the road looking for lonely wanders, lost on the open highway. The movie is beautifully shot in California and is full of luscious golden hills, vast valleys, and the beautiful landscape that surrounds the Santa Clarita Valley. 

This movie is quite the treat. It is sought after by film students and fans alike. It is one of the best things that Spielberg has ever put out. I think in some ways this movie is better than Jaws. Its just scarier to me. I recommend this movie to anyone that wants to see some fantastic film making while clutching their couches in fear. 

I'd like to report a truck driver who's been endangering my life


  • There are seventeen notches on the headlights of the truck.
  • According to Richard Matheson, he was inspired to write the original short story "Duel" after an encounter with a tailgating truck driver on November 22, 1963, the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 
  • David Mann's car was a 1970 red Plymouth Valiant with California license plate 149 PCE.