An unusual tale of two Napoleonic soldiers who, as per the title, duel (a lot). I’m not going to say how or why they duel as that is the essence of the whole film. I can say that this was Ridley Scott’s first feature film and you can tell from this how great he was going to be as he really knows how to set a scene and create a great atmosphere.
The Duellists does have some interesting and quite beautiful settings and you do feel part of the era it is portraying. There is also an excellent soundtrack (although it doesn’t always match with what is happening on the screen) that leaves its main theme in your head for ages (I’m humming it whilst writing this).
The duels themselves feel very realistic, nothing fancy but quite bloody and painful and you are left with a strong anti-war feeling.
I think that might be a better one for the lads though as my wife was really not interested at all and thought it was all a bit pointless (I tried to point out that this was the point but it didn’t wash). The kids enjoyed it though.
Verdict: For a old’ish film (1977) it held up well and the story is intriguing enough to keep you interested until the end.