Duel, 1971

Director

Steven Spielberg

Cast

visit the film locations

Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Le Chene, 12625 Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce (tel: 661.251.4315)

Trivia

Agua Dulce Canyon Road leads north a short way to Vasquez Rocks County Park, the spectacular sandstone landscape seen in countless films, TV shows, videos and photoshoots, including The Flintstones.

Steven Spielberg, in case you hadn’t noticed, went on to direct Jaws, E.T., Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can

Duel location: Soledad Canyon Road, Southern California

Duel location: Soledad Canyon Road, Southern California

I saw Duel on its first release in the UK, as a support film. I don't recall the main feature, but I remember rushing out of the cinema to check the name of the director of this tightly directed thriller on the poster. If Steven Spielberg made any more films, I decided, I'd make a point of checking them out.

Steven Spielberg’s first feature (made for American TV but released theatrically in the UK) remains one of the great cinematic débuts, despite being made in a mere two weeks.

The simple plot has nerdy everyman driver David Mann (Dennis Weaver) threatened by a monster truck and its unseen driver.

The movie opens in downtown Los Angeles, where Mann drives down South Broadway, before heading north on Highway 5, the Golden State Freeway toward Bakersfield.

Most of the filming is on Route 14 and in the Angeles National Forest just north of Los Angeles. The gas station where Mann gets the warning about the radiator hose, and phones his wife from the launderette, is Acton, just south from Route 14.

Duel location: Le Chene, 12625 Sierra Highway, Southern California

Duel location: 'Chuck's Cafe’: Le Chene, 12625 Sierra Highway, Southern California

'Chuck's Cafe’, the truckstop at which a frazzled Mann tries to pick out the seemingly psychotic driver, looks much the same but has been transformed into an upmarket French restaurant. Not quite what you expect to find out in the desert wilderness. It's Le Chene, 12625 Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce.

On Soledad Canyon Road, about a mile west of the Agua Dulce Canyon Road turnoff, you can see the eastern end of the tunnel alongside which Mann attempts to help the stalled school bus.

Duel location: Soledad Canyon Road, Southern California

Duel location: the school bus at the tunnel: Soledad Canyon Road, Southern California

He finally trashes the monster at Soledad Canyon, off Route 14 toward Ravenna.




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