Psychology and Car Chases


Before Steven Spielberg became famous after directing some of the most iconic movies and franchises; Jaws, ET, Indiana Jones and Back to the Future, just to name a few, the young Spielberg directed a film named ‘Duel.’

Duel was a relatively low budget film, spending less than half a million dollars in production in 1971. However, following in Steven Spielberg’s fame as a director, the film has attracted a large popular cult following –  and for good reasons. Duel is a solid psychological thriller with some of the best car chase scenes in cinema. In fact, Duel has become such an iconic film it is now etched in popular culture. Subsequent filmmakers have paid tribute to it, and many film viewers would be familiar with its motifs, whether or not they are a fan, or even know of the movie by name.

Duel follows the journey of a business man, traveling through the California desert, whose entanglement with a truck and its largely unseen driver, pushes him to the edge of life and sanity.

Included below are some of the highlights of the film – particularly its road scenes where the duel between car and truck is most dramatic. But to get a full appreciation of the psychology of the film, you really need to see the whole thing. Check it out: