Steven Spielberg's first ever film is a unique achievement – both artistically and technically. The raw, jagged, sinister nature of its tale combined with Spielberg's artistic vision make Duel one of his most impressive films to date. It is a very much back-to-basic approach to suspense, managing to come off as primitively simple and groundbreakingly accomplished at the same time. Strongly and obviously influenced by Hitchcock's deliberate delaying and withholding of information and exposure, Spielberg succeeds at the very difficult through the very simple as he takes his exceptionally restricted point-of-view and makes it the backbone for a full motion picture. The result is gripping, extremely energetic and highly effective. The fact that the entire movie was filmed in 13 days makes it all even more impressive, and underlines not only the undeniable artistic talent of the young Spielberg, but also his commitment and industriousness.
The film was originally released as a 74-minute TV-movie in USA, but got its cinematic release at a full 90 minutes in Europe.