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The Truck Driver

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Duel1971 truck

The truck driver is the villain of Steven Spielberg first directed movie (for TV), Duel. He is played by Carey Loftin.

The truck is a large rusty 1955 Peterbilt 281 gasoline tanker. 


The film's protagonist, David Mann, while traveling on a freeway, gets chased by a big truck whose driver, for no explained motive, wants to kill him. The driver seems to attract victims by purposely driving slowly in order to make them overtake him. Once his victim has passed him he then speeds up and forces his victims off the road, typically killing his victim. The movie focuses on the thrilling car chase.

The driver is never fully shown to the audience; only his feet and his arm (when waving Mann) are shown, but the rest of his body is a mystery. In fact, the limited screen appearance of the driver gives more character to his truck, to the point that the vehicle becomes the actual antagonist.

The driver's motives are unexplained. He seems to stalk Mann for the thrill. For example, he usually doesn't attack Mann when he is out of his car, unless to scare him and get him back in the chase. Also, the truck attacks only Mann, and no one else, since it considers him to be his prey, and wants to achieve the chase.

The driver of the truck also assists other drivers, excluding Mann himself, when they in distress. In one scene a school bus has stalled and only after Mann fails to start the bus the truck driver helps the stranded school bus by push starting the bus. In the movie the driver's only target seems to be David Mann, although there are numerous license plates on the bumper of the truck, implying that the driver has had several previous victims. The driver is also willing to put other drivers in danger in order to kill Mann, as seen early in the movie when the driver signals Mann to overtake him, which unbeknownst to Mann there is another driver heading in the opposite direction.

After a long chase, Mann tricks his enemy to run into his car, and blinds him because of the large fireball produced
Duel truck defeat

The truck falling off a cliff

from Mann's car when the truck driver collides with Mann's car. The truck driver realizes too late that he is headed for a cliff. He then pulls his air horn and activates the emergency brake, with little success the truck then plummets down the side of the cliff, destroying it and presumably killing the driver.

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