Two men trapped by their code of honour. One, an aristocrat, feeling bound by the code though he sees it as ridiculous. The other, aspiring to the upper class, using the code to validate his rise as well as meeting the needs of his obsessive personality. Triggered by an absurd incident, leading to a nonsensical affront to honor and resulting in several duels fought over a fifteen year period among two officers of Napoleon's army.
Based on a Joseph Conrad short story, The Duellists (1977) was Ridley Scott's (Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) directorial debut. The story, editing and stunning cinematography make it worth watching. The only negative are the American actors (Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Christina Raines), some notably miscast (Carradine, Raines), striking a jarring note in this period piece.
During the Russian campaign.
Ending. Spoiler alert!