Duel first aired in 1971 as a television thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg in his film directing debut and written by Richard Matheson, it was later turned into a full-length theatrical. It stars Dennis Weaver as a terrified motorist stalked on a remote and lonely road by the mostly unseen driver of a mysterious tanker truck.
The original release featured a 1970 Plymouth Valiant with a 318 V8 engine and "Plymouth" spelled out in block letters across the hood. A 1971 Valiant with a 225 Slant Six was also used during filming. When the film was released in theatres and scenes were added, a 1972 model with a 225 Slant Six was added, with the "Plymouth" name on the hood as one emblem.
The Valiant's red color was intentional; Spielberg did not care what kind of car was used in the film, but wanted it to be red to enable the vehicle to stand out in the wide shots of the desert highway.