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The Last Duel | 2021 | R | – 8.8.5

content-ratingsWhy is “The Last Duel” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “strong violence including sexual assault, sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a rape scene repeated three times, a scene of rape at a party with others present, a couple of sex scenes with multiple partners with full female nudity, many scenes of battle with men wearing armor and swinging heavy swords leaving men dead and wounded with bloody wounds shown, a scene of beheading several civilians repeated three times, two men fighting to the death while both suffering bloody wounds, and at least 3 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Set in the late 1300s, it depicts the events and aftermath of the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history: After a knight (Matt Damon) returns home, his wife (Jodie Comer) accuses another knight (Adam Driver) of raping her. Her husband is granted the opportunity to settle the charge by a duel to the death, and if he loses, she will be burned at the stake. Also with Ben Affleck, Clare Dunne, Harriet Walter, Marton Csokas, Zeljko Ivanek, Alex Lawther, Nathaniel Parker and Adam Nagaitis. Directed by Ridley Scott. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in French without translation. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Latin and translated. [Running Time: 2:32]

The Last Duel SEX/NUDITY 8

 – A woman is raped by a man after he forces his way into her home, chases her up a flight of stairs, forces a door open, picks her up and kisses her, and throws her down on a bed; he straddles her, holds her hands down on the bed and kisses her, flips her over on her stomach, unfastens his pants (we see her stocking covered legs and a portion of her bare thigh) and thrusts while he moans and she whimpers, pleads and cries (we see this scene repeated with varying levels of intensity three times).
 A man at a party chases a woman around a room and she cries out and tries to get away from him; the man removes his shirt (we see his bare chest, abdomen and back), picks her up as she says, “No, no no,” flops her down on a bed and rapes her by lifting her skirt and thrusting from behind; several other women lie around the bed and another woman invites another man to join her in the bed and they flop down next to the first man (sex with multiple partners is implied).
 A man knocks on another man’s chamber door and he answers it frustrated (we see the man wearing leg coverings and a shirt to his upper thighs); in the background here are several fully nude women on a bed (we see their bare breasts, one woman’s’ pubic hair, bare buttocks, backs, legs and abdomens) as they moan and kiss each other; the second man invites the first man to take off his pants and join them (he eventually does so). A husband and his wife have sex in a few scenes and we see the man’s bare back and chest as he thrusts and climaxes.
 A stallion charges into a pen where it mounts a mare and thrusts (we see its erect penis) while a man beats the horse with a shovel until it stops and is led away.
 A man has a dream about another man’s wife standing outside his bedroom and he grabs her by the arm and they kiss passionately (he wakes up in a sweat and we see his bare chest and abdomen). A wife kisses her husband and he smiles. A husband instructs his wife to kiss another man and she does; they pause after kissing and look at each other (this scene is shown 3 times).
 Clergymen perform a ceremony over a marital bed on the wedding night before the bride sits on the edge of the bed and the groom assures her that she has nothing to worry about. A man kisses another man on the lips during a wedding ceremony and the man then kisses the groom on the lips before the groom kisses the bride. Men and women dance at a wedding reception. A husband and his wife hug.
 Several women admire a man from a distance and remark that he is attractive and that they would not be opposed to having sex with him; one woman calls him, “Dangerously handsome,” and another woman says, “My husband would have my head.” Two men admire a woman and talk about her dowry and producing an heir with her. A doctor asks a woman about sex with her husband and asks if it ends in a pleasurable conclusion. A husband berates his wife for her appearance when her dress is very low-cut and sends her to change her clothes. Men in a courtroom discuss sex and pleasure and suggest that rape cannot illicit pregnancy and that pregnancy can only come from a pleasurable experience for both parties. Two men negotiate the terms of a dowry. A husband and his wife talk about being unable to conceive in a few scenes and the man says, “It comes as God wills it.” Two women talk about dress fashions and one remarks that dresses are so low-cut that the queen’s pierced nipples are nearly visible. A man professes his love to a married woman. A husband excuses his wife from a celebratory night because she is pregnant with their eighth child; she leaves and the man says, “Now the night can begin.” A man makes a joke about another man’s sexual prowess and makes a suggestive gesture with his hand. A married woman mocks a man for having heard about his “acquiring women” and the man flatters the woman with remarks about her beauty. A man tells another man that “coveting is a sin” as the man admires a married woman from a distance. A man describes a woman’s resistance to his sexual advances as, “The customary protest.” A woman makes a snide remark to her daughter-in-law about her “wifely duties” insinuating that she should be pregnant by now. A married woman says that her husband does not like to kiss her. A woman tells another woman that she is pregnant and the other woman cries. A husband orders his wife to bed (for sex) and says, “I will not let this man be the last to know you,” after she tells him that she was raped. A man reads a book and he and others in the room discuss bigamy and suggest that it should be acceptable. A man tells another man that if he is tried by the church, they will be more forgiving to the charges of raping a married woman.
 A dead man is stripped of his armor and clothing leaving a cloth to cover his groin (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A wife bathes her husband’s feet. A woman is shown being dressed by attendants in a few scenes and we see her bare lower legs briefly; a couple of scenes show her putting on a sheer nightdress that reveals cleavage and the outline of her legs to the crotch. A man’s bare back is seen while he is being dressed in armor by attendants. A woman’s dress is low-cut and reveals cleavage. A woman wears a deeply cut dress that reveals cleavage and her husband is upset by her appearance. A young man stands on a dressmaker’s table being fitted in a long gown.

The Last Duel VIOLENCE/GORE 8

 – Armored men on horseback watch across a river as men on the other side stand behind several kneeling civilians and slit their throats (several seem to be decapitated); one man holds a severed head and throws it to the ground while yelling and we see blood spray (we see this scene repeated three times) as the other men on horseback charge toward them and they all fight with heavy blows with swords, stabbing at close range and slashing (we see blood splatter and gush and we hear metal clanging and men yelling). Men in a dense forest are struck by flaming arrows (one man is struck in the face and falls back); many of the men run away and one man calls for them to attack the others and they fight. Many men wearing armor fight with swords, slashing and clanging (blood sprays); one man is stabbed through the throat and out the back of his head (we see blood and the bloody blade), another is beaten repeatedly with his own chain mail in the face and we see his face very bloody and disfigured as the attacker yells in rage.
 A woman is raped by a man after he forces his way into her home, chases her up a flight of stairs, forces a door open, picks her up and kisses her, and throws her down on a bed; he straddles her, holds her hands down on the bed and kisses her, flips her over on her stomach, unfastens his pants and thrusts while he moans and she whimpers, pleads and cries (we see this scene repeated with varying levels of intensity three times); he tells the woman, “Tell no one of this. If your husband hears of this he may kill you” (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A man at a party chases a woman around a room and she cries out and tries to get away from him; the man removes his shirt (we see his bare chest, abdomen and back), picks her up as she says, “No, no no,” flops her down on a bed and rapes her by lifting her skirt and thrusting from behind (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).
 Two men arm themselves with shields and lances and charge toward each other: the scene cuts away as they strike each other and we see this scene in more detail later and we see the men charge each other a few times and they are each struck and lean back each time; one man’s horse nearly slams into a wall, an attendant is struck down (we see his bloody face), one man’s horse is struck by a lance and falls (we see blood on the horse and it lies still on the ground) and the other man’s horse rears and falls on top of the man, the other man attacks the pinned man and his horse kicks him in the head (he is knocked down briefly); the men fight with swords, axes and daggers, one man is slashed on the leg and bleeds heavily, they continue to fight and we see bloody facial wounds, one man raises a dagger over the head of the other man kneeling on the ground (the crowd chants for the man to kill the other man) and the second man hits him in the leg knocking him down, straddles him, holds a dagger over his eye, flips him on his side and stabs him through the mouth and into the brain (blood pours and the man gags).
 A man collects rents from people and one man complains that he is unable to pay; the man’s attendant is beaten by two other men (we see his bloody face and head) and the man is forced to turn over a plot of his land to pay off his debt. A husband and his wife argue and the man raises a fireplace poker. A dead man is stripped of his armor and clothing leaving a cloth to cover his groin and we see bloody wounds on his neck and face; the man’s feet are tied and he is dragged behind horses and lifted into the air where he hangs upside down in public view.
 A man explains that if either man involved in a trail should leave the city, they will be hanged. During a trial, a man explains to a woman that if it is found out that she has lied about her charges against a man, she will be stripped, flogged and burned at the stake. A husband grabs his wife by the arm and pulls her violently after an admission in a trial. A wife tells her husband that she was left alone while he was away and that two men entered the grounds and one man raped her; she says that she protested but was overpowered and the husband yells and asks her if she is telling the truth (this scene is repeated and during one scene the man holds her by the throat choking her). A man asks for a duel to the death for the rape of his wife and throws a gauntlet on the ground. Several people laugh at a man, a man mocks him when he protests and another man is given the rank he should have received when his father died. A man yells at a man and declares, “I shall be heard.” A man yells at another man for not addressing him as “Sir” after he has been knighted. A man insults another man for a calamitous campaign, which he was commanding. A man tells another man that an unspeakable charge of rape has been leveled against him. A husband tells his wife, “I forbid you from leaving the ground” (while he is away). A man yells about another man doing “evil to me.” A wife tells her husband that she will have no legal standing without his support. A wife yells at her husband and accuses him of being blinded by his vanity. A man watching two men fighting by jousting and swords says he wishes one man would “remove his [the other man’s] testicles by hand.” A woman tells her adult son, “I am lost” after her husband dies and says that she needs to leave her residence in a month; the man becomes furious when she tells him that another man will be taking the position he assumed he would be getting. A man is told that his father died and his mother says that he died quietly. A man talks to another man about needing to collect his taxes and the man says that he doesn’t have it and complains about the cost of labor; the first man says, “I can’t leave empty-handed.” People talk about a plague in a few scenes and we hear that a man’s wife and son died from the plague. Two men negotiate the terms of a dowry and the groom insists on adding another piece of land to the arrangement before he will accept. A husband tells his wife that he is a jealous man and that she will only dance with him at their wedding reception. A man petitions the King for a piece of land and his petition is denied (he becomes angry). A husband tells his wife, “We are no longer welcome at court,” and she seems upset. Several men are knighted before a battle in Scotland. A woman holds her infant son and worries about him becoming an orphan. We read that a man died in the Crusades.
 Men and boys on horseback chase dogs that chase a deer; the deer is struck down, its throat is cut and a man smears some of its blood on the foreheads of two young boys saying, “Badge of honor.” People are shown living in squalor and begging from passersby as snow falls on them. A man is shown with several jagged scars on his face, back and shoulders. A man coughs deeply and complains of a fever after returning from battle. People’s weapons are collected before they enter an arena to watch two men joust and fight. Mucus and saliva run down a woman’s face when she cries during a rape scene.

The Last Duel LANGUAGE 5

 – About 3 F-words, 1 anatomical term, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (impetuous, traitor, rabble, foul, criminal, scum, stupid, rash, bastard, libertine, sycophant, dirty, hypocrite, repugnant, crude, offensive, coward, wickedly false, dull, wretched, naïve, foolish, calamitous, cold, fools, harlot, callous, temptress, absurd, cruel, villains), exclamations (I shall be heard, nonsense), 17 religious exclamations (e.g. it comes as God wills it, God’s will, good God, God, good God man, Oh God, let it be in God’s hands, Heaven and Earth, in the name of God, be damned, My God, a man confesses to a clergyman to having committed adultery, a clergyman tells a man that a man being tempted by a woman is the work of the Devil). | profanity glossary |

The Last Duel SUBSTANCE USE

 – Men drink after a battle, men drink wine together, a man drinks wine, two men drink wine in the morning, several men drink at a long table, and people drink wine at a table.

The Last Duel DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Fealty, debt, honor, women as property, adultery, gender roles, revenge, duels, celebrity, vanity, pride, dignity, respect, forgiveness, illiteracy, right from wrong, treason, humiliation, character, loyalty, gossip, injustice, conflict, making enemies, the power of men, dowries.

The Last Duel MESSAGE

 – Legal systems seem to have advanced somewhat since the days of trial by combat.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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