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Top duels: All

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Oct 21 2010
1 Doctor Who, The Christmas Invasion: The Doctor duels with the Sycorax Leader in a fight for Planet Earth. 25704
2 In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet fights a duel with Laertes. The weapons are not supposed to be fatal, but Laertes' sword is sharp, and the tip is poisoned. Both men are killed. 13642
3 King Arthur vs. Mordred 12990
4 1921: Benito Mussolini seriously wounded Francisco Ciccotti, at the time an editor in Rome, in a duel with swords. The duel lasted an hour and a quarter and ended with Ciccotti being unable to continue due to wounds received during the sword fight. 12591
5 Achilles vs. Hector 11779
6 David vs. Goliath 9582
7 Trojan War 9365
8 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père; D'Artagnan commits himself to fight three consecutive duels with Athos, Porthos, and Aramis 6923
9 In the Metal Gear Solid series there have been a number of duels, most of them between the hero and boss characters. Three memorable ones are; The duel between Solid Snake and Grey Fox, barehanded over a minefield. The duel between Liquid Snake and Solid Snake, barehanded fighting on Metal Gear REX; and the final duel between Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot, on top of Outer Haven. 5784
10 In The Count of Monte Cristo, The Count of Monte Cristo (Edmond Dantès) plans a duel with Viscount Albert Mondego, de Morcerf. However, no duel is ever fought, and Mondego apologizes. Monte Cristo also almost duels Mondego's father, the Count Fernand Mondego de Morcerf, but he learns Monte Cristo's true identity and bows out. There was also a recollection of Noitier de Villefort of him engaging with a duel and killing his opponent. He told the account to Franz d'Epinay, the son of the one Noitier killed. He did this in order to break up the plans of marriage to his granddaughter, Valentine. 5264
11 1569 Miguel de Cervantes bated but didn't kill Antonio Sigura. 4756
12 War and Peace: Pierre and Dolokhov duel. Leo Tolstoy himself barely escaped duels with fellow writers Ivan Turgenev and Nikolai Nekrasov. 4525
13 Vladimir Nabokov's Ada, or Ardour. 4012
14 1829: The Duke of Wellington and the 10th Earl of Winchilsea; both aimed wide. 3366
15 Luke Skywalker defeats Vader in a duel on board the Death Star 3224
16 The Highlander series features numerous duels between immortal warriors destined to fight. In the first film, a humorous duel occurs where a very drunk immortal fences with a sober man, is repeatedly run through but keeps getting back up to fight. 3113
17 Dark Shadows: in the 1795 storyline, Barnabas Collins had fought a duel against Jeremiah Collins in a duel after he learned he married his love Josette du Pres thanks to Angelique's spell, and the duel caused Jeremiah's death. 3093
18 1798: William Pitt the Younger and George Tierney 2605
19 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen has an "offstage" duel between Colonel Brandon and Mr. Willoughby over the seduction of Colonel Brandon's adopted daughter. 2583
20 In Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, the long-standing personal and philosophical differences between Naptha and Settembrini eventually result in a pistol duel; when Settembrini delopes by shooting into the air, Naphta calls him a coward and shoots himself. 2327
21 Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand; Cyrano is famous for his dueling. 1947
22 Libertine, a Baroque-style music video by Mylene Farmer starts with a duel between the singer and a man, ending in the man's death. 1825
23 The Princess Bride features several sword duels. 1767
24 1836: Nicholas I of Russia challenged by a nobleman 1554
25 Barry Lyndon, the 1975 movie by Stanley Kubrick includes many duels. It begins with a duel in which Barry's father is mortally shot by an unknown man. Years later Barry duels Captain Quin for Nora. The movie culminates in a duel with Barry's stepson, Lord Bullingdon. This last duel is not in the original novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. 1472
26 Menelaus vs. Paris 1455
27 Eugene Onegin by Aleksandr Pushkin (who was himself killed in a duel). Other Pushkin's works featuring duels are The Captain's Daughter, Gunshot, Caucasian Romance, and The Stone Guest. 1353
28 Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald; McKisco vs Barban. 845
29 1815: Daniel O'Connell and Norcot d'Esterre; d'Esterre was killed. 813
30 Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos; Valmont versus Danceny, Valmont allows himself to be killed 704
31 Mikhail Lermontov's novel A Hero of Our Time has a duel scene thought prophetic of the duel which would bring about the author's death 637
32 Fathers and Sons: Kirsanov and Bazarov duel is a culminating point of the novel; Turgenev also wrote a short story called Duellist. 620
33 The Skulls, a 2000 movie, culminates in a duel between the two main characters, though neither fires on the other and the fight is eventually interrupted by the father of one of the participants. 620
34 1779: Charles James Fox and Mr Adams 585
35 In the Blackadder the Third episode "Duel and Duality", the Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie) is challenged to a duel by the Duke of Wellington (Stephen Fry). Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) assumes his place but is saved in the eventual duel (using cannon) by a cigarette case. The Prince, in Blackadder's clothing, is shot dead by the Duke for insolence with Blackadder assuming the role of Prince (and later King). 521
36 1762: John Wilkes and Samuel Martin in Hyde Park. Martin, in his place in the House of Commons, had alluded to Wilkes as a "stabber in the dark, a cowardly and malignant scoundrel." Wilkes prided himself as much upon his gallantry as upon his wit and loyalty, and lost no time in calling Martin out. The challenge was given as soon as the House adjourned, and the parties repaired at once to a copse in Hyde Park with a brace of pistols. They fired four times, when Wilkes fell, wounded in the abdomen. His antagonist, relenting, hastened up and insisted on helping him off the ground; but Wilkes, with comparative courtesy, as strenuously urged Martin to hurry away, so as to escape arrest. It afterwards appeared that Martin had been practising in a shooting gallery for six months before making the obnoxious speech in the House; and soon after, instead of being arrested, he received a valuable appointment from the ministry. From: 'Hyde Park', Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878), pp. 375–405. URL: Date accessed: 25 December 2007. 511
37 1772: Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Captain Matthews; as the result of a quarrel between the two concerning Elizabeth Linley, to whom Sheridan was already secretly married, both men went to Hyde Park, but on finding it too crowded repaired instead to the Castle Tavern, Covent Garden, where they fought with swords. Both men were cut, but neither was seriously wounded. </ref> Sheridan won this duel as Mathews pleaded for his life after losing his sword. They fought a second duel in July at Kingsdown near Bath to resolve a dispute over the first duel. Both men's swords broke, and Mathews stabbed Sheridan several times, seriously wounding him, before escaping in a post chaise. 407
38 1809: George Canning and Lord Castlereagh; Canning was slightly wounded. 403
39 Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay has a section on "Duels and Ordeals"; see the [link]. 397
40 1694: John Law and Edward Wilson; Wilson challenged Law over the affections of Elizabeth Villiers (later Countess of Orkney); Wilson was killed. Law was tried and found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to a fine, upon the ground that the offence only amounted to manslaughter. Wilson's brother appealed and had Law imprisoned but he managed to escape to the continent. 396
41 In Ridicule, a French film directed by Patrice Leconte, protagonist Gregoire Ponceludon kills one of King Louis XVI's officers in a pistol duel. 326
42 1840: Joseph Howe was called out by a member of Nova Scotian high society for his populist writing. When his opponent fired first and missed, Howe fired his shot in the air and won the right to refuse future challenges. 278
43 222 BC: Marcus Claudius Marcellus taking the spolia opima from Viridomarus, king of the Gaesatae, at the Battle of Clastidium. 230
44 1786: Lord Macartney and Major-General James Stuart; Lord Macartney was wounded. 220
45 1800: John White, 39, Upper Canada's first lawyer and a founder of the law society, was fatally shot on January 3, 1800 by a government official named John Small, who challenged him to the duel. White was alleged to have gossiped at a Christmas party that Mrs. Small was once the mistress of the Duke of Berkeley in England, who'd tired of her and paid Small to marry her and take her to the colonies. 219
46 1780: William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and Colonel Fullarton 216
47 1668: George Villiers (later 2nd Duke of Buckingham) and Francis Talbot, 11th Earl of Shrewsbury; Shrewsbury was killed, and George Villiers' second Sir J. Jenkins was killed by the Earl's second. 164
48 1022: Tmutarakan' Prince Mstislav the Brave and Kasogs Prince Rededya. 98
49 1801: Captain John Macarthur duelled with William Paterson, shooting him in the shoulder. Macarthur was sent back to England to be court Martialled. 86
50 In The Devils by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolay Stavrogin duels Gaganov over a family insult. During the duel, Stavrogin intentionally fires into the air, which infuriates Gaganov. 76
51 1641: Kenelm Digby and a French nobleman named Mont le Ros. Digby, a founding member of the Royal Society, was attending a banquet in France when the Frenchman insulted King Charles I of England and Digby challenged him to a duel. Digby wrote that he ".. run his rapier into the French Lord's breast until it came out of his throat again"; Mont le Ros fell dead. 75
52 Mr. Midshipman Hornblower in the Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester; Horatio Hornblower duels Jack Simpson 69
53 Howard Waldrop's Fin de Cyclé culminates in a duel between Alfred Jarry and an antagonistic journalist, riding bicycles atop the Eiffel Tower. 63
54 1822: Richard Temple-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos and Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford. 51
55 29 BC: Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives vs. Deldo, king of the Bastarnae. 51
56 1835: William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley and Morgan O'Connell, son of Daniel O'Connell. Alvanley asserted that Morgan's father had been "purchased" by William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne on his accession to the office of Prime Minister, O'Connell retorted by calling Alvanley "a bloated buffoon". 48
57 1731: William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath and John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey of Ickworth 38
58 1765: William Byron, 5th Baron Byron and William Chaworth; Chaworth was killed. Byron was tried in the House of Lords and acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter, for which he was fined. 35
59 A Sentimental Education by Flaubert 22
60 1837: William Collis Meredith and James Scott. On Monday, 9 August 1837, at eight o’clock in the evening, Meredith (who had articled under the previously mentioned Clement-Charles Sabrevois de Bleury from 1831 to 1833) and Scott (no stranger to duels) stepped out to face one another on the slopes of Mount Royal, behind Montreal. Earlier that day, following a dispute over legal costs, Meredith had challenged Scott. Meredith chose James M. Blackwood to second him, whilst Scott’s choice was Louis-Fereol Pelletier. The pistols used were Meredith’s which he had bought in London, on a previous trip to England. On the first exchange Scott took a bullet high up in his thigh, and the duel was called to a stop. The bullet lodged itself in Scott’s thigh bone in such a way that it could not be removed by doctors, which caused him great discomfort for the rest of his days. Ironically for Scott, this was exactly where he had shot Sweeney Campbell in a duel when they were students. In the early 1850’s (Scott died in 1852), when both the adversaries had become judges, one of the sights then to see was Meredith helping his brother judge up the steep Court House steps, a result of the lameness in his leg that had remained with Scott since their encounter. Meredith was later knighted and went on to serve as Chief Justice of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec. 21
61 1820s: Fyodor Ivanovich Tolstoy killed eleven officers in various duels 21
62 1613: Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos and James Hay (later 1st Earl of Carlisle) 19
63 1731: George Lockhart of Carnwath, Scottish spy, writer and politician, killed in a duel in Scotland. 18
64 1652: George Brydges, 6th Baron Chandos and Colonel Henry Compton (grandson of Henry Compton, 1st Baron Compton); Compton was killed, Chandos was found guilty of manslaughter and died whilst imprisoned. 18
65 1712: Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun and James Douglas, 4th Duke of Hamilton; both were killed. Their seconds George Macartney, Esq and Colonel John Hamilton were found guilty of manslaughter. 13
66 1832: Évariste Galois and (possibly) Pescheux d'Herbinville; Évariste Galois, the French mathematician, died of his wounds at the age of twenty. 12
67 Romulus vs. Acro, king of the Caeninenses 5
68 1826: Rudkin versus Philpot a duel fought in Newfoundland at St. John's who met at West's Farm near Brine's Tavern at the foot of Robinson's Hill, adjacent to Brine's River to settle their seemingly long standing differences that was further exacerbated by the love of an Irish colleen who lived in a cottage near Quidi Vidi and a game of cards that ended in an argument over the ownership of the pot. 5
69 1817: John Ridout, 18, was shot dead on July 12, 1817 at the corner of what is now Bay St. and Grosvenor St. in Toronto by Samuel Peters Jarvis, 25. The reason for the duel was unclear. On the count of two, the nervous Ridout discharged his pistol early, missing Jarvis by a wide margin. Ridout's second, James Small (whose father survived the only other duel in York) and Jarvis' second, Henry John Boulton insisted that Jarvis be allowed to make his shot. Ridout protested loudly and asked for another pistol, but Small and Boulton were adamant that the strict code of duelling must be observed. Jarvis shot and killed Ridout instantly. Jarvis was pardoned by the courts, even though he had shot an unarmed man. < 5
70 1807: Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Baronet and James Pauli; both men were wounded. < 5
71 1613: Edward Bruce, 2nd Lord Kinloss and Sir Edward Sackville (later 4th Earl of Dorset); fought a duel over Venetia Stanley. They fought in Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands to avoid the wrath of the King; Lord Bruce was killed, but Venetia Stanley ended up marrying Sir Kenelm Digby. < 5
72 Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar, Kenobi is victorious. < 5
73 The Years Between, four-book series by Paul Féval, fils; and M Lassez: - 1928 features the on-going conflict between the fiery Cyrano de Bergerac and D'Artagnan the ageing legend. Three times they fight; various interruptions prevent either Gascon from receiving satisfaction. < 5
74 1835: Mr Roebuck and Mr Black, editor of the Morning Chronicle < 5
75 1821: John Scott and Jonathon Henry Christie. Scott was the founder and editor of the London Magazine. The duel was born out of the Cockney School controversy. John Gibson Lockhart had been abusing many of Scott's contributors in Blackwood's Magazine (under a pseudonym (Z), as was then common). In May 1820, Scott began a series of counter-articles, which provoked Lockhart into calling him "a liar and a scoundrel". In February 1820, Lockhart's London agent, J.H. Christie, made a provocative statement, and Scott challenged him. They met on 16 February 1821, at a farm between Camden Town and Hampstead. Christie did not fire in the first round, but there was a misunderstanding between the seconds, resulting in a second round. Scott was hit in the abdomen, and died 11 days later. Christie and his second were tried for willful murder and acquitted; the collection for Scott's family was a notable radical cause. < 5
76 1783: Richard Martin ("Humanity Dick"), who engaged in over 100 duels, fought George "Fighting" FitzGerald in the Castlebar barrack yard. Later in the same year Martin's cousin, James Jordan forces a duel: Jordan is shot and dies of his wounds. As a result of this, Martin later refuses to duel with Theobald Wolfe Tone, even though he was having an affair with his wife. < 5
77 1609: Sir Hatton Cheke and Sir Thomas Dutton fought in Calais. Cheke was killed. < 5
78 HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian; Stephen Maturin fights and kills Richard Canning over Diana Villers. Based on the Ashton–Allen duel? < 5
79 In Tombstone, Doc Holliday stands in for his friend Wyatt Earp in a duel with Johnny Ringo. This is based on one of several explanations for the unusual circumstances surrounding Ringo's death. < 5
80 1789: HRH Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Lennox; Lennox had called the Prince out after the Prince had accused him of making ".. certain expressions unworthy of a gentleman". Lennox had no recollection of making such expressions and his demands for a retraction were refused. Lennox demanded satisfaction; the two men met with pistols on Wimbledon Common on 26 May 1789. According to a report in The Times by the seconds, Lord Rawdon for the Prince and Lord Winchelsea for Lennox, Lennox's shot "grazed His Royal Highnesses' curl". The Prince then refused to fire stating that he had been called out to give satisfaction to Lennox and the satisfaction had been given and the matter was closed. < 5
81 1840: James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan and Captain Harvey Garnett Phipps Tuckett; Captain Tuckett was wounded. Cardigan was arrested, tried in the House of Lords and was acquitted. < 5
82 1787: Sir John MacPherson and a Major Browne; Browne had been British Resident at the court of Shah Alam II, he took offence at his recall and challenged MacPherson, the former Governor-General of India, on the latter's return to Britain. A pistol ball passed through MacPherson's coat and another struck a pocketbook in his coat pocket, but the two men were uninjured. < 5
83 1698: Oliver Le Neve and Sir Henry Hobart, 4th Baronet on Cawston Heath, Norfolk; Sir Henry was killed and Le Neve fled to Holland. [link] < 5
84 In Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman is forced into fighting a duel after a brief affair with a fellow officer's lover. Flashman gains a free shot after promising a large sum of money to the pistol loader to give his opponent blanks in his gun, but rather than attempt to kill his opponent, instead delopes and accidentally shoots the top off a bottle thirty yards away, an action that gives him instant fame and the respect of Duke of Wellington. In his next novel Royal Flash Flashman is kidnapped by Otto Von Bismark and is forced to acquire a pair of dueling scars administered by the duelmaster De Gautet. In disgust at having his face sliced like paper Flashman lunges De Gautet and cuts his abdomen. < 5
85 1839: The 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and Henry Gratton < 5


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