So, let's say we've got at least two actors, with about the same level of success and popularity. They might be interested in making similar projects, have starred in similar roles, or may even be buds and want to make a film together; in any case, it is certain that people will love to see these two in a movie together to watch them go at it. Thus, we get a Dueling Stars Movie, a film whose entire reason for being (and the main reason to see it) is to see "those guys" together.

It should be noted that a film starring two bankable actors doesn't automatically qualify as a DSM. Here are a few qualifications that must be met:

'''1) The stars must be about equal in success and popularity.'''
For instance, ''Film/LethalWeapon'' is ''not'' a DSM: people didn't say "Aw man, Creator/MelGibson and Creator/DannyGlover are making a movie together, I gotta see this!"; Gibson provided the star power here (in fact, this is the movie that made Glover a star). Similarly, ''Film/RushHour'' wouldn't be considered this either: people didn't give a damn about seeing Creator/JackieChan and Chris Tucker going at it, they wanted to see Jackie Chan kick ass, and Tucker was along for the ride. This wasn't the case with the next two films though, where Jackie Chan was billed under Chris Tucker.

'''2) We are interested in seeing the film not only for the ''characters'' the actors play, but primarily to see ''them''.'''
People didn't go to see ''Film/LethalWeapon'' to watch Gibson and Glover play off each other, they went to see ''Murtagh and Riggs'' do that, which is an important distinction. In the same vein, while movies like ''Film/HarryPotter'' and ''Film/{{X-Men}}'' may have big name stars to their credit that we love to see together (Creator/AlanRickman, Creator/JasonIsaacs, Creator/KennethBranagh, etc. for the former; Creator/IanMcKellen and Creator/PatrickStewart for the latter), we don't go just to see them, we go to see Snape, Magneto, Professor X, and so on.

Now ''Film/FaceOff'', on the other hand, is perhaps the poster boy of this trope. The sheer [[CrazyAwesome awesome ridiculousness]] of the plot was just icing on the cake; what people really wanted to see was '''"[[Creator/JohnTravolta Travolta]]/[[Creator/NicolasCage Cage]]"''' (as the poster proclaimed) to see who could better [[ChewingTheScenery Chew The Scenery]] and blow up more stuff. Of course, a DSM need not be merely a action-blockbuster; sometimes we can get films where we actually want to see the stars ''act'': ''Film/TheLionInWinter'' is a good example of this, as the main draw is seeing two of the best actors in Hollywood (Creator/PeterOToole and Creator/KatharineHepburn) give it their all while they verbally eviscerate each other for two hours (Hepburn actually won Best Actress at the Oscars for her performance).

In short, this trope could be thought of as JustHereForGodzilla as applied to the film's stars, and as a result is practically ''made'' of SugarWiki/AndTheFandomRejoiced. It will very often (nay, almost inevitably) involve copious amounts of ChewingTheScenery, with the stars often making [[LargeHam glorious hams of themselves]], to the point that the [[WorldOfHam whole movie can be made of pure, juicy meat]], especially if the stars in question go after each other in a bout of HamToHamCombat.

A SubTrope of AllStarCast. Not to be confused with DuelingMovies.
* ''Film/TheForbiddenKingdom'' is Creator/JetLi vs Creator/JackieChan. First time ever the two famed martial artists have been in a movie, with its SignatureScene being their fight.
* ''Film/FaceOff'': Creator/JohnTravolta vs. Creator/NicolasCage. In fact, the plot of the movie is itself about them switching roles.
* ''Film/TheLionInWinter'': Creator/PeterOToole vs. Creator/KatherineHepburn. Also the Creator/PatrickStewart vs. Creator/GlennClose remake.
* ''Film/{{Heat}}'' was celebrated as the first film to finally star Creator/AlPacino and Creator/RobertDeNiro onscreen together. Later emulated by ''Film/RighteousKill'', which was made ''solely'' so the two would again star side-by-side. The first was both a critical and commercial success. The second was...not.
* ''Film/HellInThePacific'': Creator/LeeMarvin vs. Creator/ToshiroMifune as American and Japanese soldiers stranded on an island together? Oh, ''hell'' yes.
%%* ''Film/TheExpendables'' is fueled by this and [[RatedMForManly pure]] [[TestosteronePoisoning manly]] [[CrazyAwesome awesome]].
* ''Film/UniversalSoldier'': Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme vs. Creator/DolphLundgren.
* ''Film/TheToweringInferno'' with Creator/PaulNewman and Creator/SteveMcQueen, for which {{diagonal billing}} (one person's name top right, the other's lower left) was invented. In fact, at [=McQueen's=] insistance, both men were paid exactly the same and had the same number of lines.
* ''Film/MoonChild'', starring Japanese VisualKei superstars {{Gackt}} and Hyde (of L'Arc~en~Ciel fame). And the [[YaoiFangirl fangirls]] [[SlashFic rejoiced]].
* ''Film/{{Bowfinger}}''- Let's face it, it's got both Creator/SteveMartin and Creator/EddieMurphy.
* ''Film/TheBucketList'', because who wouldn't want to see Creator/JackNicholson and Creator/MorganFreeman on-screen together?
* ''Film/TangoAndCash'': Creator/SylvesterStallone and Creator/KurtRussell team up to kick ass? Yes please.
* ''Film/ThePrestige'': While it's adapted from a novel, its main attraction is seeing Creator/ChristianBale and Creator/HughJackman screw with each other (no, not ''[[FoeYay that]]'' way). Having Music/DavidBowie and Creator/AndySerkis certainly didn't hurt, either.
* ''Film/MrAndMrsSmith'', or ''Creator/BradPitt and Creator/AngelinaJolie Fight Each Other And Do Sexy Things''
* One of Hollywood's most famous examples is ''Film/TheSting'', where Creator/RobertRedford and Creator/PaulNewman get into dangerous situations and act manly together, following on from their huge success doing so in ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid''.
* ''Film/TheAfricanQueen'', which was Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/KatharineHepburn's only screen pairing to boot.
* ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'': Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio vs. Creator/TomHanks.
* Creator/BobHope and Music/BingCrosby in the ''Film/RoadTo ...'' movies--you were either watching to see those two [[VitriolicBestBuds spark off each other]], or for Dorothy Lamour.
* Even though they're only together for one hilarious scene, ''Film/{{Limelight}}'' was famous for finally putting two of the biggest stars of the silent film era, Creator/CharlieChaplin and Creator/BusterKeaton, on the same stage.
* ''Baby Mama'' was basically an excuse to see what happens when you give [=BFFs=] Creator/AmyPoehler and Creator/TinaFey a film together.
* ''Film/DateNight'' was similar with Creator/TinaFey and Creator/SteveCarell as a married couple.
* And let's be honest, people didn't go to see ''Film/MammaMia'' for the plot. They went to see Creator/MerylStreep and Creator/PierceBrosnan sing Music/{{ABBA}} songs.
* There were, in fairness, a few good reasons to go see ''Film/PublicEnemies''. No-one cared about any of them, except to see [[Creator/ChristianBale Batman]] square off with [[Creator/JohnnyDepp Jack Sparrow]].
* "A historical costume drama about UsefulNotes/AnneBoleyn and her sister fight over the Henry VIII? Booorrrin- Wait, the sisters are played by [[Creator/NataliePortman Natalie Portman]] and Creator/ScarlettJohansson? Well, I guess I'll give ''Film/TheOtherBoleynGirl'' a shot!"
* ''Borsalino'': Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon in the same movie in 1970, meaning possibly at the height of their national (and possibly international for Delon) fame. To find an American gangster movie with two top and highly bankable stars at the time it was made, you would have to wait for... let's say ''Film/{{Heat}}''.
* Creator/KirkDouglas and Creator/BurtLancaster made a couple of movies together including: ''Gunfight At The OK Corral'', ''Literature/SevenDaysInMay'' and last one, much later in their career when they were both older ''Tough Guys''.
** The FilmNoir ''I Walk Alone'' is Douglas vs. Lancaster, with zero scenes not featuring at least one or the other.
* ''Film/TheWayWeWere'' starred Music/BarbraStreisand and Creator/RobertRedford when they were both at the height of their careers.
* ''City Heat'' starred [[http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1978/1101780109_400.jpg Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds]].
* ''Film/TheManWhoWouldBeKing'' starring Creator/SeanConnery and Creator/MichaelCaine. The movie itself is great but it also inspired these great impressions by Creator/SimonPegg as Caine and Creator/NickFrost as Connery, as seen in this [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTYnPW1ZM_E outtake]] from ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'' and this [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_cPxXU2fOs one]] from ''Film/HotFuzz''.
* ''Film/{{War}}'' was basically an excuse to see Creator/JasonStatham and Creator/JetLi duke it out, mostly because we barely got to see it in ''Film/TheOne''. For those savvy enough, these two stars work well together and often get paired (see ''Film/TheExpendables'').
* Creator/JohnnyDepp and Creator/AngelinaJolie in ''Film/TheTourist''.
* Creator/AudreyHepburn and Peter O'Toole in ''Film/HowToStealAMillion''.
* Creator/GregoryPeck and Creator/SophiaLoren in ''Film/{{Arabesque}}''.
* Creator/JohnWayne and Creator/JamesStewart in ''Film/TheManWhoShotLibertyValance''.
* ''Fathers' Day'' teamed up Creator/BillyCrystal and Creator/RobinWilliams on the big screen for the first and only time.
* Music/FrankSinatra and Music/BingCrosby were the two most popular singers of their day. ''Film/HighSociety'', a musical remake of ''Film/ThePhiladelphiaStory'', had them ''singing a duet together'' -- the only time the two of them ever did this on screen.
* The original ''Film/{{Sleuth}}'' starring Creator/MichaelCaine and Creator/LaurenceOlivier.
* ''The Missouri Breaks'' (1976) starring Creator/JackNicholson and Creator/MarlonBrando.
* ''Film/AFewGoodMen'' has Creator/JackNicholson and Creator/TomCruise.
* Creator/MaeWest and Creator/WCFields in ''My Little Chickadee'' (page image).
* ''Film/FastFive'', starring Creator/VinDiesel and Creator/DwayneJohnson. Johnson's character was originally going to be an older guy, but awesomely enough the filmmakers took up a fan's suggestion on {{Facebook}} that it would be great to see Diesel and Johnson in a movie together. And it ''was''.
* ''Film/VivaLasVegas'' starring Music/ElvisPresley and Ann Margaret. The former of whose rock star career cooled a little bit since joining the army and the latter who was white hot after ''Theatre/ByeByeBirdie''.
* ''Film/{{Ishtar}}'' starring Creator/DustinHoffman and Creator/WarrenBeatty is a notoriously unsuccessful example.
* ''Film/CharlieWilsonsWar'' and ''Film/LarryCrowne'' starring Creator/TomHanks and Creator/JuliaRoberts.
* A ''rare'' theatrical example: Creator/DavidTennant and Creator/CatherineTate as [[DeconfirmedBachelor Benedick]] [[SlapSlapKiss and]] [[{{Tsundere}} Beatrice]] starring together in the Creator/RoyalShakespeareCompany's 2011 production of ''Film/MuchAdoAboutNothing''. The play was basically advertised as "Tennant and Tate together [[Series/DoctorWho again]]!!"
* Try ''Film/ThreeTenToYuma'' with Creator/RussellCrowe and Creator/ChristianBale.
* Another theatrical example: Mary Martin and Robert Preston in the 1966 Broadway musical ''I Do! I Do!''. Unusually for this trope, and even more unusually for a musical, [[OmegaCast they were the entire cast]].
* The main appeal of ''Film/SeraphimFalls'' is the showdown between Creator/PierceBrosnan and Creator/LiamNeeson, two greatly respected Irish actors.
* ''Film/DueDate'', starring Creator/RobertDowneyJr and Creator/ZachGalifinakis.
* ''Film/GrudgeMatch'' stars Creator/RobertDeNiro and Creator/SylvesterStallone as rival boxers, clearly drawing inspiration from ''Film/RagingBull'' and ''Film/{{Rocky}}''.
* ''Film/VivaMaria'' - Creator/BrigitteBardot and Jeanne Moreau.
* ''Film/TheLegendOfFrenchieKing'' - Creator/BrigitteBardot and Claudia Cardinale.
* ''Film/BlondeInBlackLeather'' - Monica Vitti and Claudia Cardinale.
* ''Film/DemolitionMan'': Creator/SylvesterStallone vs. Creator/WesleySnipes. The film's [[http://www.impawards.com/1993/posters/demolition_man.jpg poster]] doesn't make any bones about this being the whole point of the movie; resembling the poster from a prize fight or pro wrestling match.
* ''Film/WhiteMenCantJump'': Creator/WoodyHarrelson and Wesley Snipes. This worked so well that they paired up again in the less successful ''Film/MoneyTrain''.
* ''Film/TheSpecialist'' starred Creator/SylvesterStallone and Creator/SharonStone.
* ''Film/{{Oceans 11}}'' and ''Film/OceansEleven'' blur this with AllStarCast.
* ''Film/TheBlackCat'' pitted Creator/BorisKarloff against Creator/BelaLugosi and it was so successful that a number of other films featuring both of them were made as a result.
* ''Broadway Melody of 1940'' paired the top male tap dancer of the day (Creator/FredAstaire) with the top female tap dancer of the day (Eleanor Powell). The story was just an afterthought.
* ''Film/WhateverHappenedToBabyJane'', with Creator/BetteDavis and Creator/JoanCrawford. The actresses hated each other, and went out of their way to make life as unpleasant for each other as possible during filming.
* Who remembers ''Film/ZiegfeldFollies'' for anything other than Creator/FredAstaire and Creator/GeneKelly dancing together for the first time?
* ''Film/TheHunted'': Creator/TommyLeeJones vs. Creator/BenicioDelToro.
* ''Film/TradingPlaces'' starring Creator/DanAykroyd and Creator/EddieMurphy.
* ''Film/GuysAndDolls'' starring Creator/MarlonBrando and Creator/FrankSinatra.
* ''Film/InterviewWithAVampire'' starring Creator/TomCruise and Creator/BradPitt.
* ''Film/CapeFear'': Creator/GregoryPeck vs. Creator/RobertMitchum.
** The remake had Creator/RobertDeNiro vs. Creator/NickNolte.
* ''Film/{{Papillon}}'': Creator/SteveMcQueen vs. Creator/DustinHoffman.
* ''Film/DirtyRottenScoundrels'' paired Creator/MichaelCaine and Creator/SteveMartin.
** It's a remake of ''Bedtime Story'', which starred Creator/MarlonBrando and Creator/DavidNiven.
* ''Film/APerfectWorld'': Creator/KevinCostner vs. Creator/ClintEastwood.
* ''Film/TwoGuns'' paired Creator/DenzelWashington with Creator/MarkWahlberg.
* ''Film/KramerVSKramer'' is pretty obvious from the title - Creator/DustinHoffman vs. Creator/MerylStreep.
* A notoriously unsuccessful example was ''Film/BallisticEcksVsSever'', which paired Creator/AntonioBanderas with Creator/LucyLiu. The title is, in fact, a complete lie, as they fight each other in one scene and spend the rest of the film fighting other people.
* ''Film/KnightAndDay'' starred Creator/TomCruise and Creator/CameronDiaz.
* ''Film/SpyGame'' starred Creator/RobertRedford and Creator/BradPitt.
* ''Film/{{Showtime}}'' paired Creator/RobertDeNiro and Creator/EddieMurphy. Unsuccessfully.
** That same year, Murphy paired with Creator/OwenWilson for ''Film/ISpy''. Also unsuccessfully.
* ''Film/RoosterCogburn'', the sequel to ''Film/TrueGrit'', paired Creator/JohnWayne and Creator/KatherineHepburn.
* ''Film/TheBreakUp'': RealLife couple Creator/VinceVaughn vs. Creator/JenniferAniston.
* ''Film/WhatAboutBob'': Creator/RichardDreyfuss vs. Creator/BillMurray.
* ''Film/{{Beckett}}'': Creator/RichardBurton vs. Creator/PeterOToole.
* Creator/CharlieChaplin's final film, ''Film/ACountessFromHongKong'', paired Creator/MarlonBrando and Creator/SophiaLoren. It didn't help the film.
* ''Film/AmericanGangster'': Creator/DenzelWashington vs. Creator/RussellCrowe. Also, ''Film/{{Virtuosity}}''.
* ''Film/TheHardWay'' paired Creator/MichaelJFox and Creator/JamesWoods.
* ''Film/TwoMulesForSisterSara'' paired Creator/ClintEastwood with Creator/ShirleyMacLaine.
* ''Film/ThePrivateLivesOfElizabethAndEssex'': Creator/BetteDavis vs. Creator/ErrolFlynn.
* Creator/JohnFord's western ''Film/TheHorseSoldiers'' paired Creator/JohnWayne and Creator/WilliamHolden.
* ''Film/AngerManagement'': Creator/AdamSandler vs. Creator/JackNicholson.
* ''Film/SweetSmellOfSuccess'' paired Creator/BurtLancaster and Tony Curtis.