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Director John Boorman's harrowing adaptation of James Dickey's best-selling novel is a nightmarish descent into backwoods Americana. When four unsuspecting urbanites head into the mountains of northern Georgia for a weekend canoe trip, they have no idea what's in store for them. The group's macho leader, Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds), is driven by Hemingway-esque notions of man's ability to conquer nature, while his three friends--Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty), Drew Ballinger (Ronny Cox), and Ed Gentry (Jon Voight)--aren't so sure. As the men begin to navigate their way down the precarious rapids, they discover that nature isn't the only one out to get them. The eventual appearance of two menacing hillbillies turns the vacation into an all-out nightmare.
Photographed by the great Vilmos Zsigmond (MCCABE & MRS. MILLER, THE DEER HUNTER), DELIVERANCE is a compelling meditation on the dangers of masculine ritual. Reynolds dives headlong into the role that would make him a superstar, as does Beatty, whose legendary big-screen debut will never be forgotten. Boorman's thriller made two other lasting contributions to the pop-culture lexicon: the dueling-banjos sequence and the infamous line, "Squeal like a pig!"
Main Cast & Crew
John Boorman - Director
- Format: DVD (Deluxe Edition)
- Run Time: 109
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 085391165125
- Genre: Adventure
- Rating: R (MPAA)
- Release Date: July 1999
Based on James Dickey's novel, this harrowing film tells the story of an ill-fated canoe trip in deep backwoods America, where some of the natives are as scary as the country is beautiful. The film spawned the hit song "Dueling Banjos."
Theatrical release: July 7, 1972 Shot on location in Rabun County and Tallulah Gorge, Georgia, and South Carolina. Burt Reynolds helped good buddy Ned Beatty land the rather unfortunate part of Bobby. Both writer James Dickey and Boorman's son, Charley, have cameos. In the true spirit of 1970s Hollywood cinema, Boorman had the actors perform their own stunts. James Dickey won the National Book Award for his poetry in 1965. DELIVERANCE was his first novel. It was published in 1970. The National Board of Review named the film one of their "Ten Best Films of 1972."
"...[Its] genre's one true masterpiece....DELIVERANCE intends to stir both soul and conscience..." -- Rating: A+ - 03/10/1995 Entertainment Weekly, pp.74-5
5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hrillingly shot by Vilmos Zsigmond with a devastating immediacy....It's generally accepted that Burt gave his best performance under Boorman's direction..." - 10/01/2007 Total Film, p.131
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Vilmos Zsigmond's canoeing catastrophe remains hypnotic..." - 09/21/2007 USA Today, p.11D
5 stars out of 5 -- "It's a story that explores an interesting moral grey line, and as such this survivalist tale has never dated." - 04/01/2008 Ultimate DVD, p.75