Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
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The Cahulawassee River valley in Northern Georgia is one of the last natural pristine areas of the state, which will soon change with the imminent building of a dam on the river, which in turn will flood much of the surrounding land. As such, four Atlanta city slickers - alpha male Lewis Medlock, generally even-keeled Ed Gentry, slightly condescending Bobby Trippe, and wide-eyed Drew Ballinger - decide to take a multi-day canoe trip on the river, with only Lewis and Ed having experience in outdoor life. They know going in that the area is ethno-culturally homogeneous and isolated, but don't understand the full extent of such until they arrive and see what they believe is the result of generations of inbreeding. Their relatively peaceful trip takes a turn for the worse when half way through they encounter a couple of hillbilly moonshiners. That encounter not only makes the four battle their way out of the valley intact and alive, but threatens the relationships of the four as they do ... Written by
The cliff climbing scene was shot "day for night", meaning that the footage was shot during the day and underexposed with a bluish tint (in post-production). Because film stocks were so slow (up until the late 1970s), and the anamorphic lenses were slow (didn't let in as much light as spherical lenses), and a plethora of lights were often needed, day for night was common practice for many films with night scenes during that period of filmmaking. Faster film stock has made the technique less common. See more »
The boy's banjo is an open-back model used in old-time music, and we see him playing without picks in the style known as claw-hammer, or drop-thumb. However, the famous "Dueling Banjos" tune we hear during the scene is clearly played on a resonator banjo using finger-picks, in the more modern three-finger bluegrass style. See more »
You w- you wanna... you wanna talk about the vanishing wilderness?
Lewis, listen - what are you so anxious about this?
Because they're buildin' a dam across the Cahulawassee River; they're gonna flood a whole valley, Bobby, that's why. Dammit, they're drownin' a river; they're drownin' a river, man.
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In the opening credits there is an obvious typo. About the main song first is written: "'Duelling Banjos' Arranged and played by Eric Weissberg with Steve Mandel". Right after that follows "The song 'Dueling Banjos' is an arrangement of the song 'Feudin' Banjos', copyright owner - Combine Music Corp." See more »
I think one of the words that most describes the events in this film to me is brutal. When I saw this as a young lad, I felt the isolation of the four characters, cut-off from the world they are used to and thrown into a brutal world where nature is harsh (the rocks and canyons along the river always scare me) and the local folk are a complete world away. The film still scares the sh*t out of me! I mean, what would YOU do if you were confronted by two hill-billies in a situation like that?
It's so easy to remain distant and see the film as "entertainment", but take a reality-check and immerse yourself in the story. It's a shame some just don't appreciate the film - guess we're used to adrenaline-pumping action from start to finish nowadays, but that's too easy - it doesn't require emotional involvement from the viewer unlike a film such as Deliverance...
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