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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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ed
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Ed Ramey ...
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Seamon Glass ...
Randall Deal ...
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Lewis Crone ...
Ken Keener ...
Second Deputy
Johnny Popwell ...
John Fowler ...
Kathy Rickman ...
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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What _did_ happen on the Cahulawassee River? See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

20 September 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Beim Sterben ist jeder der Erste  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director John Boorman, the gas station attendant's jig during "Dueling Banjos" was unscripted and spontaneous. See more »

Goofs

Ed refers to his son as "Charley" instead of "Dean". The son's name was Dean in both the book and the film trailer. (The actor's name was Charley.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lewis: You w- you wanna... you wanna talk about the vanishing wilderness?
Bobby: Lewis, listen - what are you so anxious about this?
Lewis: 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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Crazy Credits

The end credits only show the cast and a notice of where the location of the film was shot and the special thanks, which rolls over a shot of Ed and his wife laying down trying to sleep. It also shows the shot of the lake where the hand ascended up out of the water and the final credit reads 'Distributed by WARNER BROS' See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bates Motel: What's Wrong with Norman (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonshiner
Bob Dylan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A true classic
2 October 2000 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

This is without a doubt one of the best movies I have ever seen; a chilling account of a doomed canoe trip that will haunt your memory for years to come. It is disheartening to read the number of negative reviews for this excellent film, which I can only attribute to the one-dimensional nature of today's uber-blockbusters. It seems that the finer subtleties of good filmmaking present in Deliverance are lost on today's generation of moviegoers whose cinematic palates have been cloyed with multi-million-dollar special effects, unimaginative dialogue, mindless violence and saccharine plots. Every aspect of this movie has been wonderfully choreographed and combine to create a film that goes well beyond mere entertainment, simultaneously shocking and challenging the audience.

Everything that occurs in this movie serves a poignant purpose; the creators focus on quality rather than quantity. The plot, which seems simple enough, gradually takes on an eerily disturbing nature. The dialogue is sparse, but screenwriters and director use it as a strength, allowing events and cinematography to speak volumes about the characters. The violence, though disturbing, also acts as an integral piece of the film. The scenery is spectacular and Deliverance makes some of the best use of foreshadowing and silence I've ever seen in a movie.

Few movies leave such an impression on the viewer. To this day, I can't hear "Dueling Banjos"--or just about any banjo music for that matter--without thinking of this movie. Nor can I help but feel this movie doomed Ned Beatty's acting career (after seeing this film, every time you see Ned Beatty in any other role, you can't help but remember the infamous riverbank scene). Even people who have never seen the movie know the ghastly meaning of the words "squeal like a pig".

It is truly worth taking the time to see this film. It is an excellent treatise of the human reaction when challenged with fear, danger and adventure.


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