Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's dammed and turned into a lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a canoeing trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
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 dwellers, alpha male Lewis Medlock, Ed Gentry, Bobby Trippe, and 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 isolated. Their relatively peaceful trip takes a turn for the worse halfway through with river rapids and unwelcoming locals. The four battle need to their way out of the valley and are asked to do things they never thought possible within themselves.Written by
When Ed reaches the top of the Cliff, two hikers are visible on a trail on the opposite side of the river. 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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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 »
The TBS "Dinner and a Movie" version not only omits Ned Beatty's rape, but also removes portions of scenes involving the hillbillies, so that emphasis seems more focused on the men versus the elements instead of the locals. See more »
In what is arguably the best outdoor adventure film of all time, four city guys confront nature's wrath, in a story of survival. The setting is backwoods Georgia, with its forests, mountains, and wild rivers.
The director, John Boorman, chose to use local people, not actors, to portray secondary characters. These locals imbue the film with a depth of characterization unequaled in film history. No central casting "actors" could ever come close to these people's remarkable faces, voices, or actions. I don't recall a film wherein the secondary characters are so realistic and colorful. As much as anything else, it is this gritty realism that makes this film so amazing.
Another strength is the film's theme. Nature, in the wild, can be violent. How appropriate that the setting should be the American South. Very few places in the U.S. are, or have been, as violent as redneck country. In a story about Darwinian survival of the fittest, the film conveys the idea that humans are part of nature, not separate from it.
"Deliverance" is very much a product of its time when, unlike today, Americans expressed concern over a vanishing wilderness. The film's magnificent scenery, the sounds of birds, frogs, crickets, and the roar of the river rapids, combined with the absence of civilization, all convey an environmental message. And that is another strength of the film.
At an entertainment level, the tension gradually escalates, as the plot proceeds. Not even half way into the film the tension becomes extreme, and then never lets up, not until the final credits roll. Very few films can sustain that level of intensity over such a long span of plot.
Finally, the film's technical quality is topnotch. Direction and editing are flawless. Cinematography is excellent. Dialogue is interesting. And the acting is terrific. Burt Reynolds has never been better. Ned Beatty is perfectly cast and does a fine job. And Jon Voight should have been nominated for an Oscar. If there is a weak link in the film, it is the music, which strikes me as timid.
Overall, "Deliverance" almost certainly will appeal to viewers who like outdoor adventure. Even for those who don't, the gritty characterizations, the acting, and the plot tension are reasons enough to watch this film, one of the finest in cinema history.
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