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Deliverance (1972)

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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.



(screenplay), (novel)
1,520 ( 190)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Ed
... Lewis
... Bobby
... Drew
Ed Ramey ... Old Man
... Lonnie
Seamon Glass ... First Griner
Randall Deal ... Second Griner
... Mountain Man
... Toothless Man
Lewis Crone ... First Deputy
Ken Keener ... Second Deputy
Johnny Popwell ... Ambulance Driver
John Fowler ... Doctor
... Nurse


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


What _did_ happen on the Cahulawassee River? See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 September 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Beim Sterben ist jeder der Erste  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$46,122,355, 31 December 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Much of the dialogue was taken almost verbatim from the source novel. See more »


As Ed is getting ready to release Drew's body into the river and says, "He was the best of us," to Bobby, you can see Drew's eyes blink a few times before being released. See more »


[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 »


Bob Dylan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A fantastic portrait of terror in mind vs terror in reality
27 May 2016 | by See all my reviews

To try and explain the greatness of Deliverance, you must first understand the impact this film had when it came. Most of us have probably seen a horror film about a gang in the woods that gets harassed and stalked by people. Deliverance is the father of these films and an original that stands really well to this day as one of the best films ever made in the genre. A gang of four guys ventures out in nature to paddle canoes along Cahulawassee River before it gets flooded into a lake. However their boat trip does not turn out the way they had hoped for when they suddenly gets stalked and harassed by the locals. Burt Reynolds plays the outdoor fanatic Lewis who brings his friends on the journey, Jon Voght, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox. The film is directed by John Boorman from the novel by the same name from 1970.

What is it then that makes Deliverance so incredibly good. At the beginning of the film the gang is traveling by car, the mood is good and very typical for guys. After having a short break to fill up the cars with petrol and listening to the famous banjo duel "Dueling Banjos" between Ronny Cox's character and a local boy, they head for the river. What happens next out on the river is like a nightmare and also very psychologically demanding. Deliverance always feels so real and genuine that you truly become frightened. How would you yourself react in a similar situation so far away from civilization? After the gang starts to get harassed in the woods, the panic and fear increases. They all react differently, and rightly so, no human being is the other alike. That is just what makes it so good, the characters' different personalities. The film then sort of becomes a psychological mind game, perhaps mostly taking place in their heads. Are they being followed, how will they get out of the situation they are in and what will they say when they return?

Besides the psychological aspects of Deliverance, it is also incredibly beautiful to watch. It's completely filmed on location out in the woods with actors willing to perform the different stunts themselves. As I wrote when I reviewed The Revenant, this is also a man vs wild film. In the beginning we experience nature as incredibly beautiful and stunning but later it quickly turns to become your worst nightmare. Incredibly well done by the director. The absolute greatness in Deliverance lies according to me in the end and the summarization of the film. What really happened and what didn't happen. How do you react to these kinds of situations out in the middle of nowhere? Can we return with our senses intact and how do you change as a person after experiencing something like it? Without spoiling the story too much, I've here tried to review and explain what Deliverance is to me. I recommend everyone to watch it and it is very high up on my list of the best films ever made.

David Lindahl - www.filmografen.se

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