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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)
1,286 ( 184)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Where does the camping trip end...and the nightmare begin? 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?


John Boorman wanted Vilmos Zsigmond as Director of Photography because he'd famously filmed the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. Boorman reckoned that anyone who had filmed under the threat of Russian tanks and guns would be ideally suited to an intensive and grueling shoot, which this movie promised to be. See more »


The rope used to bring the body down from the cliff is thicker than the rope Ed wore over one shoulder and across the chest. 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

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 »


Referenced in Married with Children: The Camping Show (1988) See more »


Duelling Banjos
Written by Arthur Smith (uncredited)
Arranged and played by Eric Weissberg with Steve Mandel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Powerful and Real Deliverance Delivers
29 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

Perhaps there are other movies that so painfully, accurately portray savage violence and the impact it has on the individual but I don't think I've ever seen any. Deliverance is one of the most powerful movies I've seen, haunting me with its nightmarish imagery and forcing me to ask myself the question "How far would I go in a similar situation? And what effect would it have on me?" A rarity for a film, it does not soften the blow of the original story, its meaning nor the questions it raises for the viewer. People complain about violence in movies but that vast majority of violence is nothing more than glorified cartoonish fiction, a testosterone release for boys of all ages. It's false and one dimensionally clichéd, usually written by arm chair warriors who get their notions of violence from tall tales others have told them, usually in the form of more bad fictional violence they have seen in other movies, comic books, etc. For anyone who has experienced it or honestly evaluated it, real, brutal violence is not fun nor a cause for celebration for those that survive or "win". The swaggering, "good guy" hero may be fun to watch in the western movie, and I enjoy a good vicarious release film as much as the next guy, but these heroes don't really exist, certainly not as the brash, righteous hero they're colored as. Real, brutal violence is just that, real and brutal. There aren't any "winners" or "heroes" when it comes to savagery and killing, just survivors who are profoundly impacted, irrevocably changed in a harsh and painful way. If you're unsure of this fact, just ask anyone who really has experienced it, not the teller of tall tales as most are but the veteran who lives next door but came back strangely changed and won't discuss the nightmares he's living. Survivors of real, savage violence don't brag about it in bars and wear it as a badge of courage. They seldom or never discuss it, so unfortunately the naive think the liars who spin tales of false bravado are real. We need real violence in movies, the impact it has on the soul of a person. For once I'd like to see when someone gets hit on the head in the film hard enough to be knocked out that almost a third of them will die from their injuries and the remaining survivors will not jump up, perfectly fine when it's advantageous to the story but come to and pass out repeatedly, experiencing searing headaches unlike anything you can imagine, vomiting and unable to stand for hours sometimes days due to their severe cranial concussion. If there were more movies like Deliverence that deliver a real story, powerfully and unapologetically, violence in movies would become a powerful tool for education, very probably reducing its frequency by those who shockingly discover being involved is nothing to be proud or righteous about, a lesson learned way too late by so many walking wounded, often living right next to to you.

As a side note, I was told by a literary friend that James Dickey wrote this over the course of a manic weekend on a bet. He was a poet who at a cocktail party on a Friday argued with an acquaintance that writing fiction was much easier than poetry. He set out to prove it and the novel Deliverance was the result. Certainly, the novel follows the weekend time line exactly. Great story, but I have yet to be able to authenticate it.

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