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 need to battle their way out of the valley and are asked to do things they never thought possible within themselves.Written by
It's been claimed that a real banjo player performed the fretting from behind actor Billy Redden in the dueling banjo sequence. However, any real player can tell you that the fingering seen on screen is not even remotely realistic, regardless of who actually performed it. See more »
When the main characters first meet the hillbillies they're on the right side of the river. After the accident in the rapids, and for Ed's climb up the cliff, they're on the left side of the river. They never passed under a bridge, but the surviving hillbilly is on that side of the river with them. 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 »
One version appears to have some extra music and sound effects, the other has these deleted. Both versions are available on home video. See more »
Unlike many other films, which are disturbing either by dint of their naked unpleasantness (Man Bites Dog) or their sheer violence (most Peckinpah films), Deliverance shocks by its plausibility. Certainly, the buggery scene is pretty straightforward in its unpleasantness, but the film's effect derives far more from its slow build-up and the tangible sense of isolation surrounding the four leads, both before and after everything starts to go wrong. The moment when the canoes pass under the child on the bridge, who does not even acknowledge the men he had earlier played music with, let alone show any sign of human affection towards them, is among the most sinister in modern film. The tension increases steadily throughout the canoe trip, and perseveres even after the final credits - the ending makes the significance of the characters' ordeals horrifically real. The movie's plausibility is greatly aided by the playing of the leads, particularly Ned Beatty and Jon Voight as the victim and reluctant hero respectively. Burt Reynolds, too, has never been better. The film's cultural influence is demonstrable by the number of people who will understand a reference to 'banjo territory' - perhaps only Get Carter has done such an effective hatchet-job on a region's tourist industry. I can think of only a handful of movies which put me into such a serious depression after they had finished - the oppressive atmosphere of Se7en is the best comparison I can think of. Although so much of it is excellent of itself, Deliverance is a classic above all because there are no adequate points of comparison with it - it is unique.
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