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Drama - US

Deliverance (1972)

Duration1h 49m
RatingsUK: X, USA: R, Banned in Italy.
Source of storyA book of the same name by James Dickey
DirectorJohn Boorman
Writers/ScriptJames Dickey (with unattributed changes by the director)
StarringJon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Bill McKinney, Herbert ‘Cowboy’ Coward
RatingsIMDb: 7.7 by 97,192 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 89% by 62 critics.

Elevator Pitch: Four city guys, led by Lewis, who has some outdoor skills, start on a trip down the turbulent Cahulawassee River by canoe, inspired by the fact that the whole area is soon to be submerged due to the construction of  dam. All but Lewis are literally and mentally out of their depths. When Ed and Ned come across a couple of armed mountain men, they are assaulted, and things are only brought to a stop when Lewis kills one of the men with his hunting bow. The remaining man escapes and the guys bury the dead man, Drew being traumatised by the events. But they are still far from civilisation and there is more for them to face.

Content: The famous scene where Bobby is raped by one of the mountain men takes place, apparently varying in length depending on the region and the means of presentation. It was distressingly lengthy on Spanish TV. At the beginning of their trip there is also the equally famous “Dueling Banjos” scene. It is well done, and during later doom laden moments, cadenzas can be heard echoing over the landscape. There is a lot of shooting of rapids, some camping and a bit of beer drinking. We see Ed being unable to shoot a deer with the hunting bow, so will he be able to cope when, due to Lewis being incapacitated, their survival may depend on him.

A View: On a budget said to have been about £2 million it made $46 million domestically in America, and got a 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as three Oscar nominations. Not everybody liked it. Roger Ebert particularly disliked the violence in the presentation. But I felt that it was brilliantly constructed. Right from the first scene, as the guys enter an area of rusted cars and derelict farm machinery, you know things will not go well. So for me an ALMOST MUST SEE, even though you may not like it. 

Additional Info: Apparently due to financial constraints the actors did almost all their own stunts with no insurance.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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