Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Widely acclaimed as a landmark film, it is the story of four southern suburbanites on a weekend getaway to canoe down the fictional Cahulawassee River in the remote Georgia wildernesses, hoping to have fun and see the glory of nature before the river valley is flooded over with the upcoming construction of a dam. The trip turns into a terrifying ordeal revealing the primal nature of man, his animal instincts of survival, and even his potential for violence.
Travelling in twos, their canoes are briefly separated and the occupants of one canoe (Bobby and Ed) encounter a pair of gritty mountain men emerging from woods. In what remains one of the most disturbing scenes in film history, at gunpoint one of the canoeists, character Bobby Trippe, is forced to strip naked, his ear twisted to bring him to his knees, and then ordered to "squeal like a pig" before being sodomized while is Ed bound to a tree by his belt tightened around his neck.
The film is also noted for the memorable music scene near the beginning that sets the tone for what lies ahead: a trip into unknown and potentially dangerous territory. In the scene at the rural gas station, character Drew Ballinger plays the instrumental "Dueling Banjos" on his guitar with a retarded mountain boy named Lonny (implied as being an inbred albino in the James Dickey novel), who eventually outplays Drew with his banjo. The song won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance. One mountain man is killed by Lewis' archery skills, and the four make a run for it downriver, but soon Drew is shot and killed from behind in his canoe by the other mountain man, and then Lewis breaks his femur in the following boat crash in the rocky rapids. For their survival, Ed must climb the cliffs and overcome his very fears in order to dispatch the other mountain man with his bow and arrow. The three leave the river valley forever, lying about their ordeal to police investigators (the sheriff was played by author James Dickey) in order to escape their double murder charge, and vowing to keep their story of death and survival a secret for the rest of their lives.
Deliverance was shot on the Chattanooga River, dividing the states of South Carolina and Georgia. In the years following the film's release, more than 30 people have drowned attempting to recreate the canoe trip along the section of the river where the film was shot. The rapids within both book and film become a major symbol and plot device to reflect the natural dangers of the untamed wilderness towards urban outsiders.
In 2001, the book was named as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the editorial board of the American Modern Library. The film was selected by the New York Times as one of "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made."
Running time: 109 minutes
- Director: John Boorman
- Producer: John Boorman
- Original story: James Dickey from his novel
- Screenplay adaption: James Dickey
- Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
- Music: Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell - "Dueling Banjos" (1955 composition by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith)
- Jon Voight - Ed Gentry
- Burt Reynolds - Lewis Medlock
- Ned Beatty - Bobby Trippe
- Ronny Cox - Drew Ballinger
- James Dickey - Sheriff Bullard
- Billy Redden - Lonny
- Seamon Glass - First Griner
- Randall Deal - Second Griner
- Bill McKinney - Mountain Man
- Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward - Toothless Man
- Academy Award for Best Picture
- Golden Globe Award for Best Picture - Drama
- New York Film Critics Circle for Best Film
- Academy Award for Directing - John Boorman
- Golden Globe Award for Best Director - John Boorman
- New York Film Critics Circle for Best Director - John Boorman
- Academy Award for Film Editing - Tom Priestley
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Drama - Jon Voight
- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song - Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell
- Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - James Dickey
For the album by the Swedish band Opeth, see Deliverance.
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