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Deliverance (1972)



Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 47,869

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted from James Dickey's popular novel, John Boorman's 1972 movie recounts the grueling psychological and physical journey taken by four city slickers down a river in the backwoods of Georgia. At the behest of Iron John-esque Lewis (Burt Reynolds), the less adventuresome Ed (Jon Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty), and Drew (Ronny Cox) agree to canoe down an uncharted section of the river before a dam project ruins the region. After warnings from the grimy, impoverished locals, and Drew's tuneful yet


Drama, Classics

Jun 1, 2004

Warner Bros.

Watch It Now


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All Critics (53) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (3) | DVD (27)

Each of the four lead performances is exceptional, none more so than Burt Reynolds' beefy, supercilious Lewis.

August 24, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

John Boorman's 1972 film of the James Dickey novel has a beautiful visual style that balances the film's machismo message.

September 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the stuff of which slapdash oaters and crime programmers are made but the obvious ambitions of Deliverance are supposed to be on a higher plane.

September 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (6)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a haunting, nightmarish vision.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fantasy about violence, not a realistic consideration of it.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (14)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So many of Dickey's lumpy narrative ideas remain in his screenplay that John Boorman's screen version becomes a lot less interesting than it has any right to be.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (2)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Boorman's film still speaks to us in profound ways, as if to indicate hidden wisdom has long rested in frames glossed up by a once-shocking philosophy.

August 19, 2014 Full Review Source:

This powerful adaptation of James Dickey's best-selling novel finds director John Boorman establishing a sense of menace almost from the start, and the "squeal like a pig" sequence continues to haunt viewers even decades after the fact.

July 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Boorman's interpretation of the material resulted in an American cinematic classic built not only on shock and awe, but emotional subtlety. [Blu-ray]

July 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

A sad, brilliant reminder that sometimes people are the most threatening monsters of all.

August 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

This is the most shocking and disturbing mainstream American horror film of the 1970s.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

As coffin nails for the sixties go, this negation of all ideological idealism is a pretty final one.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

No movie in the history of American cinema has struck fear in the hearts of men as Deliverance.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Morose, shockingly violent yet strangely beautiful.

September 18, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This ultra-violent powerful adventure, which deals with serious, metaphysical issues of survival and civilization vs. wilderness, boasts eerie images and awesome sounds.

September 16, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It's a movie of contrasts, the primary one emphasizing the differences between modern Man, with his impulse to change things, and primal Nature, with its pristine beauty.

September 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

This man-versus-nature story is also about man indulging his most uncivilized instincts, and in their various ways the four men on the canoe trip are transformed.

August 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

So good you'll squeal like a pig

October 29, 2005 | Comment (1)

This unnerving outdoor adventure still ranks as the best film of Burt Reynolds' up and down career. And you'll never forget what happens to Ned Beatty.

October 9, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Boy's adventure story with adult incidents that's a near masterpiece.

July 31, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It doesn't all hold together, but when it does, it scares you into never ever wanting to vacation down South.

November 28, 2003
New Times

Audience Reviews for Deliverance

Four friends explore the whitewater rapids of country backwoods, but their fishing trip turns tragic when one of their members is sexually assaulted.
In what could be a cliche horror/slasher film, Deliverance explores themes of civilization and ethical dilemmas. The scenes between the backwoods, redneck natives and the cultured, civilized explorers take on a unique significance because we're meant to question the characterizations with which we approach these people. Are the civilized really that civilized? Does one have to respond to violence with violence in a violent context?
Strong performances by Jon Voight, whose character acts as a kind of moral center to the film (the film is - in some ways - a battle for Ed's soul), and Burt Reynolds, the adaptable tough guy, carry the film.
Overall, this is a classic for good reason, a film that takes serious issues with the gravity they deserve.
September 17, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

"Sometimes you have to lose yourself 'fore you can find anything."

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.

One of the most famous works made by John Boorman, Deliverance is also one of the most momentous movies shot in the seventies. Its reputation comes from the fact that the director chose to take the opposite view of how nature was commonly perceived in American cinema. Indeed, many films showed a positive view of it and showcased it as a happy refuge where man could find relief and strength from a stressful civilization. In a way, this is the goal that the four main protagonists in Boorman's film indirectly try to reach. They decide to go down the river in a canoe to go back to their roots and to take advantage of a rural place that is bound to be swallowed up by a dam. At first, Boorman seems to be on their side. The film depicts numerous shots of a gorgeous river and imposing landscapes. Details reinforced by a slow, contemplative rhythm and a discreet editing. Moreover, Drew (Ronny Cox) tries to communicate with a muted peasant through music.

But little by little, Boorman reveals to the audience that elements of these beautiful landscapes make nature dangerous and hostile to the four adventurers. One can note down that before the apparition of the two silly peasants, Lewis (Burt Reynolds) had animal instincts in him. After the killing of one of the two men, he chooses to bury the corpse and not to call the police. From this watershed onwards, Boorman manages to create an intense tension that won't subside. On the contrary, it will increase with the other misadventures endured by the four men. None of them will be spared and all of them will keep physical or moral scars from this sad trek. The message conveyed by the filmmaker is clear: man must accept society and his return to nature can only damage his personality. A must see film.
September 24, 2012
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

There's much that stays in memory after seeing this extraordinary film. You have the bizarrely entertaining "Dueling Banjos" scene at the beginning of the story. Then there's the infamous male rape scene, which its perhaps most known for. What strikes me the most, however, are the engrossingly absorbing performances by actors Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, John Voight and Ronny Cox. Bill McKinney and Herbert Coward are incredibly convincing as well, as the two depraved mountain men, who turns the four friends' river-rafting trip into a harrowing and tightly wound nightmare. The depth and intricacy invested into these characters, in combination with James Dickey's fantastic script, is what puts the meat on the structural bones of this film, while simultaneously making it a tremendously compelling watch. The complete and sudden turn-around from a lighthearted adventure to an intense and graphic drama-thriller, is brilliantly done, leaving you shocked and paralyzed at what unfolds before your eyes. There's this great line spoken by Burt Reynolds, where he says that "Sometimes you have to lose yourself, before you can find anything". Well, I was happy to lose myself into this outstanding piece of classic cinema. For within I found an unique dramatic journey, wealthy in character and elaborate in its making. A reflection of human nature at its darkest and most disturbing, but also two hours of great suspense and pulse-pounding intrigues. Whatever your reasons for seeing it, however, there's one thing that holds true to all viewers: it's a movie beyond convention that is impossible to forget or be unaffected by. A one-of-a-kind, supremely directed thriller, that now goes straight to my Top 10 list for Best Movies of the 1970's. Highly recommended, to anyone who has the stomach to manage it discomforts.
May 9, 2012
Mike S

Super Reviewer

Deliverance is an intense film with an impressive cast. The film is famous for the "dueling banjos scene" and many others. The films focuses on a group of men who travel deep in the woods, and have to face odds in order to survive a terrible ordeal. Deliverance is an accomplished Thriller with great performances. The story is both horrifying and thrilling. The film isn't a straight forward horror film, even though it's been acclaimed in horror circles. The film of course has a horrifying scenario. If this film would be close to a horror film, it would be a psychological horror drama. Deliverance is a hard film to watch, it's disturbing, vicious and its realism makes it disturbing. The cast do a great job in their respective parts, and this film proves at one point that Burt Reynolds could actually act. This is a hard film to watch, but one that every film fan should see due to the significance of the overall work. Deliverance is a solid film that is bold, brutal, engrossing and thrilling. You'll never see quite a film like this one. The cast elevate the film and the story, though simple is very effective to make the viewer feel uneasy. A terrific film that you won't soon forget, Deliverance is definitely a classic of drama. With elements of horror thrown into the film, Deliverance may as well also appeal to horror fans, even though it's not a straight forward horror film. The acts are horrifying, but there is nothing excessively scary about this film. The film is more shocking that scary due to the horrifying acts behind bestowed upon the city slickers in the film.
September 24, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Bobby Trippe: Weeeeeeeeeee! Weeeeeeeeeeee!
    – Submitted by russell b (21 months ago)
    1. Drew Ballinger: Is he alive?
    2. Lewis Medlock: Not now.
    – Submitted by David T (2 years ago)
    1. Toothless Man: He got a real pretty mouth ain't he?
    – Submitted by Tyler H (2 years ago)
    1. Drew Ballinger: Goddamn, you play a mean banjo!
    – Submitted by Harold M (2 years ago)
    1. Mountain Man: Squeal like a pig!
    2. Bobby Trippe: [squeals like a pig]
    – Submitted by Jackson L (2 years ago)
    1. Mountain Man: I bet you can squeal like a pig.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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