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An amazing, memorable picture that's well directed and anchored by the leads. A instant classic
entertaining vibe the whole way through
This is everything that a thriller should be as it's plot and character development are minimal but the individual scenes play out with such tension and horror that even though we know so little about these men we just want them to survive. Director John Boorman would later settle into making sentimental pictures like Hope and Glory (1987) and Queen and Country (2014) he proved that he has the ability to stage action scenes and capture emotions uniquely. Obviously nothing that came out in 1972 was going to be able to compete with The Godfather (1972) but this film and The Emigrants (1972) round out an excellent Best Picture lineup with the exception of Cabaret (1972).
Four men head to hillbilly country in the north of Georgia to spend a couple of days whitewater rafting at the local river before a dam is built over it. The enigmatic and forceful Lewis Medlock, Burt Reynolds, leads the group while occasionally clashing with everyman Ed Gentry, Jon Voight. Accompanying them are the kind and well meaning Drew Ballinger, Ronny Cox, and the shy Bobby Trippe, Ned Beatty, who will each face issues of their own. Their trip initially goes well as they enjoy their experience of rafting and get along well but after a horrific event they end up killing a local and decide that they must hide his body instead of confessing. Following this decision they go to increasingly extreme measures to hide their secret and after an accident they are left injured and fighting for their own lives.
The much spoken about rape scene in the film is still shocking 47 years later as Beatty gives such an affecting performance and the scene is filmed without feeling exploitative. We understand why these men have strong motive to kill the man who has raped their friend and we feel their burning anger against these people who are both idiotic and absolutely terrifying. Fortunately it is not just this scene that makes the film gripping as the sight of a heavily injured Voight climbing the side of a cliff and them trying their hardest to survive in the rapids cause us to hold our breath. The film is not just there to titillate with explicit imagery but stretches itself to portray the fear and hysteria that this sort of event could inspire in a group of relatively ordinary men pushed to the limits.
Discussing the film is difficult because it's story is very simple but what is contained inside the individual scenes impresses and stuns with it's attention to detail. Importantly the performers seem completely committed to their roles as Voight even did his own stunt work in the film. All of the emotions that the audience feel cross his face as he is our conduit into the situation lacking the ruthlessness of Medlock or the moral purity of Ballinger. Beatty is fantastic as always with some of the most memorable moments in the film as he is instantly likable and we are devastated by the horrors he faces. However it is Cox who really stands out as the kind, caring Ballinger who cannot stand for the actions of the rest of the men and the dueling banjos scene alone should have earned him an Academy Award nomination. Everyone in the cast gives committed, finely tuned performances deserving of more attention than they receive.
Perhaps the film drags on a little too long as we spend a seemingly unnecessary amount of time with Gentry as he returns home but the film is mostly well paced and at just 110 minutes it will not leave anyone bored. The film is aware of how thin and simple it's plot is and doesn't pretend to be anything more than a tense thriller but what a tense experience at that. Fans of the genre will surely enjoy it but even someone like myself who prefers romantic comedies and family dramas will find something to appreciate in it. Like most great pieces of entertainment it has mass appeal and people of all ages can sit down and enjoy the experience of watching a couple of men descend into hell despite their innocent intentions, we can all sympathize with these men.
Deliverance is a classic survival tale. It starts with the characters going on a peaceful ride on the river one last time... Then BAM! They get in trouble with the natives and must get down the river. Alive now. It might be a little over the top but it's a great film.
Horribly written, and completely unrealistic. The characters throw logic conpletley out the window and hope you don't notice. A whole movie of painfully drawn out scenes of grown men being unecssarly loud thinking it's causing dramatic effect.
Events so brutally traumatic have rarely been shot so beautifully, a divergence between story and style that is as jarring as whitewater rapids and as incompatible as a group of city slickers in the backwoods of the country—which is to say, the discordant bifurcation at the heart of the film itself oddly reflects, like a face in moving water, the conflict of the narrative, which is built upon (even as it underexplores) conventional dichotomies between man and nature, civilization and savagery, guitar and banjo, and so on.
Amazing cast and great story and perhaps one of the most brutal disturbing shocking movie moments of all time.
Delivarance: Taut and- ’Lana who do i remind you of? Lana, lana, lana, LANA!!’ (Sigh) Burt Reynolds in delivarance... ‘No not Delivarance, in Gator!’
As a movie that was made in 1972 this definitely deserves recognition as one of the best movies of all time. While it's a bit slow I found myself immersed in the story. The acting was superb. In the end and this was a first watch , the movie surprised me.
this was pretty good