Cast includes: Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), Burt Reynolds (White Lightning), Ned Beatty (Network), Ronny Cox (Beverly Hills Cop)
Director: John Boorman (The Tailor of Panama)
Genre: Adventure/Drama/Suspense Thriller (1972)
In brief: “They’re drowning the river… just about the last wild, clean, unpolluted river in the south,” Lewis tells his friends, as he tries to talk them into a canoe trip on the Cahulawassee River. “The last chance to see the river” before they dam it up. “We’ll leave Friday from Atlanta, and I’ll have you back in time for the football game on Sunday afternoon.” So the foursome… macho Lewis, timid Ed, Bobby, the salesman and thoughtful Drew… set off.
While stopping in a rundown hillbilly town for gas, Drew strums his guitar. His musical phrases are answered by a banjo, played by a strange looking young man. Their musical dialog is the now-famous “Dueling Banjoes.” While they connect musically, the city boys and the locals don’t even seem to speak the same language. The weekend adventurers need someone to drive their cars to Aintree, their trip destination. “What the hell you want to go prowl that river for?” “Because it’s there,” Lewis answers. “It’s there, all right. You get in there and get lost, you gonna wish it weren’t.” As it turns out, the first day is exhilarating. They run the rapids and survive. “We’re connecting with something we lost.” “We didn’t lose it; we sold it,” Lewis laments. On the second day, Bobby and Ed meet up with some diabolical locals. “This ain’t the way to Aintree. You done taken a wrong turn,” they say. Right quick, the encounter turns ugly. And if it weren’t for Lewis’s good aim, Bobby and Ed would have been dead. But now the foursome has a body to deal with, a river to negotiate and some vengeful hillbillies who know the area a lot better then they do.
Deliverance delivers suspense on many levels… both physical and psychological. We have an uncomfortable feeling in the beginning, but the suspense kicks into high gear when Bobby and Ed have their near-death run-in during the early part of the movie. And the suspense never let’s up. Even when they’ve reached the end of the trip, deliverance from evil is not assured. This film was made 4 decades ago and it’s as suspenseful today as it was then. It’s not just the adventure… the story development is impeccable. It’s a relief when it’s over.
4 popped kernels
One of the most suspenseful adventure films ever made