Deliverance: Wikis


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Movie poster by Bill Gold
Directed by John Boorman
Produced by John Boorman
Written by Novel:
James Dickey
James Dickey
John Boorman
Starring Jon Voight
Burt Reynolds
Ned Beatty
Ronny Cox
James Dickey
Cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond
Editing by Tom Priestley
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 30, 1972
Running time 109 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Deliverance is a 1972 American thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman. Principal cast members include Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox, and Ned Beatty in his film debut. The film is based on a 1970 novel of the same name by American author James Dickey, who has a small role in the film as a sheriff. The screenplay was written by Dickey and an uncredited Boorman.

In 2008, Deliverance was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".



Four Atlanta businessmen – Lewis (Reynolds), Ed (Voight), Bobby (Beatty), and Drew (Cox) – decide to canoe down the fictional Cahulawassee River in the remote Georgia wilderness, expecting to have fun and see the glory of nature before the river valley is flooded over by the upcoming construction of a dam and lake. Lewis, an experienced outdoors-man, is the de facto leader. Ed is also a veteran of several trips but lacks Lewis' machismo. Bobby and Drew are novices.

From the start, it is clear the four are far from what they know as civilization. The locals are crude and unimpressed with the presence of outsiders, and the film implies that some of them are inbred. Drew briefly connects with a local banjo-playing boy by joining him in an impromptu bluegrass jam. But when the song ends, the boy turns away without saying anything, refusing the impressed Drew's handshake. The four "city boys", as they are called by one of the locals, exhibit a slightly condescending attitude toward the locals; Bobby, in particular, is patronizing.

The men spend the day canoeing down the river in pairs before camping by the riverside at night. Shortly before they retire for bed, Lewis tells the others to be quiet before disappearing into the dark woods to investigate a sound he heard. He returns shortly after and says that he didn't find anything. When asked whether he heard "something or someone," he tells them he doesn't know. While traveling the next day, the foursome's two canoes are briefly separated. Pausing briefly to get their bearings, Bobby Buttrill and Ed encounter a pair of unkempt hillbillies (Bill McKinney and Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward) emerging from the woods, one wielding a shotgun. After a stray comment about moonshine offends the hillbillies, Bobby Buttrill is forced at gunpoint to strip naked. McKinney's character chases after and physically harasses Bobby as he tries to escape. His ear is twisted to bring him to his hands and knees, and he is then ordered to "squeal like a pig" as McKinney's character rapes him. Ed is bound to a tree with his own belt, helpless as McKinney's character violently sodomizes Bobby.

Hearing the commotion, Lewis (who is wary of danger in the woods) secretly sneaks up and kills the rapist with an arrow from his hunting-bow; meanwhile, the other captor quickly escapes into the woods. A brief but heated debate ensues between Lewis and Drew about whether to inform the authorities. Lewis argues that they would not receive a fair trial, as he claims that the entire local population are related to one another, and the jury would comprise the dead man's friends and relatives. Likewise, Bobby does not want the incident of his sodomy to become public. Lewis tells them that since the entire area would be flooded by a lake soon, the body would never be found and the escaped hillbilly could not inform the authorities since he had participated in the incident. The men vote to side with Lewis's recommendation to bury the dead hillbilly's body and continue as though nothing had happened. During the digging, Drew is obviously agitated, and screams at each exertion.

The four make a run for it downriver, cutting their trip short, but soon disaster strikes as the canoes reach a dangerous stretch of rapids. After repeated requests by Ed to don his life jacket, an unnerved Drew ignores them without a word of explanation. As Drew and Ed reach the rapids in the lead canoe, Drew shakes his head and falls forward into the river.

After Drew disappears into the river, Ed loses control of his canoe and both canoes collide on the rocks, spilling Lewis, Bobby, and Ed into the river. Lewis breaks his femur and the others are washed ashore alongside him. Encouraged by the badly-injured Lewis, who believes the toothless hillbilly shot Drew and is now stalking them, as well as knowing that they can never survive the rapids at night, Ed climbs a nearby rock face in order to dispatch the suspected shooter using his bow, while Bobby stays behind to look after Lewis. Ed reaches the top and hides out until the next morning, when he sees the man he was looking for standing on the cliff holding a rifle, looking down into the gorge where Lewis and Bobby are hiding.

Ed, a champion archer who earlier lost his nerve while aiming his bow at a deer he was tracking, freezes again in spite of his clear shot and imminent danger. The man notices Ed and raises his rifle to fire. Ed clumsily releases his arrow after the man fires, sending his bullet slamming into the rock just next to Ed. Ed falls to the ground in a panic and accidentally stabs himself with another one of his arrows. The man reaches Ed and starts to shoot him, but collapses, revealing Ed's arrow sticking through him. Ed checks the body and sees he is dead, but then suddenly realizes that the man has a full set of teeth and seems to be the wrong man. He then finds false removable teeth inside of the hillbilly's mouth. Ed lowers the body down the cliff with a rope and climbs down after it. Near the bottom, his rope breaks, and after falling into the river, he meets back with Bobby and Lewis riverside.

Ed and Bobby weigh the dead hillbilly down with stones and drop him into the river. Later, they come upon Drew's grotesquely-contorted corpse, and, after being unable to find any definite gunshot wound, they also weigh it down and sink in the river to ensure that it will never be found.

When they finally reach their destination, the town of Aintry (which will soon be submerged by the dammed river, and is being evacuated), they take the injured Lewis to the hospital while the Sheriff comes to investigate the incident. True to Lewis's predictions, one of the deputies is related to one of the deceased hillbillies and is highly suspicious. The three hastily concoct a cover story for the authorities about Drew's death and disappearance being an accident, lying about their ordeal to Sheriff Bullard (played by author James Dickey) in order to escape a possible double murder charge. The sheriff clearly doesn't believe them, but has no evidence with which to charge them. Later, after thinking it over, he simply tells Ed: "Don't ever do nothin' like this again...Don't come back up here... I'd kinda like to see this town die peaceful," to which Ed readily agrees. The men vow to keep their story a secret for the rest of their lives, which proves to be psychologically burdensome for Ed; in the final scene, he awakes screaming from a nightmare in which a dead man's hand rises from the lake.


Critical Reception

Deliverance was well received by critics and is widely regarded as one of the best films of 1972.[1][2][3][4] The film currently holds a 94% "Certified Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[5] Widely acclaimed as a landmark picture, the film is 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, set at a rural gas station, character Drew Ballinger plays the instrumental "Dueling Banjos" on his guitar with a hillbilly youth named Lonnie (implied as being an inbred albino in the novel[citation needed]) who is portrayed by Billy Redden in the film, though a body double actually played the banjo.[6] The song won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance. The film was selected by The New York Times as one of The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, while the viewers of Channel 4 in the United Kingdom voted it #45 in a list of The 100 Greatest Films.

Awards and nominations

Nominated for:

American Film Institute


Deliverance was shot in the Tallulah Gorge south of Clayton, Georgia and on the Chattooga River, dividing the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Additional scenes were shot as well in Salem, South Carolina and Sylva, North Carolina. A scene was also shot at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church cemetery, which now lies 300 feet under the surface of Lake Jocassee, South Carolina[7].

John Boorman's gold record for the "Dueling Banjos" hit single was later stolen from his house by the Dublin gangster Martin Cahill, a scene Boorman recreated in The General (1998), his biographical film about Cahill. In addition to the movie's famous theme, there are also a number of sparse, brooding passages of music scattered throughout, including several played on a synthesizer. Some prints of the movie omit much of this extra music. Other than Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel's credit for "Dueling Banjos", no one is credited for any of the incidental music.

Differences from the novel

Although the film closely follows the novel which is written 'in persona', some sections are different. Examples include the character description of Ed (in the novel, Ed was bald and in his late 40s), the missing introduction (explaining why they decided to go on a canoe trip instead of playing golf), and an epilogue after the events. There is also no mention of the infamous 'Squeal like a pig' sentence in the novel. In the film, only Bobby's line of work is mentioned (he is an insurance salesman). The novel additionally reveals that Ed is a graphic designer or art director for an advertising agency, Drew works as a sales representative for a large Atlanta-based soft drink manufacturer (most likely The Coca-Cola Company, though it's not referred to by name), and Lewis is simply an unspecified white-collar worker. The first section of the book describes a day at the office for Ed, which (except for the opening voiceover) is omitted from the movie.

Ned Beatty states that he created the infamous "squeal piggy" line while he and actor Bill McKinney were improvising the scene.[8] James Dickey's son, Christopher Dickey, in his book, Summer of Deliverance, said that it was one of the crewmen who suggested that Ned Beatty's character, "Bobby", "squeal like a pig" — to add some backwoods horror to the scene and to make it more shocking. According to Boorman's running commentary for the HD DVD and Blu-ray editions, the studio wanted the scene shot two ways, one of which would be acceptable for TV. Boorman didn't want to do this, and as "Squeal like a pig" was a good replacement for the (presumably obscene) dialog in the script, it was substituted, as it would work for both the theatrical and TV versions.



  1. ^
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  6. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (2009-11-05). "Body double plays banjo". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  7. ^ ""Cable network to detail history of Lake Jocassee"".,+2009. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
    "Regarding his debut film, Deliverance (1972), in which his character undergoes an unforgettably vivid sexual assault, Beatty said: 'The whole "Squeal Like a Pig" thing ... came from guess who.' As the audience laughed, he theatrically put his head in his hands and silently pointed to himself, before elaborating how director Boorman encouraged him to improvise the scene with his onscreen tormentor, Bill McKinney."

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Deliverance is a 1972 film about four suburban professional men from Atlanta, Georgia on a weekend canoe and camping trip into the dangerous American back-country.

Directed by John Boorman. Written by James Dickey, based on his novel of the same name.
This is the weekend they didn't play golf. taglines
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.


Lewis Medlock

  • Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything...A couple more months, she'll all be gone...from Aintry on up. One big dead lake.
  • I sleep at night. I have no worries. I am becoming myself, as inconsequential as that may be. I am not something that somebody shoved off on me. I am what I chose to be, and I am it.


[Lewis and Ed take a wrong turn looking for the river]
Lewis: Well, we fucked up.
Griner: Where you goin' city boy?
Lewis: We'll find it. We'll find it.
Griner: It ain't nothin' but the biggest fuckin' river in the state.

Lewis: The first explorers saw this country, saw it just like us.
Drew: I can imagine how they felt.
Bobby: [about the rapids] Yeah, we beat it, didn't we? Did we beat that?
Lewis: You don't beat it. You never beat the river chubby.

Lewis: Machines are gonna fail and the system's gonna fail...then, survival. Who has the ability to survive? That's the game - survive.
Ed: Well, the system's done all right by me.
Lewis: Oh yeah. You gotta nice job, you gotta a nice house, a nice wife, a nice kid.
Ed: You make that sound rather shitty, Lewis.
Lewis: Why do you go on these trips with me, Ed?
Ed: I like my life, Lewis.
Lewis: Yeah, but why do you go on these trips with me?
Ed: You know, sometimes I wonder about that.

Mountain Man: What the hell you think you're doin'?
Ed: Headin' down river. A little canoe trip, headin' for Aintry.
Mountain Man: Aintry?
Bobby: Sure, this river only runs one way, captain, haven't you heard?
Mountain Man: You ain't never gonna get down to Ain-.
Ed: Well, why not?
Mountain Man: 'Cause. This river don't go to Aintry. You done taken a wrong turn. See uh, this here river don't go nowhere near Aintry.
Bobby: Where does it go, then?
Mountain Man: Boy, you are a lost one, ain't ya?
Bobby: Well, hell, I guess this river comes out somewhere, don't it? That's where we're goin'. Somewhere. Look, we don't want any trouble here.
Ed: If you gentlemen have a still near here, hell, that's fine with us.
Bobby: Why sure. We'd never tell anybody where it is. You know somethin', you're right, we're lost. We don't know where in the hell we are.
Toothless Man: A still?
Bobby: Right, yeah. You're makin' some whiskey up here. We'll buy some from ya, we could use it, couldn't we?
Mountain Man: Do you know what you're talkin' about?
Ed: We don't know what we're talkin' about, honestly we don't.
Mountain Man: No, no. You said somethin' about makin' whiskey, right? Isn't that what you said?
Ed: We don't know what you're doin' and we don't care. That's none of our business.
Mountain Man: That's right. It's none of your god-damned business, right.
Ed: We got quite a long journey ahead of us, gentlemen.
Toothless Man: Hold it. You ain't goin' no damn wheres.
Ed: This is ridiculous.
Toothless Man: Hold it, or I'll blow your guts out all over these woods.
Ed: Gentlemen, we can talk this thing over. What is it you require of us?
Mountain Man: What we, uh, "re-quire" is that you get your god-damn asses up in them woods.

Mountain Man: Now, let's you just drop them pants.
Bobby: Drop?
Mountain Man: Just take 'em right off.
Bobby: I-I mean, what's this all about?
Toothless Man: Don't say anything, just do it.
Mountain Man: Just drop 'em, boy. [To Ed - at knifepoint] You ever had your balls cut off, you fuckin' ape? Looky there, that's sharp. Bet it would shave a hair.
Toothless Man: Why don't you try it and see? [To Bobby] Take off that little ol' bitty shirt there, too. [To Mountain Man] Did he bleed?
Mountain Man: He bled. [To Bobby] Them panties. Take 'em off. [After attacking him] Hey boy, you look just like a hog....[Holding Bobby's nose as he straddles him from behind] Come on piggy, give me a ride...Looks like we got us a sow here, instead of a boar....I bet you can squeal. I bet you can squeal like a pig.
Bobby: Weee!
Mountain Man: Weeeeeeee!
Bobby: Weee!

Mountain Man: What do you want to do now?
Toothless Man: [grinning] He's got a real pretty mouth on him, don't he?
Mountain Man: Ain't that the truth.
Toothless Man: [to Ed] You gonna do some prayin' for me, boy. And you better pray real good.

Lewis: What are we gonna do with him?
Drew: There's not but one thing to do. Take the body down to Aintry. Turn it over to the Highway Patrol. Tell 'em what happened.
Lewis: Tell 'em what exactly?
Drew: Just what happened. This is justifiable homicide if anything is. They were sexually assaulting two members of our party at gunpoint. Like you said, there was nothin' else we could do.
Ed: Is he alive?
Lewis: Not now. Well, let's get our heads together. [To vengeful Bobby] Come on now, let's not do anything foolish. Does anybody know anything about the law?
Drew: Look, I-I was on jury duty once. It wasn't a murder trial.
Lewis: A murder trial? Well, I don't know the technical word for it, Drew, but I know this. You take this man down out of the mountains and turn him over to the Sheriff, there's gonna be a trial all right, a trial by jury.
Drew: So what?
Lewis: We killed a man, Drew. Shot him in the back - a mountain man, a cracker. It gives us somethin' to consider.
Drew: All right, consider it, we're listenin'.
Lewis: Shit, all these people are related. I'd be god-damned if I'm gonna come back up here and stand trial with this man's aunt and his uncle, maybe his momma and his daddy sittin' in the jury box. What do you think, Bobby? [Bobby rushes at the corpse, but is restrained] How about you, Ed?
Ed: I don't know. I really don't know.
Drew: Now you listen, Lewis. I don't know what you got in mind, but if you try to conceal this body, you're settin' yourself up for a murder charge. Now that much law I do know! This ain't one of your fuckin' games. You killed somebody. There he is!
Lewis: I see him, Drew. That's right, I killed somebody. But you're wrong if you don't see this as a game...Dammit, we can get out of this thing without any questions asked. We get connected up with that body and the law, this thing gonna be hangin' over us the rest of our lives. We gotta get rid of that guy!...Anywhere, everywhere, nowhere.
Drew: How do you know that other guy hasn't already gone for the police?
Lewis: And what in the hell is he gonna tell 'em, Drew, what he did to Bobby?
Drew: Now why couldn't he go get some other mountain men? Now why isn't he gonna do that? You look around you, Lewis. He could be out there anywhere, watchin' us right now. We ain't gonna be so god-damned hard to follow draggin' a corpse.
Lewis: You let me worry about that, Drew. You let me take care of that. You know what's gonna be here? Right here? A lake - as far as you can see hundreds of feet deep. Hundreds of feet deep. Did you ever look out over a lake, think about something buried underneath it? Buried underneath it. Man, that's about as buried as you can get.
Drew: Well, I am tellin' you, Lewis, I don't want any part of it.
Lewis: Well, you are part of it!
Lewis: The law? Ha! The law?! What law?! Where's the law, Drew? Huh? You believe in democracy, don't ya?
Drew: Yes, I do.
Lewis: Well then, we'll take a vote. I'll stand by it and so will you.


  • This is the weekend they didn't play golf.
  • What did happen on the Cahulawassee River?
  • Four men ride a wild river. A weekend turns into a nightmare.


External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Deliverance is a 1972 drama movie made by Warner Bros.. It was directed by John Boorman and starred Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, and Jon Voight. It was based on a book written in 1970 by James Dickey, who also wrote the screenplay and had a small part in the movie.

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