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.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ed
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Ed Ramey ...
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Seamon Glass ...
Randall Deal ...
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Lewis Crone ...
Ken Keener ...
Second Deputy
Johnny Popwell ...
John Fowler ...
Kathy Rickman ...
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Storyline

The Cahulawassee River valley in Northern Georgia is one of the last natural pristine areas of the state, which will soon change with the imminent building of a dam on the river, which in turn will flood much of the surrounding land. As such, four Atlanta city slickers - alpha male Lewis Medlock, generally even-keeled Ed Gentry, slightly condescending Bobby Trippe, and wide-eyed Drew Ballinger - decide to take a multi-day canoe trip on the river, with only Lewis and Ed having experience in outdoor life. They know going in that the area is ethno-culturally homogeneous and isolated, but don't understand the full extent of such until they arrive and see what they believe is the result of generations of inbreeding. Their relatively peaceful trip takes a turn for the worse when half way through they encounter a couple of hillbilly moonshiners. That encounter not only makes the four battle their way out of the valley intact and alive, but threatens the relationships of the four as they do ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the weekend they didn't play golf. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

20 September 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Beim Sterben ist jeder der Erste  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bobby is the only one of the four leads whose occupation is revealed (an insurance salesman). The book reveals that Ed is a graphic designer, Lewis is a landlord and Drew is a soft drink executive. See more »

Goofs

When burying the murdered hillbilly, the boys are very careful to include the shotgun in his grave, but nothing is seen of the fatal, bloody arrow that could incriminate them. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lewis: You w- you wanna... you wanna talk about the vanishing wilderness?
Bobby: Lewis, listen - what are you so anxious about this?
Lewis: Because they're buildin' a dam across the Cahulawassee River; they're gonna flood a whole valley, Bobby, that's why. Dammit, they're drownin' a river; they're drownin' a river, man.
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Crazy Credits

In the opening credits there is an obvious typo. About the main song first is written: "'Duelling Banjos' Arranged and played by Eric Weissberg with Steve Mandel". Right after that follows "The song 'Dueling Banjos' is an arrangement of the song 'Feudin' Banjos', copyright owner - Combine Music Corp." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Legend of the Bog (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonshiner
Bob Dylan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The thin line between "civilization" and barbarism
12 July 2001 | by (San Gabriel, Ca., USA) – See all my reviews

As Peckinpah did with STRAW DOGS, and Kubrick with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, director John Boorman delivers an effective film about Man's violent side in DELIVERANCE, arguably a definitive horror film of the 1970s. Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox portray four Atlanta businessmen who decide to take a canoe trip down the wild Cahulawassee River in northern Georgia before it is dammed up into what Reynolds calls "one big, dead lake."

But the local mountain folk take a painfully obvious dim view of these "city boys" carousing through their woods. And the following day, continuing on down the river, Beatty and Voight are accosted and sexually assaulted (the film's infamous "SQUEAL!" sequence) by two vicious mountain men (Bill McKinney, Herbert "Cowboy" Coward). Thus, what started out as nothing more than a lark through the Appalachians has now turned into a nightmare in which our four protagonists come to see the thin line that exists between what we think of as civilization and what we think of as barbarism.

James Dickey adapted the screenplay from his own best-selling book, and the result is an often gripping and disturbing shocker. Often known for its "SQUEAL!" and "Dueling Banjos" sequences, DELIVERANCE is also quite a pulse-pounding ordeal, with the four leading men superb in their roles, and McKinney and Coward making for two of the most frightening villains of all times. A must-see film for those willing to take a chance.


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