367 user 129 critic

Deliverance (1972)

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.



(screenplay), (novel)
1,296 ( 439)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


What _did_ happen on the Cahulawassee River? See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 September 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Beim Sterben ist jeder der Erste  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$46,122,355, 31 December 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Following the film, tourism increased to Rabun County by the tens of thousands. By 2012, tourism was the largest source of revenue in the county. Jon Voight's stunt double for this film, Claude Terry, later purchased equipment used in the movie from Warner Brothers. He founded what is now the oldest whitewater rafting adventure company on the Chattooga River, Southeastern Expeditions. By 2012 rafting had developed as a $20 million industry in the region. See more »


When Ed comes down the cliff right after the mountain man is shot with an arrow, a crew member's hands and arms are visible, feeding the rope down the cliff. See more »


[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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits only show the cast and a notice of where the location of the film was shot and the special thanks, which rolls over a shot of Ed and his wife laying down trying to sleep. It also shows the shot of the lake where the hand ascended up out of the water and the final credit reads 'Distributed by WARNER BROS' See more »


Referenced in NCIS: Suspicion (2007) See more »


Duelling Banjos
Written by Arthur Smith (uncredited)
Arranged and played by Eric Weissberg with Steve Mandel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brutal, Beautiful and Brilliant.
24 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

Four Atlanta friends - Lewis (Burt Reynolds), Ed (John Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty), and Drew (Ronny Cox) – decide to canoe down the Cahulawassee River out in the Georgia wilderness. They see it as a test of manliness whilst also wanting to experience this part of nature before the whole valley is flooded over to make way for the upcoming construction of a dam and lake. But the perils of nature are not the only dangerous things in their midst, unfriendly wood folk are about to bring another dimension in terror.

Deliverance is one of those films that sometimes suffers by way of reputation. Much like Straw Dogs and 70s films of that type, the hype and promise of unremitting hell often isn't delivered to an expectant modern audience. Which is a shame since Deliverance is one of the finest, glummest, brutalistic and beautiful films of the 1970s.

Adapting from James Dickey's novel (screenplay duties here also), British director John Boorman crafts a tough and powerful film of men out of their environment, thus out of their league. As each man sets off initially, it's a test of manhood, but each guy is forced to deconstruct their worth, and it soon becomes more about survival as this deadly adventure proceeds. Boorman, aided by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, has painted a raw and treacherous landscape, unconquered by city slickers but dwelt in by inbreds who don't take kindly to the city folk showing up with their machismo attitudes. From the first point of contact with the strange locals, where Drew goes "duelling banjos" with an odd looking child, the film doesn't let up, much like the locals themselves, the film also is remorseless. Some critics over the years have proclaimed that Deliverance is too pretty, mistaking lush physicality as something detracting from the dark thematics at work. Not so, the Chattooga River sequences are electrifying, the rapids scenes (brilliantly filmed with Voight and Reynolds doing real work, and getting real injuries) are merely setting up the unmanning of our "macho" guys just around the corner. It's a fabulous and potent piece of "beauty". With the four cast leaders absolutely brilliant in their respective roles. In fact there are few better casting decisions ever than that of Reynolds as Lewis, one can only lament that he didn't have more hard edged serious roles in his career.

Minor itches exist, metaphors are heavy (Vietnam a 70s staple it seems) while ecological concerns are hinted at without being as prominent as they are in the novel. Surveying the landscape during the opening of the piece, Lewis reflects that man is going to rape this land, rape it, it's stuff like that that is not totally formed, given way to abject horror and survival, Lewis again noting that survival is the name of the game. A game of life and death, where man's primal being means violence may indeed beget violence. Boorman clearly agreed. 10/10

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 367 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Steven Spielberg's Most Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs

"The IMDb Show" takes a look at the new trailer for Ready Player One and breaks down director Steven Spielberg's five greatest Easter eggs of all time. Plus, we connect the dots between IMDb's Top 10 Stars of 2017.

Watch now