Box art for Deliverance


action & adventure, drama, thrillers

Four city men on a weekend canoe trip pit their nerve and muscle against the churning waters of a wild Georgia river -- where only three are "delivered" from the heart-pounding experience.

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movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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    reviews counted: 10
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Top Critic Reviews


- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: John Boorman's 1972 film of the James Dickey novel has a beautiful visual style that balances the film's machismo message.

- Don Druker, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fresh: Highlight of New American Cinema, this ultra-violent powerful adventure offers some serious, metaphysical issues of survival and civilization vs. wilderness. Boasting eerie images and awesome sounds, the film is credited with making Burt Reynolds a star

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

"Sometimes you have to lose yourself 'fore you can find anything." 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. REVIEW One of the most famous works made by John Boorman, Deliverance is also one of the most momentous movies shot in the seventies. Its reputation comes from the fact that the director chose to take the opposite view of how nature was commonly perceived in American cinema. Indeed, many films showed a positive view of it and showcased it as a happy refuge where man could find relief and strength from a stressful civilization. In a way, this is the goal that the four main protagonists in Boorman's film indirectly try to reach. They decide to go down the river in a canoe to go back to their roots and to take advantage of a rural place that is bound to be swallowed up by a dam. At first, Boorman seems to be on their side. The film depicts numerous shots of a gorgeous river and imposing landscapes. Details reinforced by a slow, contemplative rhythm and a discreet editing. Moreover, Drew (Ronny Cox) tries to communicate with a muted peasant through music. But little by little, Boorman reveals to the audience that elements of these beautiful landscapes make nature dangerous and hostile to the four adventurers. One can note down that before the apparition of the two silly peasants, Lewis (Burt Reynolds) had animal instincts in him. After the killing of one of the two men, he chooses to bury the corpse and not to call the police. From this watershed onwards, Boorman manages to create an intense tension that won't subside. On the contrary, it will increase with the other misadventures endured by the four men. None of them will be spared and all of them will keep physical or moral scars from this sad trek. The message conveyed by the filmmaker is clear: man must accept society and his return to nature can only damage his personality. A must see film.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Monday, September 24, 2012

4 stars

There's much that stays in memory after seeing this extraordinary film. You have the bizarrely entertaining "Dueling Banjos" scene at the beginning of the story. Then there's the infamous male rape scene, which its perhaps most known for. What strikes me the most, however, are the engrossingly absorbing performances by actors Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, John Voight and Ronny Cox. Bill McKinney and Herbert Coward are incredibly convincing as well, as the two depraved mountain men, who turns the four friends' river-rafting trip into a harrowing and tightly wound nightmare. The depth and intricacy invested into these characters, in combination with James Dickey's fantastic script, is what puts the meat on the structural bones of this film, while simultaneously making it a tremendously compelling watch. The complete and sudden turn-around from a lighthearted adventure to an intense and graphic drama-thriller, is brilliantly done, leaving you shocked and paralyzed at what unfolds before your eyes. There's this great line spoken by Burt Reynolds, where he says that "Sometimes you have to lose yourself, before you can find anything". Well, I was happy to lose myself into this outstanding piece of classic cinema. For within I found an unique dramatic journey, wealthy in character and elaborate in its making. A reflection of human nature at its darkest and most disturbing, but also two hours of great suspense and pulse-pounding intrigues. Whatever your reasons for seeing it, however, there's one thing that holds true to all viewers: it's a movie beyond convention that is impossible to forget or be unaffected by. A one-of-a-kind, supremely directed thriller, that now goes straight to my Top 10 list for Best Movies of the 1970's. Highly recommended, to anyone who has the stomach to manage it discomforts.

- CloudStrife84, Wednesday, May 9, 2012

4 stars

Deliverance is an intense film with an impressive cast. The film is famous for the "dueling banjos scene" and many others. The films focuses on a group of men who travel deep in the woods, and have to face odds in order to survive a terrible ordeal. Deliverance is an accomplished Thriller with great performances. The story is both horrifying and thrilling. The film isn't a straight forward horror film, even though it's been acclaimed in horror circles. The film of course has a horrifying scenario. If this film would be close to a horror film, it would be a psychological horror drama. Deliverance is a hard film to watch, it's disturbing, vicious and its realism makes it disturbing. The cast do a great job in their respective parts, and this film proves at one point that Burt Reynolds could actually act. This is a hard film to watch, but one that every film fan should see due to the significance of the overall work. Deliverance is a solid film that is bold, brutal, engrossing and thrilling. You'll never see quite a film like this one. The cast elevate the film and the story, though simple is very effective to make the viewer feel uneasy. A terrific film that you won't soon forget, Deliverance is definitely a classic of drama. With elements of horror thrown into the film, Deliverance may as well also appeal to horror fans, even though it's not a straight forward horror film. The acts are horrifying, but there is nothing excessively scary about this film. The film is more shocking that scary due to the horrifying acts behind bestowed upon the city slickers in the film.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Saturday, September 24, 2011