This DVD is the 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the film. One of the great things about Deliverance is that, even though it is an adventure filmed in the 1970's, it has managed to not age like a 70's film. It is both depressing and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful at the same time. The four leads do a tremendous job of playing the parts of urban dwellers who want a weekend of adventure in the wilds of Georgia and wind up getting far more than they bargained for. It has much to say about what it takes to make a man uncivilized and whether or not there is a bit of savagery in all of us, despite how domesticated we may be in predictable situations. Past these observation I won't rehash the plot elements since just about everybody on earth knows the details, and if you don't I won't spoil it for you. The film is newly remastered and will have many special features which include:
Commentary by John Boorman - Director Boorman discusses the adventures, the team, the controversy and everything it took to make Deliverance a classic film.
Deliverance: The Beginning - Take a historical look at the novel and its adaptation to the screen.
Deliverance: The Journey - Along from the early stages of filming to the creation of classic moments, such as the Dueling Banjos scene.
Deliverance: Betraying the River - The making of one of the most controversial and ground-breaking sequences in film history.
Deliverance: Delivered - A reflective look back on the completion of the film, its impact and how the idea for the shocking ending came to be.
The Dangerous World of Deliverance - The original behind-the-scenes documentary on the difficult conditions and challenges of making this film. This is on the 2004 release also.
This information comes from a press release by Warner Home Video. I have the 2004 release of this DVD, and quite frankly it looks fine now. I guess the primary reason to upgrade would be for all the extra features and the commentary, which are all new with the exception of "The Dangerous World of Deliverance", which was on the 2004 version of the DVD.
on October 19, 2001
When it comes to fictional survival stories, few can approach the sheer grueling brutality of DELIVERANCE. Brilliantly adapted by James Dickey from his best-selling book and superbly directed by John Boorman (POINT BLANK, HOPE AND GLORY), this is a tremendous endeavor. So much so that horror writer Stephen King and Boorman's fellow director Stanley Kubrick both expressed a tremendous admiration of it.
As pretty much everyone knows, DELIVERANCE focuses on four Atlanta businessmen (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) who decide to take a canoe trip down the Cahulawassee River in the Appalachian Mountains of northern Georgia before it is dammed up into a lake. It is apparent, however, that the local folk don't take kindly to these "city boys" messing around in their woods. And when Voight and Beatty are sexually assaulted at gunpoint by a pair of sadistic rednecks (Bill McKinney, Herbert "Cowboy" Coward), in the infamous "SQUEAL!!" segment, what began as a canoe trip explodes into a nightmare.
Much is made, and justifiably so, not only of the "SQUEAL" scene but also of the "Dueling Banjos" part, between Cox and a retarted mountain kid. But DELIVERANCE has much more to offer besides these moments. Like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and STRAW DOGS, it offers a hard-hitting and unflinching look at Man's penchant for violent and (arguably) abhorrent behavior. The four leads are extremely good in their roles, and McKinney and Coward make for two of the more frightening and vicious villains in screen history. Dickey appears in the film's final reel as a local sheriff who, as he puts it would "kinda like to see this town die peaceful."
Shot totally on location, and featuring ominous cinematography from the legendary Vilmos Zsigmond, DELIVERANCE is a great and frightening piece--arguably a modern gothic horror film, certainly a great action film with an undercurrent as sinister as the Cahulawassee River itself. It is not to be missed,
on April 6, 2004
Director John Boorman's exciting, brutal, brooding, explosive and violent masterpiece remains one of Hollywood's most intelligent takes on the complex, contradictory cultures of American manhood, otherwise the more familiar preserve of directors like Sam Peckinpah and Walter Hill. Based on James Dickey's novel, Deliverance roots itself assuredly in fascinating and provocative dualities: liberal modernity and backwoods barbarism; beauty and violence; kindness and cuelty; morality and pragmatism and, atmospherically, the existential and the visceral - situating it a distinct cut above the average Hollywood action adventure output. Four suburban friends - career-best performances from Reynolds, Voight, Beatty and Cox - take one last alpha-male shot at canoeing the mighty Cahulawassee river - just as it is set to be flooded - literally and figuratively - by the needs, culture and infastructure of the New South as it rolls unforgivingly through what's left of the countryside.Just as their own middle class tensions, arrogances and irritations begin to surface, they run - courtesy of the hostile local population - into a world much smaller(...). What starts out as an egoistic attempt to reclaim some element of American frontier manhood amidst the privileged, cosseted reality of an otherwise safely suburban life becomes a gripping struggle to survive the ravages of nature and (distinctly warped) nurture. Features what is probably the silver screen's most notorious male rape scene, an episode that slides so quickly and unsuspectingly from cautious negotiation to gruelling and humiliating cruelty that it still retains the power to shock and unsettle. Possibly did more than any other movie to forever demonise the poor-white population of the Appalachians, spawning a slew of inferior copycats as well as the opportunistic "hillbilly horror" sub-genre that persisted into the early 80s with such exploitation nonsense as Hillbilly Holocaust and Trapped. Walter Hill's differently brlliant Southern Comfort, Jonathan Mostow's efficient suspenser Breakdown and Curtis Hanson's The River Wild can be argued to be among Deliverance's more palatable latter-day spawn. (In the latter, Meryl Streep shows that otherwise meek women - pushed to the limit - can be just as primal given a reason and a river!) Deliverance is a superior film that harks back to the days when a thoughtful Hollywood film and a crowd-pleasing box office smash were - more often than not - one and the same thing.
on August 31, 2009
This is a fascinating movie on several levels, and one that takes a close look at the male of the species. It is, if memory serves, the only movie I think I have ever seen with no female characters at all. It's been a few years since I've watched it, but I can't remember any women in the movie at all. The plot revolves around four suburban Atlanta businessmen who decide to undertake a canoe trip down the soon to be dammed Cahulawasee River -- the ultimate male vacation: an outdoor trip of camping, canoeing, fishing, and beer drinking. Four different male personality types are featured among the group. Lewis, played brilliantly by Burt Reynolds in what remains his best performance to date, is the alpha male. He's the most athletic, and the most assertive, and like any alpha male trying to assert dominance, can and does rub some people the wrong way. This creates friction with Ned Beatty's character, Bobby, who is overweight, unathletic, and not much of an outdoorsman. Jon Voight's character Ed is an sometime outdoorsman like Lewis, but he lacks any killer instinct that Lewis may have, and is not a dominating personality like Lewis is. Last is Drew, played by Ronny Cox, who is a man of strong moral convictions, no less assertive than Lewis in his own way, but less aggressive and one who places far more reliance on society and trust in its institutions than an individualist like Lewis does.
The four men come into contact with a malicious pair of locals during their trip, and end up killing one of them in self-defense after Bobby is sexually assaulted and Ed is about to be. Fittingly, it's Lewis who takes the lead in this. They decide to bury the corpse, continue on their way, and resume their lives afterward, after Lewis argues that they would be taking a foolish risk trusting the local authorities, and submit to the judgment of a local jury, who would almost certainly be filled with men who knew him and might even be related. Lewis may sincerely believe this, but one also gets the sense that he, being an adventurer at heart, actually enjoys the idea of "getting away with it." Drew, the moralist, argues strongly against this. Bobby, not wanting it to become publicly known how he has been humiliated and raped, agrees with Lewis, and easygoing, unassertive Ed goes along with the majority opinion. They continue on their way, and the surviving Hillbilly ambushes the canoeists farther down the river. Lewis, the best equipped to fight back, both mentally and physically, is wounded and unable to act, forcing Ed to take the lead. They do eventually get out of their adventure, but not without further losses.
The movie is, in truth, a great film overall, and it can be enjoyed for that reason, but there is no doubt that it has entered the popular consciousness for one reason above all: the truly spine-chilling male rape scene. I remember reading a review for the 1992 film version of "Last of the Mohicans" when it came out, wherein the reviewer opined that the sight of the Huron Indians charging explosively out of the forest to slaughter surprised British redcoats was scarier than any horror movie monster, because it was a terror that had actually existed in the real world. That may be true, but war-painted, tomahawk-wielding American woodland Indians, such as the Iroquois and Huron warriors were in the late 18th century are part of history now, and are just as remote from most people's experience as sci-fi and horror movie villains. The Hillbillies from "Deliverance", on the other hand, are something else. And it's not so much because the are Hillbillies -- in truth most people have probably never met, and will never meet an actual Hillbilly in their entire lives -- but the cruelties the ones in this movie inflict on the main characters are realistic, and assaults of that type do take place in the real world, and it is this that makes this so frightening.
I first saw this movie when I was in high school, and I remember finding the now famous male rape scene to be the single most disturbing thing I had ever seen in my life. It chills the blood for two particular reasons. The first is that the villains of the piece are hideously cruel and vicious. The degradation and anguish to which they subject Ned Beatty's character in this scene, and the sadistic glee they take in doing so is truly horrifying, primarily because the viewer always understands that real people actually do things like this in the real world. AS scary as the monster in "Alien" was, for example, deep down one has no real fear of being torn apart by a predatory alien life form. One doesn't have to work to hard to imagine suffering at the hands of a human sadist, on the other hand. The second, even more powerful reason this scene is so disturbing to watch is because it depicts a human being who has totally given up all resistance and has become completely submissive. Once the realization sets in of what is about to be done to him, he simply begs and pleads, weakly trying to push his attacker away, and soon giving up even that token resistance. He totally submits to the mercy of a man who appears not to have even a shred mercy in him, and this man joyfully deprives him of every last bit of his dignity, revels in the pain he is causing, and very likely would have killed him in the end. All this is powerfully disturbing to watch. And because such human monsters do exist in the real world, and people have a realistic fear of ever falling under the power of one, this makes for a gripping, terrifying scene that no horror movies, with all their buckets of gore, can ever hope to match.
on June 1, 2008
The American Heritage Dictionary online defines deliverance as the act of being delivered and to rescue from danger or bondage. The film Deliverance nominated for three Oscars (director, picture, and film editing) shows how a tragedy can change man. Made as V ietnam was ending and men returning home from war, themselves changed, the film seems an appropriate metaphor rather than mere exploitation.
Four friends from the city embark on a weekend canoe trip downriver that is surrounded by poverty stricken tough hillbilly types. Lewis (Burt Reynolds) is the dominant leader of the group. Ed (Jon Voight) is a family man who would seem to have grown up with Lewis and idolizes him. Ed is respected, passive, and is the type that would rather fit in then stand out. Bobby (Ned Beatty) is the heavyset insurance salesman who is the butt of the joke at times and would rather talk or joke his way out of confrontation. Bobby is not the laid back type; he is bothered when Lewis gives him a hard time but is submissive and would rather vent to Ed rather then confront Lewis. Drew is another leader he is independent and has a quite confidence and unlike, Bobby, he voices his opinion and stands his ground.
Something horrible happens to Bobby in the woods and Ed is forced to watch helpless, they are both saved by Lewis and Drew but neither will ever be the same again. Although Lewis rescues them from danger with his bow it is the horrific act and the acts to follow that free them from their bondage of fear. The scene in the hospital at the end when Ed angrily accuses Bobby about what he thinks he said to the police, at first brushes it off with a smile followed very quickly wish a push, Ed counters this by slamming Bobby against the wall and soon the men have their hands around each others throats and are starring eye to eye. Bobby, hands around Ed's throat, calmly and steady handed tells him he didn't say anything and Ed believes him. These are not the same men that entered those woods like the many that enter the jungle and the desert, they have changed.
THE BLU RAY - Picture and sound weren't the best I have seen on blu ray but were good. If you have a blu ray player and own Deliverance I would stick with what you have. If your buying this for the first time I'd spent the extra dollar it is here on Amazon and get the blu ray.
on July 7, 2003
John Boorman will probably forever be best known as the director who gave us the brillianly conceived screen production of "Excalibur", but in 1971 he came up with this adaptation of James Dickey's novel of the same name, and with the help of four 'game' actors, created one of the best films of all time.
Even if it's not your cup of tea (due to the disturbing nature of the film), it's something everybody should watch at least once. John Voight is the audience member's representation--even if he doesn't say much, he does a great understated acting job, making clear the horror that he feels, and that we feel through him.
Ronny Cox plays the conscience, Burt Reynolds the ego, and Ned Beatty the victim of the human condition, and tied in with the wonderful cinematography, filmed on location in Georgia, this is one of the most suspenseful movies of all time.
It's also famous for the 'Duelling Banjos' scene that opens the film--unforgettable, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film, when Ronny Cox puts it best:
on October 22, 2013
The 1972 thriller "Deliverance" is based on James Dickey's 1970 novel by the same name. The film was directed and produced by John Boorman; Dickey and Boorman collaborated on the screenplay. Interestingly, Dickey and Boorman's teamwork did not go over smoothly; a brawl occurred between the two while filming the canoe scene. Despite Boorman's facial disfigurements (at the hand of Dickey), the two soon reconciled; Boorman later wrote Dickey in as Sheriff Bullard as an ode to their friendship.
Even four decades after its debut, the film is still acclaimed as one of the most influential movies of all time. Not only has the film been preserved by the Library of Congress, Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a "Certified Fresh" rating of 94%; it also rests on `The New York Times' list of "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made." "Deliverance" has gained notoriety for its musical score as well, namely for the song "Dueling Banjos" which earned a Grammy in 1974. For me, "Deliverance" is a must-see film for everyone (over the age of 18); it is not one I imagine many will regularly rewatch, but it holds lasting symbolism and provokes long-term thought on the validity of the assumptions we make on a daily basis.
STARRING roles include: Jon Voight as Ed Gentry, Burt Reynolds as Lewis Medlock, Ronny Cox as Drew Ballinger, Ned Beatty as Bobby Trippe, Billy Redden as banjo-boy/Lonnie, James Dickey as Sheriff Bullard, Bill McKinney as Mountain Man, Charlie Boorman as Ed's Boy, Herbert `Cowboy' Coward as Toothless Man, and Macon McCalman as Arthur Queen.
SPECIAL FEATURES of the "Deliverance Deluxe Edition" DVD: Commentary by director John Boorman; Four-part 35th anniversary retrospective with the film's stars, director John Boorman, and others; Vintage featurette: "The Dangerous World of Deliverance;" and "Deliverance" theatrical trailer.
SUMMARY: Ed Gentry, Bobby Trippe, Lewis Medlock, and Drew Ballinger constitute a crew of Georgia businessmen who decide to take a vacation canoeing on the Cahulawassee River. While the flooded river is set in the remote Georgian north, newbie-canoers Drew and Bobby trust Lewis's wilderness expertise to make the trip both peaceful and enjoyable.
Before setting out, the group gains familiarity with the sort of backwoods locals who inhabit the area. Bobby's attitude toward the `hillbillies' serves to represent the divide between the businessmen and what he regards as `inferior specimen.' Drew manages to bond with a young native boy during a jam-session of "Dueling Banjos;" but the boy later exposes his undeveloped social skills, casting a foreboding aura as the business set out on the river.
During their second day on the river, Bobby and Ed become separated from Lewis and Drew. With the help of their shotguns, two hillbillies apprehend Ed and Bobby for supposedly exposing their moonshining business. As punishment, they sentence Bobby to a violent rape--symbolizing the animalistic nature of the locals. [The line "Squeal like a Pig" is absent from the original script, but was presumably adapted in lieu of the highly crude language intended for the scene as a means to make the film more TV-friendly.] Just as the men finish with Bobby, Drew and Lewis come to the rescue; Lewis shoots one of the hillbillies while the other one escapes. In the aftermath of this incident, Lewis warns against reporting to the police on the grounds that, given the locals seem to all be somehow related, no justice would come of it. They instead bury the dead hillbilly and hope that, for fear of exposing his own involvement in the rape, the other hillbilly with keep quiet.
Eager to return home, the canoeists make a hasty mistake on the river which leads them into a stretch of rapids. Drew is shot from the overlooking bluffs, presumably by the escaped hillbilly, causing him to fall from his canoe and produce a wreck which destroys the boats and breaks Lewis's leg. Bobby, Ed, and Lewis manage to make it to the shore. Fearing that the man who shot Drew may still be stalking them, Ed shoots his bow at the first man he sees with a gun, accidentally injuring himself in the process. Ed's conscious weighs on him when Bobby fails to identify the dead man as the escaped hillbilly; they sink the body in the river and try to forget committing murder.
Before reaching Aintry, a town in the course of relocating to dodge the flood, the three remaining businessmen retrieve Drew's body from the river; it is clear that Drew sustained a head wound, but unclear that it was the result of a gunshot. Once in Aintry, Bobby, Ed, and Lewis tell their doctored story to the local sheriff. Given that one of the sheriff's relatives has recently gone missing, he hesitates to lend belief. The men are free to go... for now.
on August 1, 2002
There were many times where I felt left out of a joke because, while I knew the source material, I did not know the context of "Squeal like a pig" or the sound of "Dueling Banjos". I finally sat down one Sunday afternoon with a copy of Deliverance just so I wouldn't feel so left out.
While I now understand all the little marks this film left on pop culture, it also brought on two unexpected reactions from me. #1)No matter how well you think you know yourself, you will only know your "true" self when put in unfamiliar situations. Sure, it is easy to say "Well, I would react this way if that happened!", truth is you don't know sqaut until someone puts you to the actual test.
#2)What happened to films like this? This movie, and most movies of the pre-1980's, were willing to spend time engrossing you. Let the camera linger for that extra second, let the visual truly sink in. Let the characters have a discussion about mundane, every day life....it let's you crawl into their head a little bit more, and makes the situations they are put into seem all that more real, and in this case, startling to you. Take any of today's movies like "Matrix" or "Swordfish" that rely so heavily on their pretty special effects, I felt no connection to the characters, no concern when something happens to them. Give me a movie like Deliverance, or any of it's other pre-1980's ilk, and I will be a happy camper!
Man, you forget what a great movie this is until you pop it into a dvd player and watch it on an HD TV. You also forget what a terrific actor Burt Reynolds can be when he puts his mind to it. Jon Voight is a given, he's an actor's actor, and so is Ned Beatie. This movie has some gripping and hard-to-watch scenes, some very graphic moments, but if you like a well-told adventure story, this is it. This movie is as fresh today as the day it was made, it is not dated at all. Brilliant.
Oh, and that banjo scene, it's even better than I remembered: I think they cut it a lot on TV, shorten it too much. When you see the whole scene it's absolutely stunning.
I'm sure a lot of people get hung up on questioning the morals of some of the decisions made by the characters in this film, but keep in mind this is a story, it's fiction. And we humans are far from perfect.
on June 6, 2007
Ah, what can be more splendid than a white water rafting trip through the pristine waters on the last natural river in the Great American Southeast!
Some city slickers, who are still southern, but city slickers nonetheless, decide to answer the call of their inner outdoorsman and venture down the stream less traveled in this 1972 thriller.
Each of these four friends has a decidely different personality and seems to embody a different type of man. No suprise, Burt Reynolds plays the part of the bow-and-arrow wielding, muscular alpha male of the group. The other three look a bit maladjusted to outdoor life. Their place seems to be the office cubicle, or perhaps, on a weekend, the golf course. When pitted against the inbred dangers of the untamed Georgia wilderness, they look like nothing more than fodder, or perhaps potential male damsels in distress.
Surrounded by lush wilderness and a river of tinkling, flowing water, their canoe trip looks like a treat to the eye, even with 1970's era film technology. If you're a camper or a fisher, you'd half wish you were there. That is, until trouble strikes.
The film might be more tramatic to the urban half-men that populate American cities during the information age, any fear that you've had of the slack jawed, backwoods yokel with increase exponetially when you hear the famous "squeal like a pig" line.
The four city slickers are pitted against a pair of mutated swamp dwellers who know every inch of the deadly wilderness. With no transportation other than a pair of flimsy canoes, will the four friends reach civilization alive? Even if they do reach the next town, will they get past the sheriff?
The movie isn't non stop violence, there are only a couple scenes of it. Usually the impulsive human being needs a dose of violence or sex every few minutes or they immediately lose interest. This flick keeps your interest with suspense and worry about what might happen next. If you've ever enjoyed a suspense or a thriller, then this one is highly recommended, as it is top of the line in its genre.
No more will be given away in this review so you can see for yourself what suprises are in store.
Skip the camping trip and check out Deliverance.