The movie Deliverance, which is an adaptation of the extremely popular James Dickey novel, first hit the big screen in 1972. John Boorman, director of the film, takes a stab at recounting the grueling emotional and physical journey taken by the four main characters from Georgia. This movie offers some of extraordinary actors and helped to launch the careers of movie and television legends such as Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty.
Deliverance is not only a brilliantly acted and directed, film but also is sure to keep the viewers attention throughout. This story follows four businessmen, Lewis Medlock, Ed Gentry, Drew Ballinger and Bobby Trippe, who embark upon a canoeing trip down the wild and unbridled Cahulawassee River. These four men go onto face multiple situations where they either have to kill, or will be killed themselves. This movie is also not for the faint of heart as it does touch upon very serious real life situations such as sodomy, being held at gunpoint and other sexually related items which are not suited for younger viewers and many viewers today have found the movie to be “obscene.”
Regardless of if one agrees with the content of the film or not, there is no deny the film finds creative and clever ways to tackle taboo cultural items and addresses issues which are often shied away from. One of the more poignant scenes of the movie occurs when the character of Bobby is sexually assaulted at gunpoint by a pair of wild mountain men. Lewis Medlock comes to his friends’ aid and is able to kill one of the mountain men with a single shot from his bow and arrow, while the other mountain men are able to run and escape. Bow hunting is a very consistent theme which can be found throughout the film and a lot of the archery training and equipment for the movie is credited to Fred Bear and Bear Archery. Bear Archery actually supplied the traditional bows, arrows and all of the archery accessories, as well as had a hand in the actual training and instruction given to Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight on how to properly use the archery equipment before product began.
As the story progresses and unfolds, it becomes clear there are a clash of personalities, egos and even cultures. The story is very well written and allows each character to shine and have his moment in the spotlight, all while displaying the true American culture of this time period. While this movie does portray the south in a negative light, it is important to remember this is a film, and while it does have some cultural and history accuracies, does not accurately portray all people from the south. The book, as well as the film, is simplistic, well written and incredibly evocative. Full of meaning and sure to have one guessing at what comes next, Deliverance is a movie worth seeing and of the well deserved recognition is has garnered throughout the years. This powerful, and well acted movie, still packs a powerful punch today and is a perfectly casted cinematography thriller.