Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Deliverance (1972)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Deliverance (1972)

In John Boorman's tense action-adventure film about four suburban Atlanta businessmen friends who encountered disaster in a summer weekend's river-canoeing trip:

  • the scene of Lewis' (Burt Reynolds) speech to his three city-slicker friends, Bobby (Ned Beatty), Drew (Ronny Cox) and Ed (Jon Voight), about the need to take a ride down the Cahulawassee River before construction of a dam that would create a man-made lake and forever flood it: "They're gonna flood a whole valley, Bobby, that's why. Dammit, they're drownin' the river...Just about the last wild, untamed, unpolluted, unf--ked up river in the South. Don't you understand what I'm sayin'?...They're gonna stop the river up. There ain't gonna be no more river. There's just gonna be a big, dead lake...You just push a little more power into Atlanta, a little more air-conditioners for your smug little suburb, and you know what's gonna happen? We're gonna rape this whole god-damned landscape. We're gonna rape it."
  • the rousing "Dueling Banjos" sequence - a banjo challenge between Drew (Ronny Cox) and a demented boy
  • the thrilling whitewater canoe trip down the rapids with numerous point-of-view shots of the river and rapids
  • during the trip, the expression of Lewis' point of view to Bobby, Drew and Ed about how only the strong would survive in the civilized world: "The first explorers saw this country, saw it just like us...You don't beat it. You don't beat this river...Machines are gonna fail and the system's gonna fail...then, survival. Who has the ability to survive? That's the game - survive."
  • the grisly and shocking sexual molestation (sodomy) scene as a degenerate, redneck backwoods Mountain Man (Bill McKinney) raped a pig-squealing and anguished Bobby in his underwear
Pig-Squealing Molestation-Rape by Mountain Rednecks
  • after Lewis had killed the Mountain Man (Bobby's attacker, with Ed about to be next) with a bow and arrow, the intense discussion scene about what to do with the body - and the sequence of the rafters burying the body of the Mountain Man, by digging furiously with their bare hands in the dirt, with Ed's glance at the stiff outstretched hand of the corpse
  • Drew's mysterious murder (?) - when without his life-jacket, he rose, shook his dazed head, lost his balance, toppled and pitched (or fell) forward into the rough water in some noisy, churned-up rapids and disappeared under the surface - he didn't resurface; this was followed by Lewis' serious leg injury - a compound fracture with viscera (bone and flesh) hanging out of his pant's leg
  • Ed's scaling of a sheer bluff at night to kill an armed man perched on the rocks (was it the mountain man's toothless buddy (Herbert Coward)?); his arrow released and struck the hunter (who descended and threatened to shoot him but then fell dead), but Ed had painfully fallen on his own arrows and wounded himself
  • in the concluding scene, suspicious Aintry County Sheriff Ed Bullard (James Dickey), who knew of a reported missing hunter, told survivors Ed and Bobby: "Don't ever do nothin' like this again. Don't come back up here...I'd kinda like to see this town die peaceful"
  • and the final nightmarish view of a white, bony hand (of the murdered Mountain Man) rising from the river (in Ed's dream) - as predicted earlier by the Sheriff: "Let's just wait and see what comes out of the river"

Dueling Banjos

Lewis: "Machines are gonna fail..."

Mountain Man Shot With Lewis' Arrow Through the Chest From Behind

Digging in Dirt to Bury Mountain Man

Ed's Killing of Mountain Hunter

Sheriff: "Don't ever do nothin' like this again. Don't come back here!"

Hand Rising From River


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