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 thriller film - based upon James Dickey's adaptation of his own 1970 debut novel of the same name, it told about four middle-aged suburban Atlanta businessmen friends who encountered disaster in a summer weekend's river-canoeing trip:

  • strong, physically-fit, egotistical and skilled outdoorsman Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds) delivered a memorable speech to his three city-slicker Atlanta friends, Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty), Drew Ballinger (Ronny Cox) and Ed Gentry (Jon Voight), about the need to take a ride down the Cahulawassee River (a fictional river in NW Georgia) before construction of a dam that would create a man-made lake and forever flood it, in order to produce hydroelectric power: "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" musical sequence at a gas station on the way to their river launch site consisted of a banjo challenge between Drew (Ronny Cox) and a demented (possibly albino?) country boy named Lonnie (Billy Redden) [Note: It was implied that the boy was an inbred child and was intellectually-deficient]
  • the thrilling whitewater canoe trip down the rapids was filmed with numerous point-of-view shots of the river and rapids
  • during the trip, Lewis expressed his 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"
  • split up on canoes into pairs (Lewis and Drew, and Ed and Bobby), the film's most grisly and shocking scene was the sexual molestation (sodomy) by a degenerate, redneck backwoods Mountain Man (Bill McKinney) as he raped a pig-squealing and anguished Bobby in his underwear; tied up to a nearby tree, Ed was forced to watch the ordeal, and then as he was about to be forced to perform fellatio on a second toothless hillbilly (Herbert "Cowboy" Coward), Lewis came upon the group
Pig-Squealing Molestation-Rape by Mountain Rednecks
  • Lewis snuck up and killed the Mountain Man (Bobby's attacker) with a bow and arrow, while his partner ran off; they engaged in an intense discussion scene about what to do with the body; rafters Ed and a thoroughly-humiliated Bobby sided with Lewis that they should bury the body of the Mountain Man; without a shovel, they dug furiously with their bare hands in the dirt; Ed glanced at the stiff outstretched hand of the corpse - a foreshadowing image
  • during a dangerous run through a stretch of wild white-water, Drew was possibly mysteriously murdered (?) - when without his life-jacket, he rose, shook his dazed head, lost his balance, toppled and pitched (or fell) forward from his canoe into the rough water; he disappeared under the surface of the noisy, churned-up rapids and didn't resurface; this was followed by Lewis' serious leg injury - a compound fracture with viscera (bone and flesh) from his femur hanging out of his pant's leg
  • Ed scaled a sheer bluff at night to kill an armed man perched on the rocks (was it the mountain man's toothless buddy who had possibly shot Drew?); his arrow released and struck the hunter (who descended and threatened to shoot him but then fell dead); Ed painfully fell backwards onto his own arrows and gored himselt; Ed and Bobby weighted down the dead man's body and sank it, along with the discovered body of Drew downriver; the group feared that they might be charged with a double-murder
  • in the concluding scene set in the small town of Aintry (while Lewis was being treated in a hospital), suspicious Aintry County Sheriff Ed Bullard (James Dickey, the film's scriptwriter), 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"

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

Hand Rising From River
  • the final nightmarish view (Ed's dream) was of a white, bony and bloated hand (of the murdered Mountain Man) rising from the river - 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 the Dirt to Bury Mountain Man

Ed's Clumsy Killing of Mountain Hunter


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