One of the key films of the 1970s, John Boorman’s Deliverance is a nightmarish adaptation of poet-novelist James Dickey’s book about various kinds of survival in modern America. The story concerns four Atlanta businessmen of various male stripe: Jon Voight’s character is a reflective, civilized fellow, Burt Reynolds plays a strapping hunter-gatherer in urban clothes, Ned Beatty is a sweaty, weak-willed boy-man, and Ronny Cox essays a spirited, neighborly type. Together they decide to answer the ancient call of men testing themselves against the elements and set out on a treacherous ride on the rapids of an Appalachian river. What they don’t understand until it is too late is that they have ventured into Dickey’s variation on the American underbelly, a wild, lawless, dangerous (and dangerously inbred) place isolated from the gloss of the late 20th century. In short order, the four men dig deep into their own suppressed primitiveness, defending themselves against armed cretins, facing the shock of real death on their carefully planned, death-defying adventure, and then squarely facing the suspicions of authority over their concealed actions. Boorman, a master teller of stories about individuals on peculiarly mythical journeys, does a terrifying and beautiful job of revealing the complexity of private and collective character — the way one can never be the same after glimpsing the sharp-clawed survivor in one’s soul. —Tom Keogh
Boorman was born in Shepperton, Surrey, England, the son of Ivy (née Chapman) and George Boorman. He was educated at the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey, even though his family was not Roman Catholic.
Boorman first began by working as a drycleaner and journalist in the late 1950s and then he moved into TV documentary filmmaking, eventually becoming the head of the BBC’s Bristol-based Documentary Unit in 1962.
Capturing the interest of producer David Deutsch, he was offered the chance to direct a film aimed at repeating the success of A Hard Day’s Night (directed by Richard Lester in 1964): Catch Us If You Can (1965) is about competing pop group Dave Clark Five. While not as successful commercially as Lester’s film, it smoothed Boorman’s way into the film industry. Boorman was drawn to Hollywood for the opportunity to make larger-scale cinema and in Point Blank (1967), a powerful interpretation of a Richard Stark novel, brought a stranger’s vision… read more
Really enjoyed this movie, the scenery was all shot on set and is stunning! As well as the music.It teaches you a lot about not taking things for granted e.g food, people that care. Voight here is brilliant and takes on a very determined/survival role that becomes dominant throughout, the film teaches us about people in society which are less fortunate & live a very different stripped back lives. really interesting!
The scenes shot involving nature are just majestic, proving that in the face of raw untamed nature the strength of the will and physique can not outperform the random chain of events that the savage nature might put you through. Outside the city, life is brutish and primal in it's every aspect for these four city boys, feeble or virtuous alike. A story about survival and vengeance that takes everyone by surprise.
Despite the obvious reference of the journey worsening the further upriver the men go, I never even thought of "Heart of Darkness" until Voight began his scaling of the mountain. Something in that image - a desperate man venturing alone into the cold night to kill a man - embodies perfectly the emotional and moral fog the book is known for. More interesting though is how Boorman explores violence as a sort of contagion. As awakening, passed from man to man. A thoughtful, landmark American film.
In what is arguably the best outdoor adventure film of all time, four city guys confront nature’s wrath, in a story of survival. The setting is backwoods Georgia, with its forests, mountains, and wild… read review
I had had never seen the uncut version of “Deliverance” until 2010, nor had I seen it on a big screen before. This is a beautifully filmed movie (except for the bizarre looking day for night footage… read review
I just watched this again for the first time in God knows how many years, maybe fifteen or twenty. This is actually probably the first time I’ve ever seen the movie uncut, without it having been edited… read review