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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Paddle faster; I hear banjos.


Plot Overview

In Georgia “they're buildin' a dam across the Cahulawassee River to flood a whole valley.” Four friends: laid back Ed Gentry (Jon Voight), out­doors­man Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds), meek Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty), and bright eyed Drew Bal­linger (Ronny Cox) avail them­selves of this last opportunity to canoe the pristine river. They'll start the trip by negotiating with a couple locals to drive their cars down­stream to await them, and end it negotiating with Sheriff Bullard (author James Dickie) never to return again (“Don't ever come back up here.”) They'll start off with a rousing guitar–banjo duet with a talented mutant hill­billy and paddle into war games with deranged mountain men (“Now you get to play the game.”)

Before it's over, each will experience a transformation. One will vanish never to be seen again (“You wanna talk about vanishing wilder­ness.”) One who stands to profit indirectly from the dam (“a very clean way of making electric power”) will bring out his inner piggy. One who's always been independent (“I never been lost in my life”) will have to totally rely on his buddies to get him out. And one who is lacking nerve (“it's psycho­logical”) will have to perform heroic­ally.


“Deliverance” illustrates well (“You gonna do some prayin' for me, boy”) praying in desperate straits (“And you better pray good”). Starting with, “Lord, Lord, deliver us from all …” (e.g. Psalm 27:1), we see (Psalm 27:2) “mine enemies and my foes, … they stumbled and fell.” Then we watch their confidence, (Psalm 27:3) “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear” as they proceed with determination to the Church of Christ at their destination, (Psalm 27:4) “that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” Father Archimandrite Zacharias has written thus about God's house: (212)

Divine worship is offered in temples built by the Christians and dedicated to God for the celebration of His holy mysteries and the preaching of the word of His truth. God sanctifies these places. They are sealed with His presence. It is in these places that God comes to dwell among men.

We see and hear the church bell ring, but we have to fill in any service from our own experience.

Production Values

Deliverance” (1972) was directed by John Boorman. Its screen­play was written by James Dickey based on his own novel, Deliverance. It stars Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox. This movie is considered the "break­through" film of Burt Reynolds, marking his transition from acting in a picture to starring in it. It features excellent acting by the four principals, especially by Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight. To cut costs and add to the realism, locals were cast for the roles of the (some­what inbred) hill people. The author Dickey him­self played the sheriff—whose part was shot at the end so he couldn't meddle with shooting the rest.

The picture was rated R for its excessive violence, sex and profanity. There is one particularly macabre scene that Beatty wouldn't even do a second take for. This is not for kiddies and maybe not even for adults with taste. Oh, well. It was filmed in Beau­fort, South Carolina, USA. Its iconic song ‘Dueling Banjos’ was arranged and played by Eric Weiss­berg with Steve Mandel. To minimize costs the production wasn't insured, and the actors performed their own stunts. They rehearsed a lot and shot sparingly. Gorgeous cinema­tog­raphy of the Cahulawassee River was done by a superior camera­man, Vilmos Zsigmond director of photography. The Techni­color was too bright for the somber mood, so they flashed the negative to produce the desaturated colors in the film they ended up with. The back­ground banjo music acquires horror under­tones from the plot. I've never seen dead bodies look deader, here of the real actors who took lessons. The only special effect was of arrows sticking through bodies (“center shot”), and they looked painful.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I liked “Deliverance” better the first time I saw it because of the suspense. It's a movie not easy to forget, so be sure you want to see it before you do. Despite the match of its theme to one of the psalms, its characters are by no means pious, only praying as a last resort, so it's up to the viewer to tack on the spiritual message (which can be done.) It's a good film, but proceed with caution.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Minimal. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Zacharias, Archimandrite. Remember Thy First Love (Revelation 2:4-5): The Three Stages of the Spiritual Life In the Theology of Elder Sophrony. Dalton, PA: Mount Tabor Pub, 2010. Print.