"Deliverance" Movie Facts

by Thomas West

The movie "Deliverance," released in 1972, tells the story of a group of men as they struggle to survive in the backwoods of the Southern United States. The film, which is at times both chilling and terrifying, was well-received by critics, and it has since become one of the most recognizable American movies.

Plot Summary

The film follows the adventures of four businessmen from Atlanta as they struggle to survive in the backcountry of Georgia. What began as a fun rafting trip soon turns into a nightmare, as they find themselves confronted by a group of dangerous and murderous hillbillies, one of whom rapes a member of their company. After killing him, the four men set off downriver, only to be stalked by another hillbilly. One of the businessmen dies on the river; the others manage to get out with their lives, although they remain haunted by the events for the rest of their lives.


The film starred some of the most prominent names in 1970s film. Particularly notable was Burt Reynolds, who later became famous for his roles in such films as "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Boogie Nights." Jon Voight also starred in the film, following up on his success in the landmark 1969 film "Midnight Cowboy." The film also starred Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox.


John Boorman directed the film, adding to his resume, which included a number of documentaries and the film "Hell in the Pacific." He later directed "Excalibur" and "The Exorcist II: The Heretic." Filming took place mainly in Georgia, but some scenes were shot in South Carolina and North Carolina. The screenplay was written by James Dickey, who wrote the novel upon which the film was based.


The film was nominated for three Oscars (Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture), three BAFTA Awards, five Golden Globes, and numerous others. It was selected for preservation by the National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the National Film Registry. However, not all critics were fond of the film. Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago-Sun Times, praised the acting but said the action scenes were somewhat disgusting, and he felt that the search for meaning ultimately felt adolescent.