Year: 1972 Director: John Boorman

Deliverance DVD Cover - pretty mouth not shown in this photo

Deliverance - who would have thought it possible - a brilliant movie with Burt Reynolds in it - surely a contradiction in terms?. The plot of Deliverance surrounds four friends from the city who set off for a weekend canoeing trip down the Cahulawassee River that is shortly to be flooded to make way for a giant lake. Lewis (Burt Reynolds) has organised the trip and thinks of himself as an adventurer that can take on anything that the river and nature can throw at him - his friends are much greener city boys. The rivers terrain is tougher than Lewis anticipated and when the river gorge being difficult to get out of the locals prove and unfriendly bunch, who seem intent on terrorising the group of city slickers.

Deliverance is something quite unusual in the horror / thriller format - its believable, which is the main strength of the movie. James Dickey's adaptation of his own novel (that itself took ten years to write) moves along with a masterful atmosphere and pacing. The choice of casting is absolute perfection from the stars Burt Reynolds, John Voight and Ned Beatty through to the supporting cast of entirely believable Rednecks. Interesting to note that the director John Boorman originally wanted to cast Lee Marvin and Marlon Brando in the main roles but they ruled themselves out as being too old. Once the action begins the unremitting terrorising of the group is absolutely gripping. Some of the scenes are now universally known (like the duelling Banjo's) as are many of the films most memorable lines ( "He's got a real pretty mouth on him, don't he" is a particularly disturbingly and memorable one). Deliverance was a significant critical success deservedly gaining Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editor.

Deliverance features in our Interactive Haunted House of Horror guide to horror films and scary movies.

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