105 Must See Films

105 Must See Movies: Deliverance (1972)

deliverance poster.jpeg

Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Director: John Boorman

Based on a book by James Dickey, this is a film that’s earned it’s R rating. It’s oddly beautiful at times, and also very dark. So just be prepared going in.

Four friends set off on a river rafting trip together, to enjoy and explore a forested area before it’s destroyed to make a dam. The four are all suburban types who fancy themselves as able to rough it in the woods, when they realise that they’ve bitten off far more than they can chew. They fall afoul of local inbred rednecks, who kidnap them and rape one of them. Though they manage to kill one of their attackers, they still have to get out of the area alive, with one of their enemies stalking them with a rifle.

Intense, right? Perhaps we’re more sensitised to this kind of violence, but this film was really shocking and ground breaking in the 70’s, and I think it still retains that shock today. It’s not a film about sensationalising violence, but more about how the average guy might see himself as being tough, until faced with the sexualised violence that is there, ignored, but in his own backyard. Perhaps it’s about over confidence, if you want to look at it that way, but the way that the men have to become violent to survive feels like a degeneration, rather than some kind of revenge or victory. In the end, the four decide to keep the events of the trip a secret, but at what emotional cost?

It’s an interesting look at the way in which we live, I think. The fact that we can be so confident in our own sphere, and be so unaware of the dangers near us. Our naivety, and also our ability to lose our own humanity very quickly in the face of things that we never thought to be exposed to. But that’s just one interpretation. Any way you look at it, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness, as 1001 Movies puts it.

And of course, it has those famous duelling banjos.

See It If: you like your films to be a little untraditional. It’s a film about man, as opposed to stereotypes of masculinity, and it’s also quite powerful.


9 thoughts on “105 Must See Movies: Deliverance (1972)”

  1. Yeah, poor Ned Beatty. That scene still gives me nightmares lol.

    The 70s were filled with movies with extreme violence like this. The ratings system hadn’t really come around yet.


  2. This is one of those absolutely classic movies that is a must see in my opinion. Totally agree that to this day, the movie does retain it’s shock value. Yes there are definitely even more shocking movies out there, but for some reason, this movie and that one scene is still hard to watch. Terrific performances throughout the movie, and the level of intensity it retains throughout the film, makes it a great and truly alltime classic. Ofcourse another great review 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You do the best comments! 👏🏻⭐️
      You’re right, it’s really hard to watch. I feel like perhaps it’s the way that you journey into darkness with them that gives it that impact? I don’t know. But an amazing film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that is pretty much it, and it really is a journey into Darkness. It is a scene that you also don’t quite expect to happen, and that is also what gives it that shock as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember watching this movie and thinking “wow how disturbing” in the good sense. That eerie rape scene ‘squeal like a pig” is still imprinted in my mind for being that scary because of how quickly things escalated. I liked how for it’s time, as you said was shocking but remains powerful to this day. It’s “quiet’ which builds up the eerieness like the ‘calm before the storm’. A great movie to pick that is quite rightly a must see. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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