This is a movie that I watched over and over on newtwork TV as a child and teenager in the early 1970s. The rape scenes were completely edited out so that I had no idea that a rape was involved. I had always admired the bravery of Burt Reynolds' character for taking on two men with guns with just a bow and arrow.
One thing I learned from it as a child was that the frountier style of Justice that I had so often seen glorified in the western movies and TV shows no longer applied in modern times.
While the killing was clearly self-defense they felt compelled to cover it up; mostly out of fear that they were outsiders and the man that was killed likely had family in the area that would want revenge. Years later in the late 70s I saw a less edited version which made me wonder if there had been a rape. Asking my father who apparently had seen it in the theatre he confirmed that there was a rape. In the 90s I saw a documentery about the making of the movie and discovered that the author of the novel James Dickey from which the movie was based on had played the sheriff. Mr Dickey did a great job I never had any idea that the sheriff was not played by a professional acter.
Male rape still seems to be a tabo subject -no man wants to believe it could happen to him.
The description of this movie as well as the description of the book which is also available from SPL do not give the slightest hint that a male rape is central to this story.
Inspite of that; to it's credit SPL does have Male Rape in the subject list of the record of the book.
This film's only redeeming features are the scenery and the fact that it serves as a case study in the unwarranted, pervasive contempt heaped upon White, working-class Appalachian folks.
In response to Manmachine, - You zero in on a homosexual being killed. I have never considered the man to be a homosexual. A sadist, a rapist, a potential murderer, an opportunist. Yes. Only in todays messed up morality would one see a 'homosexual' issue. The real issue underlying the whole movie is the environmental impact of damming up a beautiful river. They just needed some action, to get people to watch it.
Question: Did this film really offer the kind of entertainment that American and Canadian movie-goers wanted to see back in 1972?
Answer: Yes. It would seem so. And proof of that is here in one plain fact - Deliverance was made on a modest budget of just $2 million and yet it grossed over $46 million at the box-office in its first year, alone.
I guess its phenomenal popularity all came down to Deliverance being the very first mainstream film to ever show a homosexual (a hillbilly homosexual, that is) being killed.
And that, I guess, gave many movie-goers the greatest pleasure and satisfaction in being witness to it.
I mean, otherwise - What else could it be that attracted such a large audience to sit through this tiresome picture and then, afterwards, praise it with glowing approval?
*Note* - Deliverance also lost some significant points for exploiting "real-life" human deformity (aka. the inbred hillbillies) solely for the sake of idle entertainment. (Yes. Those "freaks" we see in this film were real people, sans make-up effects)
" One of the great things about Deliverance is that, even though it is an adventure filmed in the 1970's, it has managed to not age like a 70's film. It is both depressing and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful at the same time. The four leads do a tremendous job of playing the parts of urban dwellers who want a weekend of adventure in the wilds of Georgia and wind up getting far more than they bargained for. It has much to say about what it takes to make a man uncivilized and whether or not there is a bit of savagery in all of us, despite how domesticated we may be in predictable situations. Past these observation I won't rehash the plot elements since just about everybody on earth knows the details, and if you don't I won't spoil it for you."- written by Calvinnme on amazon.com
Well, darlings - I'd say that roddekker's comments below about this heap of American garbage are so spot-on. I see it didn't take a certain snob-of-cinema even one day to come to the fore to try to defend this hideous drivel-of-a-movie. Talk about seeing it through rose-coloured glasses is so right.
I hear that the film crew treated the townspeople where this was filmed really disrespectfully. These people were promised all sorts of money, but it never transpired. And after filming was over the crew high-tailed it out of town, leaving a mess of litter.
Yes. It's the American way.
As I understand it - (According to those elite, high'n'mighty "snobs-of-cinema") - Deliverance ranks right up there as being a true treasure of American film-making from the early 1970's.
And, if one dares to speak out disrespectfully against this much-lauded cinematic treasure they are, of course, automatically labelled (by those "snobs") as being an oaf and a despicable heathen for doing so.
With all of the macho-man "ball-scratching" that takes place in this ultimate "buddy" picture (especially from the likes of Burt Reynolds) - I guess that I can (sort of) understand why this film is so highly praised and endlessly revered (even to this very day, nearly 50 years later).
But, if you ask me - Deliverance has got to be yet another one of those utterly inferior, puzzling, and over-rated pictures that is repeatedly defended to the death by those "self-righteous snobs" who still choose to view it through the haze of rose-coloured glasses.
When ten generations of first cousins intermarry you end up with Deliverance, or Washington DC. A good movie from all kinds of perspectives.
Not a perfect movie, but a better one than you might ever hope to see Burt Reynolds in. He's actually better than Jon Voight in this (in my opinion).
Unlike many movies from the '70s, this one ages well. The supporting cast is excellent. And (almost) all of the stunts were done by the actors.
Not for the faint of heart - it gets a bit nasty.
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