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4.5 out of 5 stars
Deliverance [Blu-ray] [1972] [Region Free]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 November 2011
The movie - based on James Dickey's book (Deliverance) - follows a group of four Atlanta citiboys going on a weekend canoeing trip on the Chatooga river, as a farewell to the wilderness there, before a dam would submerge the whole section under a lake. While it all looks fairly benign to start off with, one has a premonition of darker things to come. On top, even if you have not yet seen the movie, it is almost impossible not to have gotten certain details passed on by now - given the classic status enjoyed by the film. If you enjoyed Southern Comfort [DVD], this is definitely the next step up both in quality, as well as in the brutality and shock value (it is certainly the most brutal 70s movie I have seen to date).

The story, and the man versus nature theme, however, are merely a background for a much more interesting theme of how people react when they are way out of their comfort zones, at breaking point, so to speak. And in this aspect the movie really delivers (pun intended), and may, along with The Experiment [DVD] [2002], be one of the best in class. Lewis (Burt Reynolds) is a 'tough guy' from the start, the others, however need to find their steel in the situation and overcome 'buck fever'. It is also fascinating / horrifying to observe, how the protagonists create an altered reality and how they persuade themselves into things or how stereotypes and events immediately prior play a shockingly disproportionate role, after the situation starts turning haywire (here a good comparison is The Wave [DVD] [2008]).

The acting is very persuasive, too - especially given the fact that quite some of the actors were first timers (Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty), or just locals, recruited due to the budget restrictions. As mentioned in another review this is definitely the highest calibre role Burt Reynolds was given before appearing in Boogie Nights [DVD] - and one he played perfectly (even though I still think Jon Voight edges him out as the best act of the movie).

The soundtrack (Dueling Banjos From The Original Soundtrack Deliverance), originally not intended for release (the studio did not believe it would be at all successful) has acquired a classic status of its own, even if it all revolves around the Duelling Banjos theme, an adaptation of the Feuding Banjos classic folksong (due to cost reasons Boorman could not afford an orchestra and composer for a score - the whole soundtrack was recorded in 2 hours in a studio).

Finally, the additional material on the making off, the interpretation of Boorman, interviews with the main characters as well as with James Dickey, a short documentary on the difficulty of shooting the movie is a real bonus, well worth watching, too.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 September 2007
This film is an intense cinematic experience. It follows four city boys trip into the wild backwoods of rural America for a canoe trip on a river that is shortly to be dammed. What they find there is a lawless place populated by small minded locals and an unforgiving journey down stream. The story, the direction and the acting all come together to produce a film that will unsettle you. The scenes in the backwoods have a geniune sense of isolation and the rapid change of the characters from city business men into ruthless savages is very well done. The famous abduction scene was groundbreaking at the time and obviously was a big influence on "Pulp Fiction".

This special edition also includes a four part retrospective documentary, with interviews with the director and the four lead actors and is a fascinating look at the making of the film and the impact on film culture and the actors subsequent careers. There is a contemporary making of documentary as well and a director`s commentary. An excellent package.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2008
Wow. Where do you start with a movie as good as this? The cast are perfect (they've all been in so many movies since, it's hard to believe most of them were unknowns at the time). Burt Reynolds was never better than he is in this movie. If you only know him for his good-ole-boy comedies, you'll be surprised at how good he is here in a serious dramatic role (without his trademark moustache!). He wouldn't get anything approaching the quality of this role until "Boogie Nights."

This film is not just full of memorable moments, they burn themselves into your brain and stay there forever. The deformed, in-bred hillbillies at the start, the "Duelling Banjos" scene with that withered kid, the awful, protracted male rape and the bloody revenge taken for it, Drew's arm being impossibly bent back behind his head, the nerve-shredding interrogations by intimidating Southern sheriffs and the ghostly hand from the water at the end. Even the smaller moments are unusual too, e.g. the snake slithering up the river in a handheld shot.

The film has been beautifully remastered so you can see the shimmering river in all its glory as the director intended (I've seen some very old, scratchy and muddy prints of this picture over the years and its about time "Deliverance" got the remastering treatment). The sound has been cleaned up too and you can hear the voices of the men all around you now and the pleasant sounds of the river gushing past in glorious Dolby Digital 5.1 sound (I wish I could see this movie in a cinema, I never have before).

The four documentaries are terrific on this DVD. They are almost worth the purchase price alone. They detail the long, difficult road the film took from the novel to the arduous shoot (with behind-the-scenes feuds between the director and screenwriter James Dickey) to the finished film and its reception.

The 1970s were easily the best decade for movies in history. This is yet another unbeatable 70s classic for your collection. If you've seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven't, find out what all the fuss has been about and get it. You won't be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2011
I will keep this review short and talk about the blu ray as everyone knows this classic film this us import blu ray is region free and plays perfectely on my uk sony blu ray player.

The 1080p picture is good and is the best the film has looked and worth the upgrade over the dvd version.

Update warner has released deliverance in a digibook the transfer is the same as this old blu-ray so up to you which version of deliverance you would prefer to buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Four Atlanta friends-Lewis (Burt Reynolds), Ed (John Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty), and Drew (Ronny Cox) - decide to canoe down the Cahulawassee River out in the Georgia wilderness. They see it as a test of manliness whilst also wanting to experience this part of nature before the whole valley is flooded over to make way for the upcoming construction of a dam and lake. But the perils of nature are not the only dangerous things in their midst, unfriendly wood folk are about to bring another dimension in terror.

Deliverance is one of those films that sometimes suffers by way of reputation. Much like Straw Dogs and 70s films of that type, the hype and promise of unremitting hell often isn't delivered to an expectant modern audience. Which is a shame since Deliverance is one of the finest, glummest, brutalistic and beautiful film's of the 1970s.

Adapting from James Dickey's novel (screenplay duties here also), British director John Boorman crafts a tough and powerful film of men out of their environment, thus out of their league. As each man sets off initially, it's a test of manhood, but each guy is forced to deconstruct their worth, and it soon becomes more about survival as this deadly adventure proceeds. Boorman, aided by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, has painted a raw and treacherous landscape, unconquered by city slickers but dwelt in by inbreds who don't take kindly to the city folk showing up with their machismo attitudes. From the first point of contact with the strange locals, where Drew goes "duelling banjos" with an odd looking child, the film doesn't let up, much like the locals themselves, the film also is remorseless. Some critics over the years have proclaimed that Deliverance is too pretty, mistaking lush physicality as something detracting from the dark thematics at work. Not so-the Chattooga River sequences are electrifying, the rapids scenes (brilliantly filmed with Voight and Reynolds doing real work, and getting real injuries) are merely setting up the unmanning of our "macho" guys just around the corner. It's a fabulous and potent piece of "beauty". With the four cast leaders absolutely brilliant in their respective roles. In fact there are few better casting decisions ever than that of Reynolds as Lewis, one can only lament that he didn't have more hard edged serious roles in his career.

Minor itches exist, metaphors are heavy (Vietnam a 70s staple it seems) while ecological concerns are hinted at without being as prominent as they are in the novel. Surveying the landscape during the opening of the piece, Lewis reflects that man is going to rape this land, rape it! It's stuff like that that is not totally formed, giving way to abject horror and survival, with Lewis again noting that survival is the name of the game. Like I say, only minor itches.

Deliverance, a game of life and death where man's primal being means violence may indeed beget violence. Boorman clearly agreed. 10/10
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2004
From the onset Deliverance sets itself as different and special movie, distancing itself from the usual adventure canoe movies (such as Curtis Hanson's River Wild (1994)). The much-heralded "Duel Banjo" scene is a spectacular and unnerving start to the film- Ronny Cox's character, whilst waiting in a desolate "gas" station strums up his guitar with a strange-looking inbred child playing on his banjo. The scene that follows is as brilliant as it is disturbing and the music becomes a soundtrack for the rest of the film.
The four canoeists (Reynolds, Voight, Beatty, Cox) trip down the River (soon to be flooded by a huge lake- a very neat twist from writer Dickey) doesn't become a trip to survive nature as one assumes it will be, but a fight for survival from fellow men. And what men!!! The nemesis of the canoists turns out to be a duo of inbred hillbillies (rotting teeth et al). Making the hillbillies the villans is a terrifying touch- their faces contorted in ugliness, with seemingly no sense of morals and humanity. The most uncomfortable scene of the film is the male-rape scene ("Squeel like a piggy!")- but don't let it put you off seeing the movie.
It's not flawless, however. The film makes very uncomfortable viewing (and essentially unsatisfying) and you never feel a real attachment with the protaganists but if you like your movies with a bit of originality and horror this is the one for you...
Reynolds puts in one of his better perfomances and Jon Voight (father of Angelina Jolie) acts in what probably is his best performance to date. Boormans direction is sound, and this is undoubtably one of his best movies.
The film turns into an apocalyptic struggle for the canoeists, and Boorman creates a nightmarish hell that will play upon your mind for days to come- and put you off canoeing for life...
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2000
John Boorman's violent and disturbing river-based thriller is packed full of tension and is well-acted throughout.
From the eery 'duelling banjos' and disturbingly realistic male rape scene, through to the (literally) cliff-hanging climax, this is perhaps Boorman's best work, together with 1981's Excalibur. There is an sense of menace and forboding throughout the film, which incidentally was Burt Reynold's best outing and a great vehicle for the up-and-coming Jon 'Midnight Cowboy' Voight.
This theme been copied many times in movies such as Southern Comfort and The River Wild, but never-bettered.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Deliverance was one of the first groundbreaking movies of the 1970s, pushing the boundaries further than any other movie had dared to and, 24 years later it still has as much impact as it originally did. That tells you something about a movie.
The Cahulawassa River is being expanded into a lake, prompting four very different business men into taking a canoe trip as a final adventure. However the trip turns sour when Ed, a bit of a whimp, and 'Chubby' Bobby, someone who is 'respected in the field of insurance' are captured by two hillbillies throwing all four men into a moral and physically painful battle for survival. Interestingly as the film progresses, there is a shift in attitude of all four men and those who we thought were dull and boring become the heroes and the most respected.
The movie does have one legendary scene of film history: the Dueling banjos scene.
Unfortunately the DVD has no special feaures but with a film this good, you don't really need it. Definately recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2004
...if you have never seen this film before, be prepared to be kept on the edge of your seat. This film may have a slow start but this all adds to the 'power' of this movie - they just don't make them like this anymore!
In my opinion this is probably the best film Burt Reynolds has ever acted in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2013
As a Banjo player I like this film for all sorts of reasons! Always getting asked to play Duelling Banjos. And am happy to oblige. Anyway it's a classic Man v the wild with certain notorious scenes which have become (Infamous) Why people always shout squeal like a pig whenever I pick my Banjo is beyond me!!! The Blu-ray transfer is very good, wouldn't say Immaculate say like (Zulu)but it is worthy of a upgrade. The night scene where Jon voight climbing the cliff shows a lot of grain, but the day scenes are stunning. I managed to get a Digi-copy with a very good Informative book from Amazon.com region free, but its the extras that improve this. I don't want to give anything away, but the Duelling Banjo scene is broken down, and you will be surprised how that scene was constructed. Lets say don't believe everything you see on screen. As a Banjo player I was surprised too. Worthy of an upgrade from an old DVD .
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