Starring: Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty
Directed by: John Boorman
Running time: 110 Minutes
Quick summary (from IMDB): Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before its turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
Let me just put this on front street: Burt Reynolds was the man. Ok, he still is, but in the 70’s? Forget about it. Dude was it. This movie’s 40 years old and my wife still thinks Reynolds was sexy. (I hate myself for writing the word sexy right there). There was only one or two scenes throughout where he wasn’t just wearing that sweet, sweet rubber vest (seriously, it looked like it was made out of a tire), showing off his arms, and ample chest hair, so he knew what he was doing. Anyway, enough about Burt Reynolds for now, lets move on to the movie itself.
So thanks to pop culture, I was completely aware of everything that happens in Deliverance. I knew full well what was entailed in the “squeal like a pig scene”. To be honest, I was expecting it to be way worse, but it was actually pretty tame (inasmuch as a scene depicting a man being raped by a mountain man can be tame). In 1972, this was probably cutting edge and extremely controversial, but in 2012? It’s almost nothing compared to what’s going on in movies today.
Really my overall opinion of Deliverance was that it was really good, but there could have been more to it. The hill folk the group encounters on their trip aren’t really evil, or out to get them, aside from that one scene. Most of the thrilling comes via the raging river and the survival aspect of the ordeal, and it was great, but I was actually expecting it to be more about the backwoods, savage hill folk terrorizing this group of adventurers, and I was a little bit disappointed when that wasn’t that big of a deal. It didn’t really diminish the film at all, but you spend a large chunk of your life believing a movie is going to go a certain way, and when you finally see it, it veers into a different, but still awesome direction.
Joining Burt Reynolds in the cast was Jon Voigt and Ned Beatty. Jon Voigt, perhaps now best known for being Angelina Jolie’s dad, is slightly less awesome than Burt Reynolds, but with 100% more mustache. Honestly, it was a little weird to see Burt Reynolds sans ‘stache, exactly like seeing Tom Selleck without his ‘stache. It just doesn’t make sense. Those are two dudes that need to have a mustache, because they pull it off. It was even more awesome that they did their own stunts, Voigt actually scaled a cliff and Reynolds broke his coccyx (that always sounds so awesome, but I’m sure it’s not) during filming, that is awesome. Most actors today wouldn’t dare attempt their own stunts like that, at least not without safety harnesses and spotters and nets and crap.
Deliverance was nominated for three Academy Awards, Best Picture, which it lost to The Godfather, and Best Editing and Best Director, both of which it lost to Cabaret. I’ve never seen Cabaret, so I can’t speak on that, but there was no chance Deliverance, as good as it was, was going to beat out The Godfather for Best Picture, it just wasn’t going to happen. Getting shut out at the Oscars probably sucked a little, but the film did garner a Grammy win for Dueling Banjos, which is awesome.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Streets ahead of Avatar