John Boorman (1972)

X Certificate


Our Score
Though best, if most uncomfortably, remembered for townie Ned Beatty's shocking encounter with the hillbillies in the Appalachian mountains, this provocative adult thriller from director John Boorman is about more than shock tactics. Adapted from James Dickey's novel, it charts the gradual erosion of "civilisation" by the elements, as four men on a back-to-nature canoe holiday, led by the macho Burt Reynolds, meet with disaster and destiny. It works as a piece of straightforward suspense cinema, with an uneasy atmosphere conjured from the start by the iconic "duelling banjos" scene (where Ronny Cox duets with a local musician). But it also resonates as a metaphor about masculinity under threat - and a warning not to go into the woods.


Four city friends look forward to a weekend canoeing trip in America's Deep South. However, their adventure turns into a nightmare when menacing rednecks come down from the nearby hills and subject them to a shocking assault, forcing the men to take extreme action to save their lives. John Boorman's thriller based on James Dickey's novel, with Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty and Bill McKinney.

Cast & Crew

Ed Gentry Jon Voight
Lewis Medlock Burt Reynolds
Bobby Trippe Ned Beatty
Drew Ballinger Ronny Cox
Mountain man Bill McKinney
Toothless man Herbert "Cowboy" Coward
Sheriff Bullard James Dickey
Old man Ed Ramey
Lonny Billy Redden
"Griner" Seamon Glass
"Griner" Randall Deal
Deputy Lewis Crone
Deputy Ken Keener
Director John Boorman
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia-Warner DistsGuidance: May be edited for language, violence and nudity. Available on: video and DVD