Paul Elliott’s review published on Letterboxd:
Judiciously observed as a straightforward adventure film, John Boorman’s Deliverance has a somewhat biting edge due to being invested with some environmentally friendly commentary.
It gained some early notoriety for allowing its actors to perform their own stunts without the protection of insurance. The screenplay by James Dickey, from his own novel, follows outdoor enthusiast Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds) enticing his friends: Ed Gentry (Jon Voight), Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty) and Drew Ballinger (Ronny Cox), on a canoeing expedition to see the Cahulawassee River in the northwestern Georgia wilderness before a hydroelectric dam is completed and transforms the backwoods into an enormous lake.
As the friends take their excursion through a territory that has already been murdered by civilisation, there's a growing connotation of overwhelming and evocative anxiety accompanied by the cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond, who incorporates a massive amount of wide shots to define the region as having a strange inhospitable terrain and the group endure an extraordinary experience during their nonstop boys own adventure.
Unfortunately, the film elects to exemplify the beleaguered locality as one which is solely defined by bluegrass and populated by incestuous individuals. It's a portrayal which has indelibly alienated a population and undermines any themes which Dickey may have been trying to articulate regarding the disposition of man or man's aptitude to confrontations with unidentified or foreign elements. Still, taken primarily as an adventure film there's a great deal to admire, not least of all is the score by Eric Weissberg which includes the memorable Dueling Banjos scene near the beginning.