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File:Banjos.jpg

 Kin ye squeal like a piggy?

A 1970 novel by James Dickey, adapted into a 1972 film directed by John Boorman and starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox.

A group of stuck-up Atlanta yuppies decide to go into the wild countryside of Georgia where they do a little canoeing, play a little banjo, and suddenly get brutally raped by a pair of local hicks. After one of the group kills the rapist, the four city boys must try and escape the town before the locals find out what happened. However, the dead man's accomplice ran off, and starts hunting them down like animals. The film is best known for the page quote about squealing like a pig and the "Dueling Banjos" scene. If you ever see the film you will never be able to enjoy banjos again. Or go canoeing. Or visit rural Georgia. Or, you know, sleep.


Tropes used:

  • All There in the Original Book: The movie doesn't explain why it's titled Deliverance, but the book states that what the city boys are trying to find in the backwoods is deliverance from the stress of modern life.
  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game"
  • Corrupt Hick: The antagonists.
    • The film takes place somewhere in Georgia. The four "city boys" are unable to form much a connection with the locals. The locals fit the stereotypical hillbilly image of being crude, rude, and inbred for some of them. There is also one point when the four "city boys" encounter two hillbillies on their trip down the river. They assume that the two guys are operating a moonshine still and offer to buy some. The two hillbillies, in response, force one of them to strip himself naked, chase him, and sodomize him, apparently For the Evulz. It should also be pointed out that the four "city boys" were rather condescending toward the locals and the one who got sodomized had openly mocked the locals out loud for seeming to display genetic defects.
      • The film would seem to be both played straight and subverted. On the one hand, the rapists themselves play this deadly straight. On the other, we never see the rapists again and while the rest of the hillbilly town is set up to be creepy and/or evil, they never really do anything, good or bad. Especially subverted in the case of the mentally challenged banjo player (probably the most famous character in the film), whose banjo playing provides a creepy soundtrack but who is otherwise benevolent.
      • For particularly creepy hillbillies, expect to hear "Dueling Banjos". (This is a conflation of the two things people generally know about the film- that song and rapist hillbillies. In the actual film, they had nothing to do with one another.)
  • Crazy Survivalist: Lewis plays around with this. He adores doing the whole Mountain Man thing, scorns people who he thinks rely on or are products of civilization, and believes that at some point society will break down and we'll all have to rely on our wilderness survival skills -- Ed suggests that Lewis actually can't wait for that to happen. At the same time, it's implied that Lewis isn't actually as good a survivalist as he thinks he is, and he takes everyone kayaking down that river without finding out if it was safe first, and even after a local warned him it was extremely dangerous. This comes back to bite him in the ass big time when the kayaks hit some major rapids, tossing them all out and breaking his leg.
  • Creator Cameo: James Dickey appears toward the end as The Sheriff, who tells the men one of his deputies has a brother-in-law who's gone missing and advises them to leave and never come back.
  • Creepy Child: the banjo kid.
  • Deep South: Probably not the Georgians' favorite portrayal of their state as it turns their home into The Savage South.
    • Of course, since the production went and hired actual "mountain men" as extras, many of whom didn't have to do all that much acting to play the part, this is most likely justified.
  • Don't Go in The Woods
  • Duet Bonding: Subverted, in the famous banjo scene.
  • Genre Motif: Folk
  • Homage: Parodied in The League of Gentlemen. And Tiny Toon Adventures of all places.
    • In the gym episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko gets on a rowing machine and accidentally sets the difficulty level to " Deliverance". The computer tells him "We gonna make you squeal, piggy!"
    • Zombieland: Tallahassee draws a zombie's attention by playing "Dueling Banjos" on... well, a banjo. He then kills the zombie with the banjo.
      • Plus, he says "You got a purdy mouth," just before he banjos the zombie.
    • Also referenced in Kevin and Kell where a character is arguing that the lack of hunting is not causing inbreeding of prey species... followed by someone identifying the music of the scene as Dueling Banjos.
    • In the Futurama episode "The Deep South" Bender hums a few notes from Dueling Banjo when he is first introduced to the lost city of Atlanta (no, not Atlantis, Atlanta).
    • In The Simpsons episode "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", Bart's Junior Campers rafting group (led by Ernest Borgnine) gets lost and winds up drifting through a river in the woods; mountain men are seen in silhouette along the shoreline while the opening strains of "Dueling Banjos" play.
    • South Park episode "The China Problem" had a dream sequence in which George Lucas and Steven Speilberg rape Indiana Jones while telling him to squeal like a pig.
    • Referenced in an SUV commercial, which shows four guys excitedly setting up a campsite, until they hear banjo strings... Then it shows them piling back into the car and peeling out.
    • The kids' show Cow and Chicken had a scene where Chicken is paddling a canoe down a river, and a creepy hillbilly is laughing and commenting on his "Purty beak", Chicken then starts panicking and rowing away faster.
    • British comedy Father Ted homages the banjo duel in a completely random scene -- complete with a man dancing along.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: Oh, come on, you big girl's blouse. It's only a bit of horrific rape! Don't ruin the trip for the rest of us.
  • I Am Not Spock: Bill McKinney was so strongly associated with the role of the mountain man who sodomizes Ned Beatty that it cost him the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Stanley Kubrick didn't want to meet with him because he was that scared of him.
  • Jerkass: Lewis.
  • The Load: Bobby.
    • Lewis also sort of becomes this, ironically enough, after getting hurt.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt
  • Mood Motif
  • Moral Guardians: In real life some moral guardians protested about Brokeback Mountain being shown on TV. They showed this instead.
  • Only Sane Man: Drew. The novel lampshades this, when Ed sinks his corpse in the river and says, "You were the best of us, Drew. The only decent one; the only sane one."
  • Double Standard Rape (Male on Male): Averted very hard.
  • The Red Stapler: Inversion. For some strange reason, the camping industry blamed this film for a significant drop in sales.
  • River of Insanity
  • The Savage South
  • Scenery Porn
  • Tagline: "This is the weekend they didn't play golf."
  • Throw It In: The infamous rape scene didn't actually call for any dialogue. The actor playing the rapist got so into it that, combined with his general sadism, the other actors tackled him after one shooting because it looked very likely that he was going to rape Ned Beatty for real.[1]
  • Ubermensch: Lewis thinks he's this. Possibly a Deconstructed Trope.

Notes

  1. This is an anecdote from Burt Reynolds and its truth has been questioned.
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