That Scene from ‘Deliverance’ (1972)

“Hey, have you seen this movie? What did you think about THAT SCENE?!” We have all used that phrase at one point during our discussions of movies with the other person’s eyebrows raising, “Oh yea, THAT SCENE!” You go on to pick that memorable scene a part by listing what you loved or didn’t like, how it made you feel and the impression it left on you. 

In this series we will do just that. We will take a scene from a movie and discuss it’s impact on us. Some of these scenes may be frightening, weird, iconic, controversial, hilarious and everything in between. Let us know your impression of the scene and the impact it left on you the first time you watched it down below in the comments. Enjoy!


*Warning: May Contain Spoilers*

Deliverance (1972)

Scene: Squeal

Unwanted sodomy is an uncomfortable subject no matter its context—any movie scene in which someone gets sexually violated is cause for repulsion. What separates Deliverance’s infamous rape scene from the pack of similarly intrusive moments is how far director John Boorman and his team went with it. I can’t stand rape scenes in films. I get sometimes it’s a pivotal plot point, but my issue is more with how they are shot and used in a gratuitous shock value kind of way. This never shows too much of the actual act, but is just brutal and tense the whole time. Told in a way to leave a impression on all who witness it.

What starts out as a fun trip into the wilderness to see the Cahulawassee River Valley before it’s turned into a lake, soon turns into a fight for survival when four city boys encounter some nasty locals. Unwelcoming at best and viciously savage at worst, there’s a scene that will stick with viewers long after the ending credits have rolled.

That scene is when Ed (John Voight) and Bobby (Ned Beatty) get stranded on a riverbank after beginning their canoe trip. Finding the locals that they previously looked down upon wandering through the forest with a shot gun, they’re taken captive – one tied to a tree, and one brutalized and forcibly raped. The whole ordeal is a very uncomfortable watch, but what makes it so much worse is his attacker’s grunts of “squeal like a pig”. Some of the most horrible noises are created, and Ed is soon targeted as the next in line for their sexual abuse. There isn’t anything that can make up for experiencing Bobby’s pain, but watching his attacker get an arrow through the chest is somewhat satisfying. All of this taken place with no score in the background to help. Simply the sounds of the woods and the horror taking place. Rape revenge movies are almost never focused on the male equivalent – so this scene, and motivation, came out of nowhere to say the least.

This is scene scarred me for life and is of the biggest reasons I have never been a huge fan of camping or spending an extended period of time in the woods. It is another reason why The Blair Witch Project was so effective on freaking me out. They never showed who or what was terrorizing those kids and my mind instantly went to this scene. Ghosts, witches, demons or ancient pagan gods I can handle, but toothless hillbilly folk giving me the bedroom eyes like I’m their favorite goat, scares the bejezzus out of me.

Author: Vincent Kane

I hate things.