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HD   R Closed Captioning

John Boorman

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About the Movie

In the unfamiliar Appalachian backwoods, a weekend of male bonding for four inexperienced campers turns into a gut-wrenching fight for survival against the merciless forces of nature and the brutality of man. Their only escape is a terrifying canoe ride down the raging rapids of the Chattooga River. If their heartless pursuers don't kill them, the treacherous waters just might.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 55
  • Fresh: 51
  • Rotten: 4
  • Average Rating: 8.5/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Each of the four lead performances is exceptional, none more so than Burt Reynolds' beefy, supercilious Lewis. – TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: John Boorman's 1972 film of the James Dickey novel has a beautiful visual style that balances the film's machismo message. – Don Druker, Chicago Reader, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: A sad, brilliant reminder that sometimes people are the most threatening monsters of all. – Film4, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: This man-versus-nature story is also about man indulging his most uncivilized instincts, and in their various ways the four men on the canoe trip are transformed. – Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine, Aug 29, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

a classic

KXN, you're an idiot! don't review the movie if you havent seen it please. this movie is great and a classic. suspenseful, really excellent, and has one of the most disturbing scenes ever filmed. this film will have you second guessing yourself on taking a camping trip ever again. burt reynolds and jon voight are really great in this movie. so for anyone who is looking for a good suspense thriller with top notch acting, then do yourself a huge favor and watch this. you'll have the words: "squeel like a pig!," stuck in your head for days.

Natural beauty is not what it seems, and "masculinity" gets mauled

It was a fun idea - four guys going for a canoe trip to enjoy nature, instead of playing golf. What ensues is one of the most ugly revelations of “natural beauty” that is possible. The movie destroys multiple versions of masculinity, and it turns so-called “civilized” men into the very monsters that they must fight to survive. Suddenly nature is not so much fun. As simple as all this sounds, the movie attains spectacular greatness. Lewis inspires this trip, inviting the other guys to return to a more primitive version of masculinity to find themselves. Then his own philosophy nearly destroys him, and he must pass the burden to Jon Voight (Ed). “Now you get to play the game.” There is far more ambiguity in the details of this plot than may be apparent, and the movie questions everything it includes, and it resolves nearly nothing, leaving the viewer to ask some larger questions. Timeless.

Don't just watch the trailer

This movie inspired other movies generations later. The trailer does not do it justice; the movie is twisted and makes one think twice about taking a trip into the mountains. Rent it first but don't let younger viewers watch it!

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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Released: 1972

Customer Ratings