Deliverance: Bringing Attention to Film in Georgia

February 25, 2014

I hear banjo music… and we know what that means. Deliverance. This 1972 thriller was the first big movie to come from Georgia. Here’s the plot- four Atlanta businessmen go on a trip down the Chattanooga River and run into trouble when they meet a group of crazy hillbillies. The film was a huge success across the nation, grossing over $4.2 million- the fifth highest grossing film of the year! Deliverance was nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes among other notable awards and recognitions. There’s no debate about it, Deliverance definitely brought a lot of newfound attention to Georgia. But was it all good attention? Certainly the income to the state was welcomed, but along with the financial profit came some pretty harmful stereotypes about Georgians. People began to think of Southerners, particularly Georgians, as all being like characters from Deliverance. The idea that all Georgians were unintelligent backwoods crazies spread rapidly around the country and the effects of that are still present today. According to Cory Wells, many Georgians are still facing negative stereotypes derived from Deliverance in the workplace, educational systems, and political arena. (1) Georgia traded being stereotyped for economic prosperity and film recognition in 1972. Would we make the same choice today?

 

(1) Wells, Cory. "40 Years Later, 'Deliverance' Causes Mixed Feelings in Georgia."Marketplace.org. N.p., Aug. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

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