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If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure for a big surprise… American poet James Dickey’s best-selling novel has the plotline of any number of rural nightmare stories. Four city folk (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) venture into Georgia for a male-bonding canoe trip. But the locals aren’t exactly tourist-friendly…

Dickey saw this as a survivalist tale about our doomed civilization. There are environmental themes, and ethical dilemmas too. The film takes great care in setting up its characters (it’s exceptionally well cast) but more than that Boorman (Point Blank) creates a vivid and unsettling world where nothing can be taken for granted, a voyage to the heart of darkness where the civilized men’s recourse to violence is never unambiguously heroic.

“It’s the best film I’ve ever done,” 70s box office king Burt Reynolds said. “It’s a picture that just picks you up and send you crashing against the rocks. You feel everything and just crawl out of the theatre.”

Ultimately the movie goes beyond harrowing into absolute heartbreak.

Glenn Kenny, Dissolve

In some of our more terrifying dreams we may find ourselves thrust into an alien, hostile environment where we are at the mercy of strangers from another culture who want to kill us for reasons we cannot comprehend. No film better captures the essence of this particular nightmare.

Danny Peary, Cult Movies

Rich, meaty and unsettling.

Philip Strick, Sight & Sound

July 27 Only: Introduction from filmmaker Ross Munro


John Boorman


Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Country of Origin






109 min

Book Tickets

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John Boorman


James Dickey


Vilmos Zsigmond


Tom Priestley

Original Music

Eric Weissberg

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