How did the folks in Rabun County, Georgia feel about the movie Deliverance once it hit the big screen in the summer of 1972? Were they victims of James Dickey’s imagination? Was there any truth in the story that emerged in theaters across the country? Did the film serve as a wedge to create a divide between the “river people” and the mountain communities?
As the first Chattooga River Festival — with an emphasis on the 40th anniversary of Deliverance — approaches, these and many related questions are being asked by the Festival organizers and others. How real was this dark tale to Dickey himself? How much was based on fact, and how much can be attributed to macabre creativity?