Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew

Dueling Banjos Book… reads like a sit down conversation with an old friend.
In sharing, after 40 years, his vivid memories of the experiences he shared with Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight and Ned Beatty [Ronny] welcomes his readers along the river ride. His anecdotes, transcribed from audio tapes by his collaborator Barbara Bowers, are funny, touching and sometimes wistful. Always engaging, “Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew” answers many of the more interesting myths and legends around this oft-quoted film. “ –Eleanor Hinds

Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew is a collection of stories of the making of the iconic movie Deliverance, told from the perspective of one of the four main actors in the film, Ronny Cox, who played the character of Drew. Based on the novel by James Dickey, the movie was filmed in the summer of 1971 and was released the following year in 1972. Forty years later, it remains one of the most recognized films in movie history for being raw, emotional, violent and shocking – yet it leaves a lasting impression of artistic excellence. It is one of those films that have somehow managed to remain timeless.

Ronny was just a struggling stage actor when he was cast in the film. He has since gone on to appear in over one hundred and forty-five movie and television productions, and has had a very successful career as a folk musician, playing in venues all over the country. He also happens to be one of the world’s great storytellers, and this book follows his journey from a struggling unknown to a leap through the doors of Hollywood stardom. The stories are told with both humor and honesty, with perspectives on the artistic details that most movie-goers really never take into account. There are great anecdotes about his fellow actors: Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight and Ned Beatty. There is a look inside the brilliant vision of director John Boorman and how the presence of author James Dickey created friction on the set. There are harrowing tales of how each actor nearly lost his life during the filming of the movie, and the facts about how everything was accomplished with no stunt men.

There are many myths that surrounded the movie when it was released and many of those myths persist today. In putting together this collection of stories, Ronny Cox tells the “real” stories and puts those myths to rest. It is a fascinating look at what went into making a film that was named to the Library of Congress National Film Registry Film Preservation List in 2008 as a film that is “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, to be preserved for all time. It was selected as a work of enduring significance to American culture. In Ronny Cox’s own words, he shares the wonder, the hardships, the laughter, the brotherhood, and the magic that brought to life the great novel written by James Dickey.

Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew is currently out of print but the Audio Book version is available on Audible