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How Did the Film “Deliverance” Help With Tourism in Rabun County?

Many remember Deliverance for the movie’s bothersome scenes and the negative stereotypes it brought upon the locals of Rabun County. But in spite of this, it still offered lots of financial opportunities for Rabun County, whose primary source of income now is the Tourism industry. 

The release of Deliverance, the movie, led thousands of tourists straight to Rabun County, generating a yearly $42,000,000 revenue in the Tourism industry and a multimillion industry for rafting.

The Locals’ True Thoughts on Deliverance

Deliverance, most infamous for its heavily disturbing 4 minutes spanning rape scene, remains relevant decades after its release in July 1972. Set in Rabun Country, Georgia, many locals felt angry with the locals’ portrayal in the movie. 

In a Marketplace article that discusses Deliverance, Cory Welles states that many people have come to him with stories depicting how the movie impacted their lives, may it be negatively or positively.

I heard stories of people being passed up for jobs because they came from Rabun County. And those negative images have been reinforced by 40 years of Deliverance jokes

Cory Welles

(Source: Marketplace

Directed by John Boorman with James Dickey on the screenplay, Deliverance centers on four men that turn their backs away from their regular city life in Atlanta for a weekend to canoe, venturing into Georgia’s Chattooga River. It is a movie that centers on the survival of characters Lewis Medlock, Ed Gentry, Bobby Tripe, and Drew Ballinger against nature and the mountain men that inhabit it. 

Despite the negative stereotypes it perpetuated, Billy Redden, the man that played in the Dueling Banjos scene with Ronny Cox in Deliverance, expresses that Deliverance was the best thing to happen to him. In a separate article posted on CNN, he states that Deliverance shouldn’t bother the people so much because it’s only fiction.

Although the 1972 Deliverance film gave negative stereotypes based on locals in Georgia, it also gave Rabun County lots of income in tourism numerous years after its release. (Source: CNN

The Deliverance-Induced Flourishing of Tourism

Before the release of Deliverance, only a few hundred came to visit Rabun County. Now, thousands of people visit the Deliverance’s venue, leading to large profits generated by the Tourism industry.

Many people believe that Deliverance started the flourishing of Rabun County. Officials within the County state that they earn more than $40 million per year in revenue, giving Rabun County grand profits as the budget for its operation is only $17 million.

The County continues to persevere with its 80% high school graduation rate, an average home price that exceeds $300,000, and the maintenance of rafting as a multimillion industry. Moreover, with tourism as its primary financial source, it would be an understatement to say that it’s far from Deliverance’s portrayal of the County.

Debra Butler, a real estate agent working in Rabun County, states the difference of Rabun County’s depiction in the film compared to the current Rabun County.

Once people come to Rabun County, they don’t want to leave. This is a lifestyle that you have here. It’s a way of life. Deliverance depicts a backwoods, inbred kind of community. That is not Rabun County.

Debra Butler

(Source: CNN)

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