What Is 'Deliverance's 'Squeal Like A Pig' Scene Really About?

By Jacob Shelton

You've heard the line "squeal like a pig!" and you're probably aware that it's from the 1972 film Deliverance. What happens in the "squeal like a pig" scene is a brutal sexual violation, one that is shocking to watch even 47 years later. But while the scene is, on its surface, a lurid gothic thriller with horror elements that features an all-male cast, it's also making a strong point about sexual violence directed at women.

The tense 1972 film about four men attempting to survive in America’s backwoods has long been one of the best and most terrifying films about the nightmares that wait for us just outside the modern urban sprawl. The most famous scene in the film is when Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty) is forced to “squeal like a pig” while he's sexually assaulted by terrifying backwoods men, as his friend Ed Gentry (Jon Voight) watches, unable to help. Even if you haven’t seen this movie you know about this unforgettable movie moment, but what happens in the squeal like a pig scene?

The film is brooding look at the effects of modernization, machismo, and assault, and all of that is distilled into a haunting three and a half minute scene by director John Boorman. Everything about Deliverance is disturbing, but it’s such a thrill ride that it’s impossible to look away, so how did the filmmakers behind this scene capture something so real? 

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