Renowned for pushing actors and crews to their very limit in order to achieve transcendent results, director John Boorman was a committed filmmaker who refused to settle into fixed genres while remaining as commercially unpredictable as he was artistically fascinating. Routinely dismissing realism in favor of fantasy and myth, Boorman often focused on mankind's unrelenting battle against nature. After getting his start in British television, he moved on to features, directing the gritty, realistic crime thriller, "Point Blank" (1967), which stood the test of time as one of his finest pieces of work. Perhaps his greatest contribution to cinema was "Deliverance" (1972), a dark, intense action thriller that featured great performances from its four leads while containing one of the most notorious rape scenes in film history. Though he spent the remaining part of that decade indulging himself with misfires like "Exorcist II: The Heretic" (1977), he completely immersed himself in myth and archetypal imagery for "Excalibur" (1981), one of the best movies about King Arthur and Camelot ever made. Following the dreamlike drama "The Emerald Forrest" (1985) and the surprisingly simple "Hope and Glory" (1987), Boorman went off the radar with several forgettable projects until he directed "The General" (1998), a critically hailed crime drama filmed in glorious black and white, which he followed with the fully engaging spy dramedy, "The Tailor of Panama" (2001). Abstract, dreamlike and surrealistic, a Boorman film was always original and consistently displayed a cinematic virtuosity that often triumphed over substance.