The extremely popular instrumental tune Dueling Banjos was made famous by the movie Deliverance and was named Best Country Music Song of the Year in 1973. Observant nit-pickers of the time were happy to wonder out loud why it was called "Dueling Banjos" when it was actually played by a banjo and an acoustic guitar. The answer is simple and very unexpected. Dueling Banjos was a near note-for note rip-off of a tune named Feudin' Banjos that was written by Arthur Smith and recorded by Smith and Don Reno in 1954 or 1955. The original recording featured a 5-string banjo and a tenor banjo that played at first competitively and then ended up harmonizing together in a brightly happy way.
Eric Weissberg arranged the tune and retitled it as Dueling Banjos without crediting Arthur Smith. It was recorded for the movie Deliverance by Weissberg on banjo and Steve Mandell on guitar. Smith later sucessfully sued Warner Brothers Records for using his song in the movie without permission.
For those who haven't seen Deliverance, Dueling Banjos was played in a scene at a hillbilly shack deep in the mountains. The four central characters were professionals from the city. One of them, the character played by actor Ronnie Cox, had taken out his guitar and was tuning it or playing around a little, when he heard someone echoing his notes on a banjo. It quickly turned into a kind of competitive jam, with the banjo coming out well on top with some really hot licks. The banjo picker turned out to be a moronic-looking young boy, obviously the product of stereotypically severe in-breeding, who was sitting up on the porch of the hillbilly shack. The person portraying the boy (Billy Redden) did not actually play the banjo; it was played by a musician who was behind Billy and was holding the banjo out in front of the boy to make it look like the kid was playing.