You might’ve thought the last thing the American South would embrace in 1972 was a movie that depicts its people as a pack of backwoods hill folk and inbred, troglodytic rapists obsessed with the pretty mouths of city folk. You would’ve been wrong. Deliverance is one of the best damn movies ever made about the untamed violence of America. On the one hand a brutal thriller, John Boorman’s film is also an ode to Southern rural exceptionalism. Those soft city dwellers (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) just can’t make it down there in the Cahulawassee River valley, not without getting the living snot beaten out of them in a banjo contest by a creepy kid with no eyebrows and an old man’s face, not without the river eating their lunch, and not without becoming existentially haunted by a newfound vision of the real. They might have grown up in the city, but a Southern river made them men.