The Defiant Ones (1958)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  27 September 1958 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 9,037 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 22 critic

Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.


0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 2 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A traveling handyman becomes the answer to the prayers of nuns who wish to build a chapel in the desert.

Director: Ralph Nelson
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.

Director: Daniel Petrie
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A blind, uneducated white girl is befriended by a black man, who becomes determined to help her escape her impoverished and abusive home life.

Director: Guy Green
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London's East End.

Director: James Clavell
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson, Christian Roberts
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The dying words of a thief spark a madcap cross-country rush to find some treasure.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A new English teacher at a violent, unruly inner-city school is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Louis Calhern
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Charles Crichton
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter


Complete credited cast:
Capt. Frank Gibbons
Big Sam (as Lon Chaney)
King Donovan ...
Lawrence Dobkin ...
Lou Gans
Angus (as Carl Switzer)
Kevin Coughlin ...


When the truck that is transporting convicts has an accident on the road, the inmates John "Joker" Jackson and Noah Cullen that are chained to each other escape. They hate each other but they need to help each other to succeed in their intent of going north to jump in a train and reach freedom. Meanwhile the humane Sheriff Max Muller organizes a posse to track them down in a civilized manner and respecting justice. Joker and Cullen reach a small farm where a lonely woman helps them to get rid of their chains. She offers to drive her car with Joker and her son Billy while Cullen would escape through the swamp to the railroad. But when Joker learns that she sent Cullen to a trap, he leaves her and is shot in the shoulder by Billy. Joker seeks out Cullen to save him and when they meet each other, their former hatred has changed to friendship and respect. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

escape | convict | train | freedom | swamp | See All (63) »


They couldn't like each other less. They couldn't need each other more. See more »


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 September 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht in Ketten  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The young man with the transistor radio is played by Our Gang graduate Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer; this was Switzer's final screen appearance before his untimely death in a shooting incident. See more »


At the end of the film the two convicts run a considerable distance away from the bridge as they try to board the train. But when they are finally found the same bridge is only yards away. See more »


Noah Cullen: [after covering Joker's face with mud so it doesn't show in the moonlight] There, now just the meanness shines through.
See more »


Long Gone
Adapted from "Long Gone (From Bowlin' Green)" (1920)
Music by W.C. Handy (as William C. Handy)
Words by Chris Smith
Sung a cappella by Sidney Poitier (uncredited) several times
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Another Stanley Kramer great.
10 August 1999 | by (Auburn, Me) – See all my reviews

A great job by Stanley Kramer on this film. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier turn in stellar performances as two convicts who get an unexpected shot at escape but are held together by a length of chain. They must learn to overcome their racial dislike of each other in order to survive and gain their freedom. But will they? The film is shot in black and white and had it been shot in color it would not have been as good. A remake was done some years later which was passable but didn't match this original version.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Who would you pick to star in a remake? glassblowersarse
Most Supprising Ending Ever! makybe_diva
Lon Chaney Jr.... rokrox
What year is this supposed to take place in? AnnetteJS
Similar 80's movie jdoane2
Bowlin' gree-een! A sewin' machine. sonyablade
Discuss The Defiant Ones (1958) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: