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The Defiant Ones (1958)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  27 September 1958 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 8,844 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 21 critic

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

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Title: The Defiant Ones (1958)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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) »

Taglines:

One of the great ones! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 September 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht in Ketten  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sidney Poitier came to the set with a great deal of respect and admiration for Stanley Kramer. He recalled - "Stanley was always a forerunner of terribly good things; He was the type of man who found it essential to put on the line the things that were important to him. People have short memories: in the days he started making films about important social issues, there were powerful Hollywood columnists who could break careers. He knew this, and he said to himself, 'What the hell', either I do it or I can't live with myself.' For that attitude, we're all in Stanley Kramer's debt. He's an example of the very best of a certain type of filmmaker." See more »

Goofs

The dirt on the shirts throughout the film goes from clean to dirty to clean and dirty. So does the dirt on the faces. See more »

Quotes

John 'Joker' Jackson: Cullen, I can't make it.
Noah Cullen: [Holding out his arm as if they are still chained together] Come on, man, you draggin' the chain.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Cave Dwellers (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

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 »

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User Reviews

The Poitier/Curtis Jail-Break Classic
2 October 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sidney Poitier continues to break race barriers with this formula jail-break drama. Teamed with Tony Curtis, the escaped prisoners encounter many situations, where their difference in color seems to matter more than the fact that both are fugitives from the law. Throughout the film, the viewer empathizes with the escapees, figuring that they always got a bum deal in life. A scene towards the end, where a single mother sees a chance to "hook up" with Curtis, shows how Curtis, although often disagreeing, even physically fighting with Poitier, still sees Poitier as an equal in their quest for freedom. Rather than "sell out" his friend, he would rather die trying to save him. The inevidable ending (remember that one of the rules in Old Hollywood was that the bad guys can never win)is quite moving.

Definitely among the established Hollywood Classics. Although many of the "old ways" have changed drastically since the late 50s, this film offers insight into a piece of Americana many people living today can still recall. An important piece of Film History, and highly recommended.


32 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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