7.7/10
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70 user 23 critic

The Defiant Ones (1958)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 27 September 1958 (USA)
Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.

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

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

Trivia

Robert Mitchum turned down the Tony Curtis' role. Mitchum, a real-life veteran of a Southern chain gang, said that he didn't believe the premise that a black and white man would be chained together, as such a thing would never happen in the very strictly segregated South. Over the years, this reason was corrupted to the point where many people believed Mitchum turned down the role because he didn't want to be chained to a black man, an absolute falsehood. Curtis repeated the inaccurate story in his autobiography, but recanted after it was explained to him. See more »

Goofs

When the police stop to take a rest, we see stubble on the face of Captain Gibbons. Jackson and Cullen, who have been on the run for even longer, are shown completely clean-shaven in the next scene. See more »

Quotes

[Why they don't have to worry about finding the 2 convicts]
Sheriff Max Muller: They'll kill each other in five miles.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) 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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