7.7/10
11,232
76 user 49 critic

The Defiant Ones (1958)

Trailer
1:28 | Trailer

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

Director:

Stanley Kramer
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tony Curtis ... John 'Joker' Jackson
Sidney Poitier ... Noah Cullen
Theodore Bikel ... Sheriff Max Muller
Charles McGraw ... Capt. Frank Gibbons
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Big Sam (as Lon Chaney)
King Donovan ... Solly
Claude Akins ... Mack
Lawrence Dobkin ... Editor
Whit Bissell ... Lou Gans
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Angus (as Carl Switzer)
Kevin Coughlin ... Billy
Cara Williams ... Billy's Mother
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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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 September 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flucht in Ketten See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$778,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Curtis insisted that Sidney Poitier received top billing. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film after Jackson falls in the mud trying to catch up to Cullen there is thick mud all the way up his front over his shoulders. In the next shot his right shoulder is suddenly unmuddied. See more »

Quotes

Noah Cullen: [to John] Go on, tell me all that big talk about Charlie Potatoes, when the chains off and nobody chasing you. Come on. You can't, can you? You can't because you're nothing. You're not even a man! You're a monkey on a stick. That cracker mob back there, they pull the string and you jump.
[John punches him]
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Connections

Referenced in Brain Dead (2007) 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
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User Reviews

 
The Best Movie on Racism
26 August 2006 | by ragosaalSee all my reviews

Kramer's story about to escaped prisoners hooked up together, black and white, is still the best picture ever made on racism. At first they hate each other, but through their run for freedom they even become true friends and the different color of their skins actually disappears and they are just to men who like each other. Sidney Poitier is good as always and Tony Curtis gives what is probably his best performance ever in drama, matched only by his acting in The Boston Strangler later in 1967. The supporting cast is also good and correctly chosen. Although real action scenes are just a few, Kramer manages to keep attention permanently for viewers along with an increasing interest in how things turn out. Time has not affected the film which still stands as a big one.


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