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The Defiant Ones (1958)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 27 September 1958 (USA)
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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
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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

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Taglines:

One of the great ones! 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:

The Defiant Ones 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A joke in industry circles at the time was that Kirk Douglas would only do it if he could play the black convict, and that his frequent co- star Burt Lancaster would only do it if he could play both convicts. See more »

Goofs

When Joker and Cullen are cooking the frog, we see they are drying their cigarettes and matches by the fire. So how did they build a fire in the first place? See more »

Quotes

Noah Cullen: I ain't gettin' mad, Joker. I been mad all my natural life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Chained (2004) 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

A well directed outing
27 November 2004 | by davidbyrne77See all my reviews

I found this film very entertaining, thanks in part from great performances by both Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, and due to great directing by Stanley Kramer. The black and white cinematography is great, as is the story of a black man and a white man, chained together and on the run from the law, who hate each other more than captivity itself. Shared experiences and the realization that inside they are both very similar helps both men to understand each other. I also liked the friction between the gung-ho sheriff and the more laid-back, realistic one. The character of the bloodhound owner rings true to anyone who knows a person who breeds dogs. The only thing I didn't like about this film was the Poitier character's singing. I know thats its a big part of the film and it is a form of defiance on its own, but it bugged me none the less. Oh well, small criticism for a great film. But what's with woman who'll sell out her son to some guy who stumbles into her yard? Wrong priorities, I guess.


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