7.7/10
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76 user 49 critic

The Defiant Ones (1958)

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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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:

Flucht in Ketten See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Theodore Bikel was the only Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar nominee that year that was from a Best Picture nominated film. See more »

Goofs

Billy's hair style changes twice after he is pulled up from the ground: down in his face then neatly combed and parted to one side. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in The Jeffersons: The Defiant Ones (1983) 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

 
Defiantly Great ****
26 December 2005 | by edwagreenSee all my reviews

A totally absorbing film showing great acting talents of Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier as escapees from a chain gang. Chained together, they must get along to survive and conquer the racial prejudices that divide them so.

Both actors received best actor nominations. For both being nominated, David Niven was given a gift that year of the best actor award for Separate Tables.

Comedienne Cara Williams shines as a woman they meet while on the lamb. While her part is brief, Williams is gritty and was nominated for best supporting actress as well as sheriff Theodore Bikel, in the supporting category as well. His relentlessness in trying to capture the two is memorable.

The film is truly an excellent character study. Its ending will have you stand up and cheering.


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