7.7/10
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78 user 48 critic

The Defiant Ones (1958)

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

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... John 'Joker' Jackson
... Noah Cullen
... Sheriff Max Muller
... Capt. Frank Gibbons
... Big Sam (as Lon Chaney)
... Solly
... Mack
... Editor
... Lou Gans
... Angus (as Carl Switzer)
... Billy
... 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:

Language:

Release Date:

27 September 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht in Ketten  »

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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:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Kramer originally had Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando in mind for the two protagonists. Both were interested but only Poitier was available. Brando was caught up in filming Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), a film with a highly troubled and seemingly endless shoot. As the start date for The Defiant Ones (1958) loomed, Kramer had no option but to start looking at other actors. Also, while Brando liked the integration message, he didn't like the way Kramer had produced their film, The Wild One (1953). See more »

Goofs

As John and Noah are swept downriver together, a person is seen on the shore moving into the top of frame, watching the two men. See more »

Quotes

Noah Cullen: Nigger! You call me that again, and I'll kill you!
See more »

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

A well directed outing
27 November 2004 | by See 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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