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
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 »
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 »
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.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this