The Defiant Ones (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Defiant Ones (1958)

TOMATOMETER

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Defiant Ones Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Convicts Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier escape from a chain gang. Curtis' character, John "Joker" Jackson, hates blacks, while Poitier's character, Noah Cullen, hates whites. However, the men are manacled together, forced to rely on each other to survive. Captured at one point by a lynch-happy mob, the convicts are rescued by Big Sam (Lon Chaney Jr.), himself a former convict. The men are later sheltered by a lonely, love-hungry widow played by Cara Williams, who offers to turn in Cullen if Joker will stay with her. By the time the two men are within hailing distance of a train that might take them to freedom, they have become friends. The script for The Defiant Ones is credited to Harold Jacob Smith and Nathan E. Douglas. The latter was really Nedrick Young, a blacklisted writer, whom producer Stanley Kramer hired knowing full well that Young was using an alias (when "Douglas"' credit appears onscreen, it is superimposed over a close-up of a truck driver -- played by Nedrick Young). Both the script and the photography by Sam Leavitt won Academy Awards. If you look closely, you'll notice that the actor playing Angus is former Little Rascal Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, making his last screen appearance. The Defiant Ones was remade for TV in 1986, with Robert Urich and Carl Weathers in the leads.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Harold Jacob Smith, Ned Young
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 11, 2001
Runtime:
MGM Home Entertainment

Cast

Tony Curtis
as John Jackson
Sidney Poitier
as Noah Cullen
Theodore Bikel
as Sheriff Max Muller
Cara Williams
as The Woman
Charles McGraw
as Capt. Frank Gibbons
Whit Bissell
as Lou Gans
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Defiant Ones

Critic Reviews for The Defiant Ones

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

Kramer was never much of a director, but there's still power in some of the performances, especially Poitier's.

Full Review… | November 7, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The suspense of the manhunt in the swamps never really overcomes the dead weight of Kramer's 'message', but pleasures are to be found in the supporting roles of McGraw and Chaney.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It is nervous and suspenseful from the start.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 19, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Boasting strong performances from Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, this interracial drama of two escaped convicts is Stanley Kramer's most satisfying film, deservedly nominated for and winning Oscars.

Full Review… | March 8, 2011
EmanuelLevy.Com

Tony Curtis' acting is borderline awful. His famous Bronx accent bleeds through his faux Southern one like a bloody shirt, and he continually grits his teeth in a failed attempt to show the character's self-loathing.

Full Review… | March 7, 2011
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Audience Reviews for The Defiant Ones

½

Everyone should have a life-changing event like this. Consider a pre-civil rights era when blacks and whites were supposed to hate each other. This pair are shackled to each other for days and have no choice but to depend on each other for either one of you to survive. It is worth seeing.

Redlats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

½

Amazing black and white cinematography.

kenstachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Whilst I cringe my way through the prejudice of history, beneath their lies a film of opportunity and comradery.

I couldn't help being reminded through the film of later films that perhapsmay have been influenced by this film; The Fugitive and O'Brother where art thou?

A worthy classic.

76Majikat
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

The Defiant Ones Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Defiant Ones on our Movie forum!