The Defiant Ones - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Defiant Ones Reviews

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May 1, 2014
Brilliant performances by Poitier and Curtis propel this drama
February 23, 2014
Remarkable earlier Poitier & Curtis in runaway drama.Good choice for a sunday afternoon
½ February 3, 2014
Fantastic film from 1958 dealing with very heavy themes for its time. I caught the movie on TCM and decided to try it out. I really loved it. Sidney Poitier did an amazing job. Not to mention Tony Curtis. Just wow.
February 2, 2014
good escape from prison yarn
January 25, 2014
With great chemistry between the duo, superb acting from both (not to mention the rest of the cast) and the beautiful ending, The Defiant Ones is emotionally resonant, deeply engaging and it takes you on a trip with your complete attention. It is a message film and pretty controversial one for its time, but it is also one of the most underrated films from the 1950s which is a shame. The Defiant Ones is an effervescent classic.
October 19, 2013
A story of a white man and a black man having to overcome their racism is certainly a product of it's time (at least it is for most people). That does not mean that it can't be enjoyed as a window into a period right before racial tensions exploded for real all across America. The performance of the two main characters is strong and compelling. The story can be a little slow and hap hazard at times, but many of the scenes on there own are quite effective.
½ October 10, 2013
The film is dated today, but in it's era a very courageous, as well as outrageous to some , film. Although not the strongest basic plot, it is the relationships between the characters and their development that draws you in and makes this an great film, and the messages their relationship projects which were inconsiderable to some at the time. Both actors perform well in the film, yet I think Poitier does an outstanding job!
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2013
I saw this one after Tony Curtis had passed away and thought that both he and Sidney Poitier did an excellent job in working out their characters' racist leanings which they were compelled to do as a matter of survival. Very powerful.
July 17, 2013
Starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier with director Stanley Kramer, the film opens in the pouring rain with a truck full of convicts. It goes off road and no one is hurt except two men escape. A Sheriff an state policemen begin tracking them on foot. However, this pair is unique since one is the white "Joker" Jackson and the other is a black man named Noah Cullen. Their racial prejudice and conflict of interests causes sparks to fly. Through it all they are forced to work together just to survive, whether it be wading through rapids, climbing out of a ditch, or trying to break their chains. Along the way they narrowly escape a hanging and they meet a lonely white woman. Jackson is forced to make a decision about his newfound comrade and Cullen in turn also makes a sacrifice of his own. This is such an extraordinary story about racial conflict. Ultimately, they are no longer so much black or white as much as they are fellow men. In an era full of racial tensions, this film was extremely relevant and it is still powerful to this day.
May 28, 2013
As its reputation suggests, THE DEFIANT ONES is first and foremost a study of racism. It has a deliberate unpleasantness about it as it brings to life the unsavory attitudes of the past. A young boy who stumbles across the convicts races to the arms of Curtis for fear Poitier will hurt him. A lonely farm wife who takes the men in has to be told that yes, Poitier deserves a meal, too. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2013
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.
May 1, 2013
A great story of two men during a hard time
½ April 18, 2013
Cellmates and Soulmates--The Poitier/Curtis Jail-Break Classic!!
½ December 28, 2012
A good film about two escaped convicts who are chained together.
½ December 26, 2012
Plot: ''The Defiant Ones is a 1958 drama film which tells the story of two escaped prisoners, one white and one black, who are shackled together and who must co-operate in order to survive.''

It's a nice premise tackling racism, with 2 exceptional lead performances from Sidney Poitier (one of my all time favourite actors) and Tony Curtis. Unfolding of plot developments were predictable (as well as questionable), but the interplay between the 2 leads is what makes this film most appealing. Well directed by Stanley Kramer. Great cinematography too. The brief romance subplot was implausible, and also unnecessary, in my opinion. Disliked the ending; too abrupt. It started brightly, and I really wanted to enjoy everything, but the 2nd half of the movie just disappointed. Still, I was thoroughly entertained. Nominated for 8 Oscars in 1958, winning for Best Original Screenplay and Cinematography. Worth having a peak.
December 1, 2012
Thanks to its strong script, powerful leading performances and flawless direction by Stanley Kramer, The Defiant Ones is both a thrilling and entertaining escape drama.
November 6, 2012
Strong acting, thorough storytelling, and a prevalent colorblind theme.
October 19, 2012
I love stories like this...
September 12, 2012
The time of extreme racism has long gone, but this chained-together white and black convicts‚(TM) escaping adventure simply hasn‚(TM)t waned much for its in-your-face impact of genuine thrill and sympathy, director Stanley Kramer‚(TM)s (from SHIP OF FOOLS 1965, 6/10) third feature, gathering Curtis and Poitier as the ‚impossible pair‚?, the film would successfully pave the way for Poitier and Kramer‚(TM)s prospective Oscar-winner echelon and afford Curtis a splendid career-turn with his only Oscar nomination.

One could easily be aware of the shooting condition since clearly Curtis and Poitier have taken their toll in their harsh fugitive surroundings, wrestling with the precipitate torrent, the mud pit under the pouring rain, a perilous marsh and finally a running train. But those are only default set pieces to sustain the film in its narrating procedures, a sharp and sound script does remind me how slowly the civilisation progress we have achieved since only 50 years ago, the world could be utterly colour-sensitive.

Curtis and Poitier‚(TM)s two handers are meticulously orchestrated, but among the supporting group, Cara Williams and Theodore Bikel also obtained two Oscar nominations. The former partook in the latter half and induced the most poignant confrontation for Curtis‚(TM) character, choosing between freedom (even love) and the brotherhood with a black prisoner (mercifully, the finale reciprocates with the same dilemma for Poitier). Meanwhile, Williams exhibits a dooming desperation out of the unsatisfied woman without being sidelined as a cipher in the plot. Bikel, is the Sheriff with a kind heart, whose gritty and congenial persona has re-established the integrity of the police force.

Last but not the least, Poitier‚(TM)s a cappella rendition of W.C. Handy‚(TM)s ‚Long Gone (From Bowlin' Green)‚? has been repeated three times in the film, the beginning, the middle section (where they are caught by the village people) and the ending, precisely elevating the film‚(TM)s brio and set a great example of how a theme song could generate such an ineffable passion and evocation into a film‚(TM)s texture.

ps: the film got two Oscars among its 9 nominations, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY BLACK & WHITE and BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY.
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