The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones (1958)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: September 24, 1958
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
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Critic Score: 81% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

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

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Emanuel Levy

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.

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Although an advance on Hollywood's usual treatment of racial themes, the script is too message-laden and the direction (by do-gooder Kramer) too single-minded and naively optimistic to really work.

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Melissa Anderson
Time Out

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.

Christopher Lloyd
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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.

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TV Guide

This was the film that established Poitier as a star.

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

It is nervous and suspenseful from the start.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It becomes shackled with its heavy-handed liberal message.

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Mike DeWolfe
Apollo Guide

Given the era of this movie, it was a controversial topic and a theme that Kramer handles courageously. He does a good job of showcasing Poitier and Curtis in their prime and the film's Oscar-winning cinematography is crisp and outstanding.

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More reviews for The Defiant Ones

Flixster Audience Score: 88% Flixster User Reviews
Red Lats
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… More
xGary Xx
Two convicts, one black and one white, escape from a chain gang in the deep south and find they have more in common than they first thought. Having a racist and… More
Ken Stachnik
Amazing black and white cinematography.
Devon Bott
Director Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones starts off with Tony Curtis calling Sidney Poitier the "N-word". This sets the tone for the rest of… More
Lady D'arbanville
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… More
Byron Brubaker
The words raw and desperate come to mind. An early performance from another one of my favorite actors, Sidney Poitier. Those who say Poitier always played a… More