The Defiant Ones


(out of 5)

After the police bus transporting them to prison suffers an accident, two prisoners chained together at the foot (, ) run away to the woods toward freedom. Separated by their mutual hatred of each other, they end up having to work together in order to achieve their goal of not getting caught again. Eventually they develop a bond, but it is put to the test by a widow () living on a farm alone with her young son. This intelligent, socially-minded drama by Stanley Kramer succeeds as his best blend of message and entertainment. It never sledgehammers you over the head with its themes, nor does it insult your intelligence by having the two protagonists become the best of friends in a lightning-speed amount of time.  Curtis and Poitier are both riveting, with excellent supporting performances by Williams and  as the humane sheriff on their trail.

Curtleigh Productions, Stanley Kramer Productions

USA, 1958

Directed by

Screenplay by ,

Cinematography by

Produced by Stanley Kramer

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Awards
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) (Sam Leavitt)
Best Writing (Story and Screenplay–written directly for the screen) (Nedrick Young, Harold Jacob Smith)

Best Actor (Tony Curtis as “John ‘Joker’ Jackson”)
Best Actor (Sidney Poitier as “Noah Cullen”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Theodore Bikel as “Sheriff Max Muller”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Cara Williams as “The Woman”)
Best Directing (Stanley Kramer)
Best Film Editing (Frederic Knudtson)
Best Motion Picture (Stanley Kramer, producer)

Golden Globe Award
Best Motion Picture-Drama

Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Tony Curtis)
Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Sidney Poitier)
Best Director (Stanley Kramer)
Best Film Promoting International Understanding
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Cara williams)


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