The Defiant Ones (1958)

STANLEY KRAMER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1958.  Curtleigh Productions, Stanley Kramer Productions.  Screenplay by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Stanley Kramer.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1958.  Golden Globe Awards 1958New York Film Critics Awards 1958.  

After the police bus transporting them to prison suffers an accident, two prisoners chained together at the foot (Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier) 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 (Cara Williams) 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 Theodore Bikel as the humane sheriff on their trail.

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