The Defiant Ones

The Defiant Ones

Stanley Kramer (1958)

U Certificate


Our Score
This still powerful drama was, in its day, a superb cinematic strike for racial equality. Two convicts, one black, one white, find themselves shackled together in their escape from a chain gang in the Deep South. Tony Curtis finally shed his "pretty boy" image playing bigoted "Joker" Jackson and Sidney Poitier leapt to stardom as the angry black southerner, Noah Cullen. This is one of underrated producer/director Stanley Kramer's finest humanitarian movies (he made Inherit the Wind two years later and would reunite with Poitier on Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) in 1967. The Oscar-winning story and screenplay were co-written by blacklisted actor Nedrick Young, writing under the pseudonym Nathan E Douglas.


A racist convict escapes while shackled to a black fellow chain-gang prisoner and together they embark on a perilous cross-country journey to freedom, hotly pursued by a relentless sheriff. Drama, starring Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis, Theodore Bikel, Lon Chaney Jr and Cara Williams.

Cast & Crew

John "Joker" Jackson Tony Curtis
Noah Cullen Sidney Poitier
Sheriff Max Muller Theodore Bikel
Captain Frank Gibbons Charles McGraw
Big Sam Lon Chaney Jr
Solly King Donovan
Mac Claude Akins
The woman Cara Williams
Editor Lawrence Dobkin
Lou Gans Whit Bissell
Angus Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer
Director Stanley Kramer
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray