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The Defiant Ones (1958)

Tony Curtis , Sidney Poitier , Stanley Kramer  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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The Defiant Ones + To Sir, With Love + In the Heat of the Night (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney Jr.
  • Directors: Stanley Kramer
  • Writers: Harold Jacob Smith, Nedrick Young
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Dubbed, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005PJ6T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,091 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Defiant Ones" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Nominated* for nine Academy AwardsÂ(r), including Best Picture, The Defiant Ones broke new ground by delivering its message of racial tolerance through a fast-moving blend of action and suspense. It remains "a raw, powerful film that is as exciting as it is moving, real and literate"(Variety). Joker Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier) are two convicts on the run. Escaping from a Southern work gang, the two men are bound together by an unbreakable iron chain and separated by an unbridled hatred towards each other. Relentlessly pursued by a posse and bloodhounds, they put aside their differences to survive. But when a lonely woman (Cara Williams) breaks their chain and deliberately sends Cullen to certain death, Jackson must decide what's more important: saving Cullen...or saving himself. *1958: Best Picture, Actor (Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier), Supporting Actor (Theodore Bikel), Supporting Actress (Cara Williams), Director,Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (won), Cinematography (won), Film Editing

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The Defiant Ones is one of the great American films. Released in 1958, this starkly filmed story of two convicts on the run for their freedom evokes powerful emotions for the viewer. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier are wonderful in their roles and display a level of screen chemistry that has been sadly lacking in contemporary films. It is hard to say which one is better due to their very different but equally powerful performance. As one might expect, the two cons start out hating each other, but slowly develop a grudging respect for one another as they learn about the others life and eventually a kind of friendship is formed. The secondary story concerns the posse on their trail and the friction that develops amongst them as the chase goes on. Cara Williams is memorable as the woman that Curtis cares for while on the run and is the character that causes a change in his attitude that leads directly to the bittersweet ending. Theodore Bikel is also very accomplished as the beleagered Sheriff and Lon Chaney Jr. is very good as a townsman who has a special reason for aiding the 2 cons in their escape. The Defiant Ones is a great film that almost 50 years later still prods us with the reminder that YES, WE CAN learn to overcome our differences over race and live with and care for each other. Both Curtis and Poitier are at the top of their game here and each received an Academy Award nomination deservedly. A final note: watch the last scene and decide for yourself- was it an accident or did one friend make a sacrifice for another?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
''The Defiant Ones'' is one of those rare films which after having been seen only once had the ability to stick with me for an entire lifetime! (Other such gems having had a similar effect on me include Chaplin's first 'talkie,' ''The Great Dictator,'' the original ''Night of the Living Dead,'' the cheesy and awful but fun sci-fi cult flick ''Laserblast,'' and Orson Welles' ''Citizen Kane.'') I've just had the opportunity to purchase the DVD and view this film for only the second time, and it was every bit as good and intense as I remember from that first time!
''The Defiant Ones'' teams up the legendary Tony Curtis and the equally legendary and talented Sidney Poitier as convicted felons John ''Joker'' Jackson and Noah Cullen who, as a result of a racially sparked physical scuffle between the two of them, partly contribute to the road accident their transport vehicle becomes involved in. The resulting crash gives these two chained together prisoners an opportunity to escape on foot.
But this is pre-1960s southern USA, so when the arriving law officers responsible for tracking the prisoners down learn that the two chained together escaped cons are of different racial backgrounds they become somewhat lax in their pursuit, erroneously assuming that the two escapees would likely kill each other out of racial hatred before they'd even get five miles.
Forced to cooperate despite the racial tensions between them, Joker and Noah do not take their predicament lightly and are constantly on the move to stay as far ahead of their pursuers as possible.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and white fight and run March 27, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
A black-and-white movie about a hateful pair of black and white convicts struggling for their lives and against each other. During the era of the film in the South, it is amazing that a black man would touch a white -- let alone be chained to him with a defiant attitude. What is more remarkable than the intense hatred and out-and-out fist fight is the bond that forms between this unlikely pair as they flee for their lives after a prison break. Pushing personal differences aside, they must learn to rely upon one another or die trying.

Movie quote: "I ain't gettin' mad, Joker. I been mad all my natural life."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sidney Poitier -- NEED I SAY MORE -- From Las Vegas, NV January 10, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
All I need to see is that Sidney Poitier is in a movie and it WILL BE A GOOD MOVIE. I thought that this movie with him and Tony Curtis was GREAT! I own almost every movie that is available that has Sidney Poitier in it. I was hooked on his movies and intrigued by Mr. Poitier when I saw "To Sir, With Love" for the first time. I have yet to see Sidney Poitier do a bad movie. This movie was done as a lot of his movies during the times when there was a lot of racial tension. I think that Sidney Poitier picked his movies carefully and all of them have had a very good point to make and in making the point on each of his movies they have all been good story lines. I really think that Sidney Poitier should have won a lot more academy awards than just the one for "Lilies of the Field"! I realize that this is more a commentary than a review, just wanted to put my thoughts down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only defiant, but life changing August 10, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There is no need for me to go into what has been reiterated many times by other's opinions and reviews; that being the black & white thing. However, what I noticed in this movie was the under tones of homoeroticism, which to me was also groundbreaking during this period. Not only were black and white separated by realities that Joker constantly reminded Cullen of, but also there seemed to be a line that was being crossed in regards to the relationship itself. They were falling asleep in each other's arms for heavens sake! Cullen even carries Joker to bed LOL! Then Joker leaves a white woman to be with a black man by arguing with her that "she doesn't know him" and I couldn't help but to see what wasn't stated by him that "Cullen does know him". The two defiant ones got to the foundation of their hatred, that it is all conditioned based on their mutual acceptance of what they had learned during this period of American history. With the walls torn down the heart surrenders to the love that caused it. And then there is the ending. A sacrifice for a friend because it is more powerful than any walls or chains. At first they were bonded by the chain and then by the end, by the heart. Cullen hinted at this near the end as well. Simply quite beautiful and because I am a gay man these things stick out to me maybe more so than the average viewer. But, then again if this is based on the story of Huck and Jim there are questions re: that relationship as well. Just sayin.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great movie. It's a classic.
Published 6 days ago by Reginald Tinsley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie of which I ordered only one.
Published 1 month ago by Violet M Pulli
5.0 out of 5 stars Great old flick
This is a great movie.
Published 1 month ago by Brenda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by George King
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
outstanding movie and movie star's.
Published 2 months ago by Robert J waycaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie.
Published 3 months ago by RUSSELLADAMS
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely recommend!!!
Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis were so awesome in this movie. The battle between them is so well portrayed and explained in simple snippets of conversation between the two,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kyra fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, enduring and classic film
"The Defiant Ones" is a timeless film with a message that endures to this day. It gets a little slow about 3/4 of the way through the film, but trust me on this, if you stay with... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sam I Am
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
This movie was okay, yet could be longer. Acting is acceptable, yet could have added much more excitement. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Buddha
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Good old time storytelling. I enjoy movies with mostly human interaction. It was suspenseful, too, which increased my interest. What do you know, Tony Curtis can act :)
Published 14 months ago by Diane
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