The Defiant Ones (1958) / Thriller-Drama
MPAA Rated: Not rated but probably PG for some violence
Running Time: 96 min.
Cast: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney Jr., King Donovan
Director: Stanley Kramer
Screenplay: Nedrick Young (as Nathan E. Douglas), Harold Jacob Smith
Review published November 13, 1996
Two convicts escape from a chain gang still chained together. Bad part is that one is white (Curtis, Spartacus) and one is black (Poitier, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner), in racist America, and they hate each other. On the run from the police they have no choice but to rely on each other for survival. But will they kill each other before the police get a hold of them?
Terrific performances by the two leads highlight this exciting and thought-provoking drama. It lacks the emotional punch that it must have had upon it's release in 1958, but the script and acting still make for compelling viewing. Some critics may rate this higher due to the subject matter and the importance of this film in race relations in Hollywood, but it's not quite the great film that it's sometimes labeled as. Still, it's quality work by quality people, and quite good.
©1996 Vince Leo