The Defiant Ones (1958)

Directed by Stanley Kramer

Starring Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier

Awards: Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen

In the same genre of movies like Cold Hand Luke and Midnight Run, The Defiant Ones, is the ultimate prisoner-on-the-run movie. The classic pairing of Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier as racist Joker and Noah respectively creates a building tension that satisfyingly culminates in one of the great on-screen friendships. Interesting shot choices from a cinematic viewpoint also lend to this film’s artistic merit.

Noah and Joker are prisoners who loath each other and are chained together. Together they escape from a chain gang, and through numerous trials learn to respect and trust each other.At one point the duo is aided by a lonely woman and her son and their chains are broken. Following the woman’s directions, Noah runs off into the swamp to safety and Joker stays behind. Joker later finds out the woman lied and led Noah into a trap and despite having everything he wants, runs to the swamp to help his friend.

There are several remakes out there of this film, including a crap 90’s version with talented Laurence Fishborne and born-again hack Stephen Baldwin called Fled. Flee from it, see the original. Tense, entertaining, and topically controversial for its time.

Other Notable Films by this Director: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)


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