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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...
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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!
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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."