Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.

Director:

Stanley Kramer
Won 2 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tony Curtis ... John 'Joker' Jackson
Sidney Poitier ... Noah Cullen
Theodore Bikel ... Sheriff Max Muller
Charles McGraw ... Capt. Frank Gibbons
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Big Sam (as Lon Chaney)
King Donovan ... Solly
Claude Akins ... Mack
Lawrence Dobkin ... Editor
Whit Bissell ... Lou Gans
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Angus (as Carl Switzer)
Kevin Coughlin ... Billy
Cara Williams ... Billy's Mother
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Storyline

When the truck that is transporting convicts has an accident on the road, the inmates John "Joker" Jackson and Noah Cullen that are chained to each other escape. They hate each other but they need to help each other to succeed in their intent of going north to jump in a train and reach freedom. Meanwhile the humane Sheriff Max Muller organizes a posse to track them down in a civilized manner and respecting justice. Joker and Cullen reach a small farm where a lonely woman helps them to get rid of their chains. She offers to drive her car with Joker and her son Billy while Cullen would escape through the swamp to the railroad. But when Joker learns that she sent Cullen to a trap, he leaves her and is shot in the shoulder by Billy. Joker seeks out Cullen to save him and when they meet each other, their former hatred has changed to friendship and respect. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They couldn't like each other less. They couldn't need each other more. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles McGraw (Capt. Frank Gibbons) & Tony Curtis (Johnny "Joker" Jackson) starred together in "Spartacus" (1960) but shared no scenes together. See more »

Goofs

The dirt on the shirts throughout the film goes from clean to dirty to clean and dirty. So does the dirt on the faces. See more »

Quotes

Law officier: How come they chained a white man to a black?
Sheriff Max Muller: The warden's got a sense of humor.
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Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bloodlust! (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Long Gone
Adapted from "Long Gone (From Bowlin' Green)" (1920)
Music by W.C. Handy (as William C. Handy)
Words by Chris Smith
Sung a cappella by Sidney Poitier (uncredited) several times
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User Reviews

 
Chains Unchained...
8 August 2020 | by XstalSee all my reviews

... but no Charlie Potatoes: like the races they represent, two escaped cons battle through the swamps and their prejudice and demonstrate there's so much more to who we are than the colour of our skin.

Sydney Poitier and Tony Curtis are outstanding!


15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 September 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Defiant Ones See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$778,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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