Critic Reviews



Based on 8 critic reviews provided by
The performances by Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier are virtually flawless. Poitier captures all of the moody violence of the convict, serving time because he assaulted a white man who had insulted him. It is a cunning, totally intelligent portrayal that rings powerfully true.
The Defiant Ones combines Stanley Kramer’s trademark liberal politics with a picaresque adventure that is deftly entertaining, tense and heartfelt.
A remarkably apt and dramatic visualization of a social idea—the idea of men of different races brought together to face misfortune in a bond of brotherhood — is achieved by Producer Stanley Kramer in his new film, The Defiant Ones.
Though the political lesson drives the movie, the action is also effective as the odd couple flees from their oppressors. This is an engrossing depiction of racial tensions and an oppressive penal system.
Nearly a decade before the supper-table racial detente of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Kramer mined the subject matter of racial divisiveness in the groundbreaking The Defiant Ones, which paired Curtis and Poitier as hunky prison escapees unhappily bonded to each other by means of metal chains and the mutual need to survive.
Kramer was never much of a director, but there's still power in some of the performances, especially Poitier's.
Uncomfortable viewing which isn't afraid to engage with race-related violence.
Time Out
The suspense of the manhunt in the swamps never really overcomes the dead weight of Kramer's 'message', but pleasures are to be found in the supporting roles of McGraw and Chaney.

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