Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Defiant Ones (1958)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Defiant Ones (1958)

In Stanley Kramer's social-conscience film:

  • the scene of escaped, shackled-together convicts Johnny "Joker" Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier) talking together while fugitives, with Poitier bringing poignancy to his strident role (Jackson: "I'm just tellin' you the facts of life" Cullen: "I don't wanna hear it. I've been listenin' to that stuff all my life. From my wife: 'Be nice.' They throwed me in solitary confinement and she said: 'Be nice.' A man shortweight'd me when I turned in my crops. She'd say: 'Be nice, or you get in trouble.' She'd teach my kid that same damn thing")
  • the classic image of the clapsed white and black hands of the two desperately trying to help each other board a speeding train - Cullen reached back to pull Jackson up, but couldn't save him and sacrificed his own freedom by jumping off
Race for the Train
  • in the conclusion, Noah's singing of the blues song "Long Gone" - with the wounded Jackson lying in his arms, before the two were apprehended by Sheriff Max Muller (Theodore Bikel)

Johnny Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier)

Singing "Long Gone"

Sheriff Max Muller (Theodore Bikel)


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