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Of his 55 films, In the Heat of the Night is Poitier’s personal favorite. It won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Picture.
“Released in the summer of 1967, shortly after race riots in Newark, NJ, and Detroit, In the Heat of the Night galvanized racial tensions in the United States as few films had done previously. Not only did the film score at the box office with an African-American actor in the leading role, but also it was one of the first to depict an African-American character who refused to back down in the face of racism. When local business leader Endicott slapped Virgil Tibbs, only for Tibbs to hit him back, progressive audiences around the nation cheered.” – Frank Miller, TCM
African-American Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the racist police chief of tiny Sparta, Mississippi. After Tibbs proves not only his own innocence but that of another man, he joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the town, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.
- Genre Drama
- Director Norman Jewison
- Released 1967
- Runtime 1h 50m
- Rated Approved
- Studio MGM
- CountryUnited States