In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Critic Consensus: Tense, funny, and thought-provoking all at once, and lifted by strong performances from Sydney Poitier and Rod Steiger, director Norman Jewison's look at murder and racism in small-town America continues to resonate today.
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as Police Chief Bill Gillespie
as Det. Virgil Tibbs
as Sam Wood
as Mrs. Colbert
as Delores Purdy
as Mama Caleba
as Philip Colbert
as Packy Harrison
as H.E. Henderson
as George Courtney
as Harold Courtney
as Shagbag Martin
as Charlie Hawthorne
as Dr. Stuart
as Ted Ulam
as Arnold Fryer
as Ted Appleton
as Mark Crowell
as Young Tough
as Young Tough
as Baggage Master
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Critic Reviews for In the Heat of the Night
It's a pleasure, all too rare, to watch two splendid actors pitted against each other with equal force such as Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger in the exceptional murder mystery, In the Heat of the Night.
Social importance aside, In the Heat of the Night works as a buddy film and as a tense thriller.
No deep solutions are suggested in this subtle and meticulously observed study. Yet Director Norman Jewison has used his camera to extract a cer tain rough-cut beauty from each protagonist.
An excellent Sidney Poitier performance, and an outstanding one by Rod Steiger, overcome some noteworthy flaws to make In The Heat of the Night an absorbing contemporary murder drama.
Audience Reviews for In the Heat of the Night
Sidney Poitier stars as Virgil Tibbs, a detective from up north (Philadelphia) who gets stuck in the middle of a murder investigation in small town Sparta, Mississippi (actually, the movie was filmed in Sparta, Il, not too far from here). The year is 1967, and Mississippi is a hotbed of racism. The sheriff of Sparta, a man by the name of Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is a bit more pragmatic than his cartoonishly one-dimensional subordinates. While racism is pretty ingrained from birth, it's clear no one in this town has ever met anyone quite like Tibbs, a man who's well-dressed and better educated than any of them. The murder mystery is pretty engaging, but it's the dynamic interaction between Tibbs and the townsfolk, and in particular with Sheriff Gillespie that makes the movie. Neither man is a villain or a saint, but by the end both learn to have a little respect for the each other. It's a microcosm of racism's history and it's future, where we were and where we'd like to be.
A black homicide detective from the big city becomes embroiled in a murder case in a small backwater town in 1960s Mississippi. A thinly disguised commentary on prejudice in the times of the civil rights movement, In The Heat Of The Night is also a smartly plotted and suspenseful Film Noir style murder mystery that showcases Sidney Poitier's not inconsiderable charisma. He dominates the screen whenever he appears and his scenes with the comparably excellent Rod Steiger's red neck sheriff crackle with tension as their worlds collide amidst their verbal sparring. Featuring a colourful backdrop of local culture and antiquated attitudes based upon the belief that slavery was the "natural order", it contains many memorable lines and strong performances. The resolution to the story seems a little anti-climactic considering the power of the build up, but it's definitely one of the best examples of politically savvy thrillers around and worth it for the scenes involving Poitier and Steiger butting heads alone.
"They call me Mr. Tibbs!" Great film! Not really one i'd call a classic, but this is timeless piece that was completely ahead of it's time. Released in 1967, during the Civil Rights movement, In the Heat of the Night is about a Black Philadelphia cop who gets involved in a murder case in a small rascist Mississippi town. The film dared to go where so many other films of the time dared not, and it's for that reason it will remembered forever. Strong performance by Sidney Poitier, but the whole film is driven by the masterful performance by Rob Steiger! He definitely deserved the Oscar. In the Heat of the Night is a great crime/mystery film! I recommend it to everyone!
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