To Sir, With Love


To Sir, With Love

Critics Consensus

While it's a bit dated and overly schmaltzy, To Sir, With Love remains compelling because of Sidney Poitier's outstanding performance -- and the catchy theme song is a classic.



Total Count: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,230
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Movie Info

A novice teacher faces a class of rowdy, undisciplined working-class punks in this classic film that reflected some of the problems and fears of teens in the 60s. Sidney Poitier gives one of his finest performances as Mark Thackeray, an out-of-work engineer who turns to teaching in London's tough East End. The graduating class, led by Denham, Pamela and Barbara, sets out to destroy Thackeray as they did his predecessor by breaking his spirit. But Thackeray, no stranger to hostility, meets the challenge by treating thestudents as young adults who will soon enter a work force where they must stand or fall on their own. When offered an engineering job, Thackeray must decide if he wants to stay.


Critic Reviews for To Sir, With Love

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for To Sir, With Love

  • Sep 05, 2010
    It's interesting to see this movie after having seen Blackboard Jungle where Poitier plays the student, and now in this movie he's the teacher. The story is pretty good, but it's overly sentimental in the end if you ask me. It's an alright movie, though.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2010
    A wonderful movie! Sidney Poitier is endearing as the sensitive teacher that helps change the ways of thinking in his rebellious students in a 1960's London High School. Great song also by Lulu who sings the title "To Sir, With Love" Thumbs up! :)
    Donna D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 23, 2010
    James Clavell's good humored, touching story concerning a black, idealistic out-of-work engineer named Mark Thackery, played magnificently by Sidney Poitier, in one of the finest performances of his distinguished career, who turns to teaching at a high school at London's tough East End slum. The novice teacher faces a class full of disruptive, rambunctious undisciplined, working-class students who set out to destroy him just as they had his predecessor, by breaking his spirit. But Thackeray, no stranger to racism and hostility, meets the challenge by treating the students as young adults who will soon be entering the workplace. Frustrated by his pupil's lack of manners, he disposes of conventional teaching methods, puts away the textbooks, in favour of conversing with his students on varying subjects using his own real-life experiences. His students eventually learn to respect and even appreciate him; referring to him as only 'Sir,' as the teacher-student bond develops one blonde toughie, Pamela, played beautifully by Judy Geeson, acquires a crush on him, the almost-love scene between them is nicely handed. The film is based on the novel by E.R. Brathwaite and skillfully directed by Clavell, who also wrote the engaging screenplay. Terrific supporting performances by Christian Roberts, Suzy Kendall, Lulu, Geoffrey Bayldon, Patricia Routledge, Ann Bell, Michael Des Barres, and Rita Webb. But it's Sidney Poitier's earnest, intelligent turn that dominates this fine film. Lulu's breakout title song for the film became a world-wide hit. A classic groundbreaking classroom drama. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Feb 22, 2010
    Sidney Poitier can go over the top (in the grand tradition of live theater, see "A Raisin in the Sun") or he can give a subtle delivery, as he does here, in To Sir With Love. It's not a terribly revolutionary film, but it's not pretending to be. It's a simple, well-thought out tale of a teacher who comes to a rough, inner city school and attempts to reach the kids by relating to them as adults rather than children. It's certainly not easy, as the kids have their own prejudices, against blacks, against authority figures, and against adults in general. An engineer by profession, Poitier takes the teaching assignment as a means of making a living while looking for work in his chosen field. It's a job that's not likely to be in high demand anyway, teaching kids in a tough east end London school. His first day, he's greeted in the faculty lounge by one of his cynical co-workers, who tells him to let the little monsters wither on the vine, as education isn't necessary in their lives. He has other ideas though, and seeks a way in which to break through to the students. Much like Poitier's earlier effort, "Lilies of the Field", it's a subtle, understated, yet totally dominating performance he delivers. So many actors (of any color) would be unable to play this role without infusing it with a certain level of martyrdom, but Poitier plays his character not as a saint, but as an intelligent and controlled man. The film is a relaxed, slow-moving, character-driven story that's never dull. In fact, it's actually quite sweet and charming.
    Devon B Super Reviewer

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