Sidney Poitier

Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE (February 20, 1927 - January 6, 2022) was a Bahamian American actor, film director, author, and diplomat. In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three well-received films—To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner—making him the top box office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25. Poitier has directed a number of popular movies such as A Piece of the Action; Uptown Saturday Night, and Let's Do It Again (with friend Bill Cosby), and Stir Crazy (starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder). In 2002, 38 years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award, designated "To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being." Since 1997 he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.  

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A Piece of the Action (1977)

How does retired cop Joshua Burke (James Earl Jones) get two career criminals, Manny Durrell (Sidney Poitier) and Dave Anderson (Bill Cosby), to follow the straight and narrow? Con them into helping juvenile delinquents turn over a new leaf. But how? Burke has ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Bill Cosby  •  James Earl Jones  •  Denise Nicholas

How does retired cop Joshua Burke (James Earl Jones) get two career criminals, Manny Durrell (Sidney Poitier) and Dave Anderson (Bill Cosby), to follow the straight and narrow? Con them into helping juvenile delinquents turn over a new leaf. But how? Burke has ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Bill Cosby  •  James Earl Jones  •  Denise Nicholas

Blackboard Jungle (1955)

Richard Dadier is a teacher at North Manual High School, an inner-city school where many of the pupils frequently engage in anti-social behavior. Dadier makes various attempts to engage the students' interest in education, challenging both the school staff and the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Brooks
CAST:  Glenn Ford  •  Anne Francis  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Vic Morrow

Richard Dadier is a teacher at North Manual High School, an inner-city school where many of the pupils frequently engage in anti-social behavior. Dadier makes various attempts to engage the students' interest in education, challenging both the school staff and the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Brooks
CAST:  Glenn Ford  •  Anne Francis  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Vic Morrow

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancé who is black.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Stanley Kramer
CAST:  Spencer Tracy  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Katharine Hepburn  •  Katharine Houghton

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancé who is black.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Stanley Kramer
CAST:  Spencer Tracy  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Katharine Hepburn  •  Katharine Houghton

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

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An African American detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racist southern town.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Norman Jewison
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Rod Steiger  •  Warren Oates  •  Lee Grant

An African American detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racist southern town.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Norman Jewison
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Rod Steiger  •  Warren Oates  •  Lee Grant

Little Nikita (1988)

Roy Parmenter is an FBI agent in San Diego; 20 years ago his partner was killed by a Soviet spy, nicknamed Scuba, still at large. Scuba is now trying to extort the Soviets; to prove he's serious, he's killing their agents one by one, including "sleepers," agents ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Benjamin
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  River Phoenix  •  Richard Jenkins  •  Caroline Kava

Roy Parmenter is an FBI agent in San Diego; 20 years ago his partner was killed by a Soviet spy, nicknamed Scuba, still at large. Scuba is now trying to extort the Soviets; to prove he's serious, he's killing their agents one by one, including "sleepers," agents ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Benjamin
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  River Phoenix  •  Richard Jenkins  •  Caroline Kava

Porgy and Bess (1959)

Set in the early 1900s in the fictional Catfish Row section of Charleston, South Carolina, which serves as home to a black fishing community, the story focuses on the titular characters, crippled beggar Porgy, who travels about in a goat-drawn cart, and the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Otto Preminger
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Dorothy Dandridge  •  Sammy Davis Jr.  •  Pearl Bailey

Set in the early 1900s in the fictional Catfish Row section of Charleston, South Carolina, which serves as home to a black fishing community, the story focuses on the titular characters, crippled beggar Porgy, who travels about in a goat-drawn cart, and the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Otto Preminger
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Dorothy Dandridge  •  Sammy Davis Jr.  •  Pearl Bailey

Sneakers (1992)

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When shadowy U.S. intelligence agents blackmail a reformed computer hacker and his eccentric team of security experts into stealing a code-breaking 'black box' from a Soviet-funded genius, they uncover a bigger conspiracy. Now, he and his 'sneakers' must save ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Phil Alden Robinson
CAST:  Robert Redford  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Dan Aykroyd  •  David Strathairn

When shadowy U.S. intelligence agents blackmail a reformed computer hacker and his eccentric team of security experts into stealing a code-breaking 'black box' from a Soviet-funded genius, they uncover a bigger conspiracy. Now, he and his 'sneakers' must save ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Phil Alden Robinson
CAST:  Robert Redford  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Dan Aykroyd  •  David Strathairn

Stir Crazy (1980)

New Yorkers, Skip Donahue and Harry Monroe have no jobs and no prospects, so they decide to flee the city and find work elsewhere, landing jobs wearing woodpecker costumes to promote the opening of a bank. When their feathery costumes are stolen and used in a bank ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Gene Wilder  •  Richard Pryor  •  Georg Stanford Brown  •  JoBeth Williams

New Yorkers, Skip Donahue and Harry Monroe have no jobs and no prospects, so they decide to flee the city and find work elsewhere, landing jobs wearing woodpecker costumes to promote the opening of a bank. When their feathery costumes are stolen and used in a bank ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Gene Wilder  •  Richard Pryor  •  Georg Stanford Brown  •  JoBeth Williams

The Defiant Ones (1958)

Two convicts—a white racist and an angry black man—escape while chained to each other.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Stanley Kramer
CAST:  Tony Curtis  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Theodore Bikel  •  Charles McGraw

Two convicts—a white racist and an angry black man—escape while chained to each other.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Stanley Kramer
CAST:  Tony Curtis  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Theodore Bikel  •  Charles McGraw

The Jackal (1997)

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Hired by a powerful member of the Russian mafia to avenge an FBI sting that left his brother dead, a psychopathic hitman known only as The Jackal proves an elusive target for the people charged with the task of bringing him down: a deputy FBI director, a Russian ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Michael Caton-Jones
CAST:  Bruce Willis  •  Richard Gere  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Diane Venora

Hired by a powerful member of the Russian mafia to avenge an FBI sting that left his brother dead, a psychopathic hitman known only as The Jackal proves an elusive target for the people charged with the task of bringing him down: a deputy FBI director, a Russian ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Michael Caton-Jones
CAST:  Bruce Willis  •  Richard Gere  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Diane Venora

They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)

A police detective's investigation of a prostitute's murder points to his best friend.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Gordon Douglas
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Martin Landau  •  Barbara McNair  •  Anthony Zerbe

A police detective's investigation of a prostitute's murder points to his best friend.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Gordon Douglas
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Martin Landau  •  Barbara McNair  •  Anthony Zerbe

To Sir, with Love (1967)

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Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London's East End.  (more)

DIRECTION:  James Clavell
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Judy Geeson  •  Christian Roberts  •  Suzy Kendall

Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London's East End.  (more)

DIRECTION:  James Clavell
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Judy Geeson  •  Christian Roberts  •  Suzy Kendall

To Sir, with Love II (1996)

After thirty years teaching in London, Mark Thackeray retires and returns to Chicago. There, however, the challenge of teaching kids in an inner city school proves to be too much to resist.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Peter Bogdanovich
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Christian Payton  •  Dana Eskelson  •  Fernando López

After thirty years teaching in London, Mark Thackeray retires and returns to Chicago. There, however, the challenge of teaching kids in an inner city school proves to be too much to resist.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Peter Bogdanovich
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Christian Payton  •  Dana Eskelson  •  Fernando López

Uptown Saturday Night (1974)

Two blue-collar buddies search the underworld for a winning lottery ticket lost in a nightclub holdup.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Bill Cosby  •  Harry Belafonte  •  Calvin Lockhart

Two blue-collar buddies search the underworld for a winning lottery ticket lost in a nightclub holdup.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Bill Cosby  •  Harry Belafonte  •  Calvin Lockhart

Lilies of the Field (1963)

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An unemployed construction worker heading out west stops at a remote farm in the desert to get water when his car overheats. The farm is being worked by a group of East European Catholic nuns, headed by the strict mother superior, who believes the man has been sent ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ralph Nelson
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Lilia Skala  •  Isa Crino  •  Lisa Mann

An unemployed construction worker heading out west stops at a remote farm in the desert to get water when his car overheats. The farm is being worked by a group of East European Catholic nuns, headed by the strict mother superior, who believes the man has been sent ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ralph Nelson
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Lilia Skala  •  Isa Crino  •  Lisa Mann

A Patch of Blue (1965)

A blind, uneducated white girl is befriended by a black man, who becomes determined to help her escape her impoverished and abusive home life.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Guy Green
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Shelley Winters  •  Elizabeth Hartman  •  Wallace Ford

A blind, uneducated white girl is befriended by a black man, who becomes determined to help her escape her impoverished and abusive home life.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Guy Green
CAST:  Sidney Poitier  •  Shelley Winters  •  Elizabeth Hartman  •  Wallace Ford

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

From his birth in Bethlehem to his death and eventual resurrection, the life of Jesus Christ is given the all-star treatment in this epic retelling. Major aspects of Christ's life are touched upon, including the execution of all the newborn males in Egypt by King ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  George Stevens
CAST:  Max von Sydow  •  Michael Anderson Jr.  •  Carroll Baker  •  Ina Balin

From his birth in Bethlehem to his death and eventual resurrection, the life of Jesus Christ is given the all-star treatment in this epic retelling. Major aspects of Christ's life are touched upon, including the execution of all the newborn males in Egypt by King ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  George Stevens
CAST:  Max von Sydow  •  Michael Anderson Jr.  •  Carroll Baker  •  Ina Balin

Ghost Dad (1990)

A widower with three children is working on a business deal to get his family out of financial straits when he is killed in a taxi accident. With the aid of a paranormal researcher, he attempts to complete the deal from the beyond, ensuring his family will be taken ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Bill Cosby  •  Kimberly Russell  •  Denise Nicholas  •  Ian Bannen

A widower with three children is working on a business deal to get his family out of financial straits when he is killed in a taxi accident. With the aid of a paranormal researcher, he attempts to complete the deal from the beyond, ensuring his family will be taken ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Sidney Poitier
CAST:  Bill Cosby  •  Kimberly Russell  •  Denise Nicholas  •  Ian Bannen

The Bedford Incident (1965)

During a routine patrol, a reporter is given permission to interview a hardened cold-war warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. The reporter gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub and the captain begins a ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  James B. Harris
CAST:  Richard Widmark  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Eric Portman  •  James MacArthur

During a routine patrol, a reporter is given permission to interview a hardened cold-war warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. The reporter gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub and the captain begins a ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  James B. Harris
CAST:  Richard Widmark  •  Sidney Poitier  •  Eric Portman  •  James MacArthur

No Way Out (1950)

The Biddle brothers, shot while robbing a gas station, are taken to the prison ward of the County Hospital; Ray Biddle, a rabid racist, wants no treatment from black resident Dr. Luther Brooks. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Joseph L. Mankiewicz
CAST:  Richard Widmark  •  Linda Darnell  •  Stephen McNally  •  Sidney Poitier

The Biddle brothers, shot while robbing a gas station, are taken to the prison ward of the County Hospital; Ray Biddle, a rabid racist, wants no treatment from black resident Dr. Luther Brooks. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Joseph L. Mankiewicz
CAST:  Richard Widmark  •  Linda Darnell  •  Stephen McNally  •  Sidney Poitier
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