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A Raisin in the Sun
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Raisin in the Sun More at IMDbPro »

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42 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

An Underrated American Classic

9/10
Author: Snazel from Seattle, WA
21 February 2002

Some stories leave you shattered. They speak to you on such a level and you identify with such intensity that by the end of the film, your nerves and emotion are raw.

Is Raisin in the Sun a play about racial prejudice? Yes indeed, an important one too. No story illustrates the ignorance of 'restricted neighborhoods' better. No film offers the ugliness of white arrogance and presumption, something that still lives and breathes in this country.

For me personally, this is also a movie about being a man.

This movie illustrates so well how men are composed. We honor the father, love the mother and protect the traditions that raised you. Mixed in with all of that and no less important, are our dreams and aspirations.

This movie teaches us, with immense power and clarity, that to be a man, to be a real man, you must never sell out your pride. Never. No matter how badly your dreams have been shattered, your pride and your manhood belong to no one. Simple, basic redemption lies within that truth.

It's an important lesson, a deep lesson, that men of today (including myself) need to remind themselves of from time to time. There is a pride within all men. It can be stubborn, it can be arrogant and it can be so full of dreams that it can lead to bitter heartbreak. But it is there, burning in all men and it's our most treasured asset.

I can't think of a contemporary play that illustrates more strongly, the struggle and rites of manhood in American culture today. How ironic and perhaps appropriate that the film is written by a woman. It is after all the women in this film who patiently wait for Walter to find himself. The love, faith and patience of the women in this film, illustrate the grace, power and importance women have in all our lives, regardless of our gender. A Raisin in the Sun, is a marvelous film and brilliant play. It is, from my perspective, an American classic and I believe one of the most underrated American plays of all time. I recommend it to any man that is struggling to find themselves or trying to recapture what is real and what is untouchable within our souls and within our dreams.

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35 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Must see movie

10/10
Author: Thomas from United States
16 October 2006

"A Raisin in the Sun" is one of the finest American films ever made. This film discusses many vital issues, such as racism, abortion, trust, family values, greed, and even atheism.

My favorite character in this film is matriarch Lena Younger, impeccably performed by Claudia McNeil. Mrs. Younger is a wise, loving mother and grandmother to her family. While she may not always agree with her children's decisions, she never stops loving them.

Sidney Poitier is brilliant as the defeated Walter Lee Younger. Walter is frustrated with his job as a chauffeur, and believes he has more to offer the world.

Ruby Dee is great as Walter's supportive and level headed wife.

The dialogue and issues that are discussed reinstate the values upon which America was built. I strongly recommend this excellent film.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

One of the best films ever made

Author: gtownes from ny, nEW yORK
27 September 2003

I watch this film with my children, to show them that although there are no special effects, no explicit sex scences, and very little profane language this is a movie that GRABS you from beginning to end. It breaks beyond race and color, it is about HUMANITY. Sidney and Ruby are BRILLIANT in this film, but the accolades belong to the grandmother. She is the ROCK that holds everything together. I urge everyone to watch this movie. EVERYTIME I WATCH IT I CRY.

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Author: nsantiago_md from USA
1 January 2004

This is the embodiment of the Mr. Langston Hughes poem that obviously inspired Ms. Lorraine Hansberry to write this wonderful piece. What indeed DOES happen to a dream deferred? Each of the adult main characters has a dream about what should be done with the $10,000 insurance policy paid after the Younger patriarch's death, and each person's dream is challenged. I most identify with the character of Beneatha, the doctor-to-be in a time when few women, and even fewer Black women, could achieve this dream. This is a story of dreams, of family, of strength, of sacrifice, of mistakes and of recovery from the consequences of those mistakes. Whenever I need a dose of inspiration, when things in my own life seem too difficult to conquer, I watch A Raisin in the Sun and feel strong again. The acting in this film is so incredibly moving that there are parts (and I won't give them away) that are so disheartening and sad that they still move me to tears, after all these years and after all the times I have watched it. It is truly the greatest story ever told.

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18 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Masterpiece

Author: ivan beshkov (ivanbeshkov@msn.com) from Los Angeles
14 June 2000

Diary entry 1996:

For decades I have been waiting for American TV to see fit to exhibit the movie version of "A Raisin in the Sun". The day will never come. So I grabbed the opportunity to check out the video from the library. I didn't expect to be moved as much as I was when I first saw the TV play. After all, I knew the plot. The novelty effect was no longer there. Yet I was tearful throughout the movie, and was wiping away tears for the last half hour. There are wonderful lines like "Seems God saw fit to give the black man nothing but dreams - but He sure saw fit to give'em children to make the dream seem worthwhile". "A raisin in the Sun" is not only the greatest movie drama, but also the greatest American play. This play transcends race and addresses universal issues. It combines drama with humor with admirable balance.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Best Black Cinema Ever

10/10
Author: shadgurl79 from United States
27 November 2005

My applause goes to director, Daniel Petrie, for a masterpiece movie that concentrated on one set of a black family's small apartment, in the projects of Chicago. This movie shows every hardship that black families went through in the fifties. A Raisin in the Sun movie is a remake of Lorraine Hansberry's classic stage play of how a black family tries to escape from their crowded apartment life to a house in an all white neighborhood. Sidney Politer delivered his usual outstanding performance in this film, which sends a message about the limited opportunities open to blacks in this time period. My favorite character was Mama, played by Claudia McNeil. She did an excellent job showing how the mother is always the backbone of black families through every trial and tribulation. I am not usually a fan of black and white movies, but this movie displayed a wonderful storyline for me to understand the struggle they went through. There was never a movie that I can think of that was this excellent with one set most of the movie and was in black and white. The part of the movie that meant a lot to me is how Mama took the money she received and did something with it that would benefit the whole family. Overall, each main character portrayed a strong black person. For example, Walter Lee realized that he is suppose to follow behind his father and be a strong black man and raise a family. Ruth always stood by her husband no matter his wrongs, Beneatha was a young black student going to college to be doctor and Mama was just their for any of her family member's and remain strong for everyone.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Powerful performances

Author: alicebonaise from Vancouver, Canada
9 June 2001

"A Raisin in the Sun" presents powerful acting performances from Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, and Claudia MacNeil. I was deeply engaged throughout the film due to the fine presence of the characters and meaningful dialogue. The conversations between the members in the Younger family reveal not only their unique personalities and dreams, but also, the complex nature of their relationships and the deep personal issues within each of them. Someone once said, "pride is a dangerous thing" and this film beautifully illustrates the consequences of pride. In my opinion, this is one of Poitier's finest moments in film but, more importantly, I believe this story offers a lesson to all of us, regardless of race, about love and pride. It is truly a classic film.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The cast was usually amazing, in this simple, but compelling story.

8/10
Author: Tommy Nelson from Long Beach, California
31 May 2008

The actors in this movie are great actors. That could be said for every one of them. They all knew exactly what to do with the script from their previous work on the stage play version. Unfortunately, when their face is blown up 10 times on the big screen, so are their actions, and some scenes, because of this, come off a little too over the top dramatic than they should be realistically. The story is a simple one, but actually pretty interesting, and most of the time this is entertaining to watch.

The Younger family has just lost a member. Lena "Momma" Younger's (Claudia McNeil) husband died, and because of this the government is giving the family 10,000 dollars. Momma wants to buy a house and move the family out of their tiny apartment into a nice white neighborhood. Walter (Sidney Potier) has the dream of taking the money to start a liquor store. Beneatha (Diana Sands) wants to go to college on this money. The family has problems, and though no real plot is apparent, the characters make the film.

The direction on this is great. The music only adds to it, and helps out greatly in scenes trying to be dramatic. The actors play the scenes off well usually, though as stated earlier, a few times they almost come off campy instead of serious and dramatic. Most of the time this wasn't the case though, and these actor's performances shouldn't be nitpicked like I'm doing, and most won't even notice the over the top goofiness. The writing is very good, and is straight out of the play. The entertainment value is high, though some scenes seem to drag, another better scene generally follows.

Overall, this is not a masterpiece. The play is good, the acting is great, the cheese level is fairly low, and Raisin has a true human touch to it that makes the audience feel for these poor characters, and it's a very hard trait to emulate.

My rating: *** out of ****. 120 mins. PG for violence.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An exceptional screenplay.

9/10
Author: Rob Deschenes (kalibur@softhome.net) from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
21 December 2002

The cast is excellent. The dialogue is sharp and wise. Sidney Poitier pulls an absolutely riveting performance as the widow's son. Since RAISIN IN THE SUN is based from a play, most of the movie takes place in the house and has the characters talk and talk. But what they have to say is excellent, and the character study is something to admire. RAISIN IN THE SUN is a pure gem.

The old man of the house passes away and leaves the Younger family with $10 000 in their pocket. What will they do with their destiny?

Every character has an integral part in the movie. The man of the house, who longs to be one. The wife, who despairs in the house, while discovering she is pregnant. The daughter who strives to be a doctor. RAISIN IN THE SUN is far from the big booming special effect epics of today. But it is powerful for its time, and is a worthwhile classic rent. Two thumbs up.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A shining example of a good play turn into a great film.

8/10
Author: ironhorse_iv from United States
16 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's rare to see a film version of a movie, be as good as the play version, but 1961's 'A Raisin in the Sun' does that. Based on the play made in 1959 by an African-American playwright and painter Lorraine Hansberry. Raisin in the Sun was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. Young Lorraine grew up in a Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood and her own experiences lead to the play's story. She got the title of the play by finding it in a Langston Hughes's poem book 'Harlem' which is quotes in the poem 'A dream deferred'. The title, 'Raisin in the Sun' referred in the original poem about the hundreds of African American slaves that work in the hot sun in the cotton fields whom dream dry up like a raisin. In the play and the movie, its symbolism the frustration of blacks working trying to make a better life for themselves, but in the end, their dream are forgotten or put off due to the mixer of racism and classism. The movie story is about a working-class family called the Youngers. Living in a lousy apartment for decades, they want to and wish to leave the place behind. The central idea of the play is concerned with fighting off the myth of black contentment. It shows the stress of being in poverty when the large family is crammed into a small apartment. The plot get going when the family finds out that Lena AKA Mama (Claudia McNeil) got an insurance check for $10,000. Each members of the family find themselves having their own version of what to do with an insurance check. Walter Lee (Sidney Poitler) a poor chauffeur, dreams of making a fortune by investing the money in a liquor business against the wishes of both his wife and the mother. Sidney Poitler does a great job as Walter. It's one of his best roles in my opinion. You can see the want in his eyes. The pain, he goes through when it doesn't come his way. Powerful. Beneatha (Diana Sands), his flighty college student sister also wants the money so that she can be a doctor and live in Africa with one of her two boyfriends. One is a boy, George Murchison (Louis Gossett), a wealthy Negro concerned with appearances and material, while the second, Joseph Asagai (Ivan Dixon), is a native African that inspires her intellectually and spiritually. Great symbolism with Beneatha's hair in the film. When the movie begins, Beneatha has straightened hair. Midway through the play, after Asagai visits her and questions her hairstyle, she cuts her Caucasian-seeming hair for the new radical afro represents her embracing of her African heritage. Beneatha's cutting of her hair is a very powerful social statement in the 1960's, as she symbolically declares that natural black is beautiful and wouldn't conform to the style society dictates at the time. It's become a symbol of her anti-assimilationist beliefs. The film dealt with the talk about racism, not only with whites and blacks, but also black against black. One of the first major allusions to any sort of racism appears with the character of George Murchison. When the wealthy George enters the picture, the Younger family sees the differences in race and grouped him with snobbish white people. Mama dreams of buying a home in all-white neighborhood with her money, but fears that they would be faced with racist neighbors, and people trying to buy them out to prevent the neighborhood's integration. One such person trying to buy them out is Karl Aka Mark Linder (John Fielder) whom openly states the racism present in the neighborhood that Mama wants to live. While he at first sugarcoats his words, he tells the Youngers that they are not wanted in the neighborhood because they are Negroes. Mama's choice soon become troublesome, as one choice can lead them into deeply poverty or salvation. A Raisin in the Sun is essentially about dreams, as the main characters struggle to deal with the oppressive circumstances that rule their lives, both with happiness and depression. The movie follows a good amount of themes such as the need to fight racial discrimination in a powerfully demonstrates of the family strength. By having a strong family, it shows that the African American community, that the importance of family is key to success. One great thing about the movie is how little, they change from the play. Most of the movie takes place in the home. Was the bar scene really needed? Not really, the producers could had shown Walter's alcoholic nature, just with him coming home with a bottle, and we would get the same results. But by showing the audience how cramped the apartment is, we get how badly they are struggling. Plus, it's nice to see a movie with few cuts scenes. Director Daniel Petrie did a great job. I would had love to see more of Mama's plant. In the play, Mama's plant represents both Mama's care and her dream for her family. Still, the movie does a great job with dealing with other issues, such as abortion, greed, and the lack of religion. The movie follows the play very well. While, 2008's TV movie 'A Raisin in the Sun' does a good job as well. It's doesn't beat this movie by acting standards and scene delivery. While, one might label this as a 'black people' movie, I found its subject matter, universal. I think this film dealt with everything any common folk might have to deal with, and that's why I think the movie is so well-made.

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