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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

 -  Drama  -  12 December 1967 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 23,217 users  
Reviews: 272 user | 52 critic

Matt and Christina Drayton are a couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancé who is black.

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Title: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Roy Glenn ...
Mr. Prentice (as Roy E. Glenn Sr.)
...
Tillie (as Isabell Sanford)
Virginia Christine ...
Alexandra Hay ...
Barbara Randolph ...
Dorothy
D'Urville Martin ...
Frankie
Tom Heaton ...
Peter
Grace Gaynor ...
Judith
Skip Martin ...
Delivery Boy
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Storyline

After a period of vacation in Hawaii, Joanna "Joey" Drayton returns to her parents' home in San Francisco bringing her fiancé, the high-qualified Dr. John Prentice, to introduce him to her mother Christina Drayton that owns an art gallery and her father Matt Drayton that is the publisher editor of the newspaper The Guardian. Joey was raised with a liberal education and intends to get married with Dr. John Prentice that is a black widower and needs to fly on that night to Geneva to work with the World Health Organization. Joey invites John's parents Mr. Prentice and Mrs. Prentice to have dinner with her family and the couple flies from Los Angeles to San Francisco without knowing that Joey is white. Christina invites also the liberal Monsignor Ryan, who is friend of her family. Along the day and night, the families discuss the problems of their son and daughter. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

a love story of today

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rat mal, wer zum Essen kommt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$56,700,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Like Katharine Hepburn, the film's producer and director Stanley Kramer also put his salary in escrow as backing in order to placate the studio who was nervous about having Spencer Tracy star due to his poor health. See more »

Goofs

Just before Drayton crashes his car into Frankie's, the dent on the side of Frankie's car is already present. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John: You know, I just had a thought. Why don't I go check into a hotel and get some rest, and you go find your folks?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Brothers Garcia: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Glory of Love
(1936)
Written by Billy Hill
Sung by Jacqueline Fontaine at the restaurant
Sung offscreen by a chorus during opening and closing credits
Played in the score often
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Liberal Angst over Interractial Relationship in the 1960s
7 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner takes place during the course of one day as two families struggle to overcome their concerns about the interracial marriage of their children. This film is a treat for the eyes with lovely sets and beautiful people. It also has a nice 1960's feel that is reinforced by sophisticated wardrobing and an "easy listening" soundtrack--featuring The Glory of Love as the signature tune. The film relies very heavily on the use of dialog and reflects the elegance of a time when people were entertained by stimulating conversation. The San Francisco backdrop also is the perfect setting for a movie that challenged racial convention.

But there are a few serious flaws. This is an introductory role for Katharine Houghton (Hepburn's niece) who plays Sidney Portier's fiancé--Johanna Drayton. Her inexperience is apparent, particularly in comparison to heavyweights Portier, Tracy and Hepburn and as a result, she is unconvincing in the part. Moreover, her character is not well-written or well-developed which makes it difficult to understand why Sidney Portier's character--John Prentice-would fall in love with a woman who appears to have so little to offer intellectually --given his significant professional achievements as a doctor. One also must ask why it was necessary for his character to be cast as a doctor in order to be seen as an acceptable partner for a young white woman who had not really accomplished anything accept being born into a privileged family. The answer is simple. Making Prentice a doctor-and not just any doctor-but a world renowned expert in tropical medicine, made the interracial relationship more acceptable to white audiences during the 1960s.

The other cast members are outstanding and the on-screen chemistry phenomenal. Katharine Hepburn (Christina Drayton) and Spencer Tracy (Newspaper Publisher Matt Drayton) deliver brilliant performances as Johanna's parents. John Prentice's modest working class parents are played with great dignity by Beah Richards and Roy E. Glen. Mrs. Prentice and Mrs. Drayton favor the marriage and both characters provide passionate, articulate arguments as to why their husbands should agree. But their husbands voice serious objections and the families spend the evening in intense discussions over the issue, accurately reflecting the racial fears that existed 40 years ago. Prentice's father reminds him that in many states interracial marriage is illegal and that he is "getting out of line." There are also a number of very memorable and funny lines. In the scene in which Matt Drayton wonders why "the colored kids dance better than the white kids", Portier's response is classic--"you dance the Watusi, but we are the Watusi!"(For readers under 40, the Watusi was a popular dance in the 1960s and also an African tribe). Cecil Kelloway, who plays friend of the family, Monsignor Ryan, deftly brings a sense of humor and moral guidance that is effective because it is not "preachy". He challenges Matt Drayton's liberal credentials and suggests that Drayton's misgivings about his daughter marrying a black man reveal his hypocrisy. Isabel Sanford ("Weezy from The Jeffersons TV program) plays the feisty maid of the Draytons.

It's been said that in the final scene Tracy--who was very ill at the time and who died shortly after the movie was completed--delivered one of the longest soliloquies in American film history, in only one take. Katherine Helpurn was clearly so moved by the scene that it's hard to believe that she is just acting as her eyes brim with tears.

Although the some of the sentiments are dated, this film is highly entertaining, and provides a rare opportunity to experience outstanding performances from six gifted actors who bring compassion and depth to Stanley Kramer's film. Its' angst relative to interracial marriage also reminds us of how far we have not come.


32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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