8.0/10
47,179
167 user 76 critic

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 14 October 1967 (Japan)
An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on a novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
2,340 ( 1,163)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 5 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A naive hustler goes to New York to seek personal fortune but in the process finds himself a new friend.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Patton (1970)
Certificate: GP Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr
Marty (1955)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A middle-aged butcher and a school teacher who have given up on the idea of love, meet at a dance and fall in love.

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
In the Heat of the Night (1988–1995)
Drama | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The cases and adventures of the police forces in and around Sparta, Mississippi.

Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Alan Autry, David Hart
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Larry Gates ...
Endicott
James Patterson ...
...
Mayor Schubert
...
Mama Caleba
Peter Whitney ...
Courtney
Kermit Murdock ...
Henderson
Larry D. Mann ...
Watkins
...
Packy
...
Ulam
Fred Stewart ...
Dr. Stuart
Quentin Dean ...
Delores
Edit

Storyline

Detective Virgil Tibbs is caught up in the racial tension of the US South when he is arrested after the murder of a prominent businessman. Tibbs was simply waiting for his next train at the station in Sparta, Mississippi and the confusion is soon resolved but when local police chief Gillespie learns that Tibbs is the Philadelphia PD's number one homicide expert, he reluctantly asks for his assistance. The murdered man, Mr. Colbert, had come to Sparta from the North to build a new factory and his wife and business associates immediately point the finger at Endicott, the most powerful man in the county and the one who had the most to lose if a major new employer comes to the area. Tibbs' life is clearly in danger but he perseveres in a highly charged and racially explosive environment until the killer is found. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're going to pin something on that smart cop from Philidelphia . . . maybe a medal . . . maybe a murder! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1967 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Al calor de la noche  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Norman Jewison and his editor Hal Ashby attended a sneak preview for the film, they found that the young audience was laughing uproariously at the dialogue. Although Jewison was upset that his dramatic film was not being taken seriously, Ashby assured him that the audience was laughing in approval of the southern sheriff being put in his place by the confident and urbane Det. Virgil Tibbs. Jewison did not agree until the film got to the famous slapping scene; when the white audience was stunned at seeing an African American man physically fight back against a white man for the first time in a modern mainstream American film, Jewison was convinced the film was effective as drama. See more »

Goofs

When Det. Virgil Tibbs is at the train station, and Police Chief Bill Gillespie comes back to get him, in the wide shot there is a dog slinking along the building. When they close in, the dog is gone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ofcr. Sam Wood: Where you keeping the pie tonight?
Ralph Henshaw, diner counterman: I ate the last piece just before you came in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

No uppercase ("capital") letters are used in the opening and closing credits, including the film's title, cast and characters, crew and job titles, and company credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Doctor Who: The Web of Fear: Episode 6 (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Heat of the Night
Music by Quincy Jones (uncredited)
Lyrics by Alan Bergman (uncredited) and Marilyn Bergman (uncredited)
Sung by Ray Charles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Through The Mississippi Darkness
3 January 2008 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Gritty realism and a strong performance by Rod Steiger rev up the technical quality of this taut drama about a visiting Northern Black detective named Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) who gets nailed as a suspect, foolishly, in the murder of a local VIP, in a small town in Mississippi. Eventually, the town's White police chief, the gum chewing Gillespie (Rod Steiger), accepts Tibbs' innocence. And the two of them then work together, reluctantly, to solve the case.

Forty years after the film was made, the racial themes seem just a tad heavy-handed. Whites are always backward and racist. And Tibbs is smart, urbane, and sophisticated. But back in the 1960s, the filmmaker probably did need to be blunt. And the point is made that Blacks and Whites, working together, can accomplish worthy aims, even though old Black Joe is still pickin' cotton at the Endicott Cotton Company.

As a whodunit, the story is fairly good, convenient coincidences notwithstanding. The clue to the killer's identity is pleasantly subtle.

The film's cinematography and production design are terrific. Many scenes take place at night. And the opaque lighting makes for a moody, slightly dangerous look and feel. Loved how they photographed that train moving down the tracks in the Mississippi darkness, a metaphor related to the film's theme. And the sound of a train whistle adds to the mournful realism.

Interiors look authentic. The masking tape that covers rips in a big leather chair in Gillespie's shabby office is so true to life. A single white light bulb hangs down from the ceiling in a small neighborhood grocery store, where the shelves are filled with empty fruit jars. And that greasy spoon called Comptons reeks of 1960's Southern rural reality.

My only complaint with this film is the background music. Some of the jukebox songs are not consistent with the film's overall tone.

"In The Heat Of The Night" is a technically well made, and quite interesting, murder mystery. Yet, it will always be remembered, rightfully, as the film that offered hope of racial harmony, during a decade in which there was none. Its "Best Picture" Oscar award is thus explained.


25 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
homosexual overtones?? terref
Where did Portier go after this film? kag2-1
Endicott's servant fnj2002
How Did Ralph Get Back To Work? smitovsky
Lee Grant's hair vikkisings
Tibb's Chief in Philadelphia santo1967
Discuss In the Heat of the Night (1967) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?