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In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  14 October 1967 (Japan)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 46,152 users  
Reviews: 167 user | 76 critic

An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.



(screenplay), (based on a novel by)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Colbert
Larry Gates ...
James Patterson ...
Mayor Schubert
Mama Caleba
Peter Whitney ...
Kermit Murdock ...
Larry D. Mann ...
Fred Stewart ...
Dr. Stuart
Quentin Dean ...


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


They call me Mister Tibbs See more »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 October 1967 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Al calor de la noche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie's line "They call me Mister Tibbs!" was voted as the #76 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007. See more »


The action is set in the heat of a Mississippi summer, but cotton pickers toil in the fields. That's done in late fall, never in the summer. See more »


[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 »


Featured in The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006) See more »


Foul Owl on the Prowl
Music by Quincy Jones
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by Owens Boomer Castleman and Michael Martin Murphey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well-Crafted Murder Mystery With A Twist
3 December 2006 | by (Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT is a well-crafted murder mystery with a twist. Sidney Poitier is a big city detective wrongfully arrested by a racist small police detachment after the brutal murder of the town's would-be financial savior. Once the matter is resolved and Poitier released, he finds himself aiding his former captors, including Police Chief Rod Steiger, in their quest to get to the bottom of the crime.

An Academy Award winner for Best Picture, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT works on so many levels. It's a solid, unpredictable whodunit with beautiful cinematography and crisp direction from Norman Jewison. All the actors are on top of their games, particularly Steiger, whose not-entirely-likable chief gradually looks past his prejudices to warm up to Poitier. Poitier is his usual superb self, once again maintaining his vast dignity as the target of bigotry, much like he did in THE DEFIANT ONES.

And like THE DEFIANT ONES, a key theme in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT is racism. In fact the racism on display here is so fierce and perverse that it's almost hard to believe (though I'm sure it didn't stretch a thing). You can't help but feel an emotional attachment to Poitier as he's subjected to taunts, attempted attacks, and off-color remarks from those who either don't realize the power of their words or don't care. Poitier proves again why he is perhaps the finest African-American actor ever to grace the screen.

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT is one of those movies that, while not perfect, is impossible to dislike. It's classic, though still relevant, entertainment.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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