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In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 25 October 1967 (Argentina)
An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

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(screenplay), (based on a novel by)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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James Patterson ...
Mr. Purdy
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...
Mama Caleba
...
Courtney
Kermit Murdock ...
Henderson
...
Watkins
...
Packy
...
Ulam
...
Dr. Stuart
Quentin Dean ...
Delores
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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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 1967 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Al calor de la noche  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$24,379,978
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 the Chief and Tibbs are at the Endicott house, the shadows on the large windows to the right of the front door change dramatically between each shot; even though they're only there for about five minutes. 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.
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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 Sausage Party (2016) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Once timely, now timeless
23 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

One of the great films of the 60s, "In the Heat of the Night" hasn't aged a bit in the four decades since its release and now deserves to be ranked with the great films of all time. Beautifully atmospheric, Haskell Wexler's brilliant cinematography and Norman Jewison's first rate direction make you feel the humidity of the small Mississippi town in which a black detective teams with the redneck sheriff to solve the murder of an important industrialist.

As sheriff Bill Gillespie, Rod Steiger is superb in his Oscar winning role, and this film provides Sidney Poitier with some of his greatest screen moments, including his famous admonition to Steiger that became the title of the less impressive 1970 spin off: "They call me MISTER Tibbs!"

This is one of the few politically correct films to make its point without resorting to heavy-handed, sanctimonious preaching. Stirling Silliphant's Oscar winning screenplay never hits a false note, and the change that occurs in the relationship between the leading characters is subtle, and, therefore, believable. The two stars are ably supported by an outstanding cast of both veterans (Lee Grant, Warren Oates, Beah Richards) and newcomers (Scott Wilson, Quentin Dean, and the delightfully creepy Anthony James). The score by Quincy Jones, featuring Ray Charles' rendition of the title song, captures the proper mood throughout.

In a year when the odds-makers were predicting an Oscar victory for "Bonnie and Clyde" or "The Graduate," "In the Heat of the Night" surprised the prognosticators by taking the Best Picture prize and four other Oscars. Considering its theme of racial tolerance, it seemed an appropriate choice at an Oscar ceremony that was postponed following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The film's theme made it timely, but its artistry makes it timeless.

The Academy made the right choice.

Brian W. Fairbanks


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