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

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 12 December 1967 (USA)
Trailer
2:39 | Trailer
A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Director:

Stanley Kramer

Writer:

William Rose
Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Matt Drayton
Sidney Poitier ... John Prentice
Katharine Hepburn ... Christina Drayton
Katharine Houghton ... Joey Drayton
Cecil Kellaway ... Monsignor Ryan
Beah Richards ... Mrs. Prentice
Roy Glenn ... Mr. Prentice (as Roy E. Glenn Sr.)
Isabel Sanford ... Tillie (as Isabell Sanford)
Virginia Christine ... Hilary St. George
Alexandra Hay Alexandra Hay ... Carhop
Barbara Randolph ... Dorothy
D'Urville Martin ... Frankie
Tom Heaton ... Peter
Grace Gaynor 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:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 December 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$56,666,667

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$56,666,667
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to Spencer Tracy's health, the cast was always working from two shooting scripts, one with Tracy, one without. Typically, Katharine Hepburn brought Tracy in the morning, they worked until she decided he was too tired, then Tracy and Hepburn left. Sidney Poitier, who already had received a Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field (1963), was intimidated by working with two legends, and preferred to perform to empty high backed chairs. See more »

Goofs

The way John hold/talks on the phone with his father while inviting him to dinner is inconsistent between shots. 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 »

Alternate Versions

When Monsignor Ryan is added to the guest list, Joey goes to tell Tillie. Joey asks "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" and Tillie replies "Reverend Martin Luther King". Following the assassination of King, this was removed - Joey says she'll tell Tillie but we see nothing more. Several months later, this gag was restored. See more »

Connections

References The Defiant Ones (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Glory of Love
(1936)
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

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User Reviews

 
Liberal Angst over Interractial Relationship in the 1960s
7 May 2005 | by oneflighthoopSee 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.


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