7.9/10
68,295
235 user 93 critic

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 2 August 1967 (USA)
Trailer
2:46 | Trailer
A black police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director:

Norman Jewison

Writers:

Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), John Ball (based on a novel by)
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Popularity
2,755 ( 593)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Poitier ... Det. Virgil Tibbs
Rod Steiger ... Chief Bill Gillespie
Warren Oates ... Officer Sam Wood
Lee Grant ... Mrs. Colbert
Larry Gates ... Eric Endicott
James Patterson ... Mr. Purdy
William Schallert ... Mayor Schubert
Beah Richards ... Mama Caleba
Peter Whitney ... Courtney
Kermit Murdock ... Henderson
Larry D. Mann ... Watkins
Matt Clark ... Packy Harrison
Arthur Malet ... Ulam
Fred Stewart ... Dr. Stuart
Quentin Dean ... Delores Purdy
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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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rod Steiger received directions to base his performance as Sheriff Bill Gillespie on The Dodge Sheriff, a popular cultural icon and corporate spokesperson for Dodge automobiles. The Dodge Sheriff was a stereotypical southern Sheriff used in an array of advertisements in the 1960s. Steiger took the advice, although he greatly toned down the comedic aspects of the character. See more »

Goofs

The lyrics to the song Sam listens to on his transistor radio describe a bow-legged Polly and a knock-kneed Paul not being able to get together, yet anatomically these would in fact be ideal physical characteristics for a guy and a gal to "get together". 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 The Boondocks: The Garden Party (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

It Sure Is Groovy!
(uncredited)
Music by Quincy Jones
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by Gil Bernal
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User Reviews

 
Well-Crafted Murder Mystery With A Twist
3 December 2006 | by ReelCheeseSee 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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In the Heat of the Night See more »

Filming Locations:

Belleville, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,669
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Sound)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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