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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4,180 ( 474)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 18 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

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #959. See more »

Goofs

In the final confrontation between the townspeople and Tibbs out side Mrs. Bellamy's store, the tough in the blue shirt behind and to the left of Purdy alternates between holding brass knuckles and holding/drinking from a small bottle of alcohol. 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

Remade as In the Heat of the Night (1988) 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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User Reviews

 
Genuinely Shocking but no Surprise...
29 June 2020 | by XstalSee all my reviews

Outstanding performances from Poitier & Steiger in a film that's genuinely shocking once you consider the prejudice and evil it contains, even more so when you witness those same traits in society over 50 years later. Will we ever learn!


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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
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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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