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To Sir, with Love (1967)

Not Rated | | Drama | 14 June 1967 (USA)
Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London's East End.

Director:

James Clavell

Writers:

E.R. Braithwaite (novel), James Clavell (written for the screen by)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Poitier ... Mark Thackeray
Christian Roberts ... Denham
Judy Geeson ... Pamela Dare
Suzy Kendall ... Gillian Blanchard
Ann Bell ... Mrs. Dare
Geoffrey Bayldon ... Theo Weston
Faith Brook ... Grace Evans
Patricia Routledge ... Clinty Clintridge
Chris Chittell ... Potter (as Christopher Chittell)
Adrienne Posta ... Moira Joseph
Edward Burnham ... Florian
Rita Webb Rita Webb ... Mrs. Joseph
Fiona Duncan Fiona Duncan ... Euphemia Phillips
Fred Griffiths Fred Griffiths ... Mr. Clark
Mona Bruce Mona Bruce ... Josie Dawes
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Storyline

Engineer Mark Thackeray arrives to teach a totally undisciplined class at an East End school. Still hoping for a good engineering job, he's hopeful that he won't be there long. He starts implementing his own brand of classroom discipline: forcing the pupils to treat each other with respect. Inevitably he begins getting involved in the students' personal lives, and must avoid the advances of an amorous student while winning over the class tough. What will he decide when the engineering job comes through? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story as fresh as the girls in their minis. . .and as tough as the kids from London's East End! [UK Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al maestro con cariño See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$640,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$42,432,803
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film was held from release for more than a year until Columbia Pictures decided to open it in Westwood, California in the summer of 1967, where it really broke through. See more »

Goofs

The band plays a song at the end with an audible tambourine, but there is no-one on stage with a tambourine. See more »

Quotes

Barbara Pegg: Who does he think he is there? Cheeky devil.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the end credits, Michael Des Barres name is misspelled as "Micheal." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: To Surveil, with Love (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Stealing My Love From Me
Lyrics & Music by Mark London (as Marc London)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Underrated Poitier Vehicle
17 October 1999 | by The_Movie_CatSee all my reviews

Recorded on a budget of just $640,000, To Sir, With Love was drafted, as with Lilies of the Field, to give Sidney a share of the gross profits to account for his diminished fee. Writer-director Clavell also received the same arrangement, a writer who was chosen for his love of the source material. The rights to the source, an identically-named novel by E. R. Braithwaite, had passed from studio to studio, and been offered to numerous stars before finally getting the green light when in the hands of Columbia President Mike Frankovich.

Poitier noted in his autobiography the similarities in terms of racial issues between America and England. Filmed in London, the picture featured a number of minorities, many of whom, he observed, would be unable to find work outside of the confines of the movie. However, for his time spent with the cast, he was delighted with their company. Sidney played Mark Thackeray, one of his most famous characters, an engineer taking a teaching post as a stopgap between jobs. Eventually the relationship he develops with the students causes him to question his loyalty to the profession.

To Sir, With Love is often frowned upon nowadays due to its sentimentality. While not wholly condemned as a film, it is certainly regarded as the poor relation of Poitier's three 1967 works. This is an unfair assessment of a movie that commits the only crime of having its heart on its sleeve. And, though the late sixties would see an increase in the political situation, To Sir, With Love was the only one of the three Poitier vehicles that year that did not rely upon his colour for its subtext. Instead, a few bigoted remarks were inserted, largely from a fellow teacher (Geoffrey Bayldon as Mr. Weston) than the pupils. Compared to his other overshadowing works that year, direction paled, too, the camera-work at times almost static. However, the scope for Poitier as an actor was broader than in the other '67 roles, and certainly broader than in the 1996 TV sequel. Where there the plot would be propelled largely by one pupil, here multiple characters would be guided through numerous situations over an entire term period. Over the course of the lengthy film the viewer can feel as though they have experienced the timescale too. And who would argue that the sheer amount of silly moves Sidney and Judy Geeson perform in the final ball didn't directly influence Travolta and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction?


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