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Plot:

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?

Also Known As: Herausgefordert West, Nauczyciel z przedmiescia, Al maestro, con cariño, De ustyrlige, De upproriska, Rebelión en las aulas, Les jeunes fauves, Ston kyrio mas me agapi, La scuola della violenza, Tanár úrnak szeretettel, Ao Mestre, com Carinho, Учителю, с любовью Soviet, O Ódio Que Gerou o Amor, Vastahakoiset, Junge Dornen, Den hårde klasse, На учителя, с любов, Al maestro con cariño, Les anges aux poings serrés, Sevgili Ogretmenim, Gospodinu, Sa Ljubavlju, Itsumo kokoro ni taiyô o, To Sir, with Love

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  • matthew-willis
    matthew willis

    I knew that the Australian-born novelist James Clavell also acted as a film scriptwriter, often adapting his own novels, but until I recently watched “To Sir, with Love” I had not realised that he was also a film director. This film, which marks his directing debut, was not based on one of his books but on an autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite. “To Sir, with Love” is, along with “Goodbye Mr Chips”, probably the best-known British entry in the “inspirational teacher” genre, but the two films are very different. Mr Chips was an elderly retired teacher looking back nostalgically at his long career. Mark Thackeray, the hero of this film, is not a career teacher but an unemployed engineer who only applies for a teaching position because he cannot find a job in engineering. Chips taught in a prestigious public school; Thackeray’s job is at a secondary modern in the East End, a deprived working-class area of London.One thing that caused quite a stir in 1967, but which would not do so today, is the fact that Thackeray is black. (He is originally from what the film calls “British Guiana”, although it had become independent as Guyana the previous year). His students are nearly all white, although today virtually all East End schools would have a sizeable number of pupils drawn from the black and other minority ethnic communities. Racial issues, however, play a relatively minor part in the film. One of Thackeray’s less enlightened colleagues makes some insensitive remarks, but apart from that the only real hostility he experiences comes, surprisingly, from the only mixed-race pupil in his class, a boy who identifies as white and resents the way his white mother has been treated by his black father. The film is much more about social class than it is about race. Thackeray takes on the school’s most troublesome class, working-class youngsters with a well-deserved reputation for disruptive behaviour, and teaches them about self-respect by treating them, for the first time in their lives, as responsible adults rather than irresponsible children. In return, Thackeray earns the class’s admiration and realises that he has a vocation as a teacher. The film ends with his rejecting an offer of an engineering job to stay on at the school. Thackeray’s class are all in their final term at school, which in 1967 would have meant that they would have been 14 or 15. (The school leaving age in Britain was 15 until 1972, when it was raised to 16). The actors who play them, however, are all considerably older; Christian Roberts, who plays class ringleader Bert Denham, was 23 when the film was made, and Judy Geeson, who plays his classmate Pamela Dare, was 19. This casting may have been intended to make some of the film’s plot lines more acceptable in the eyes of the public. It is strongly implied that Pamela has a romantic crush on the handsome Thackeray, and such a storyline would have been far more controversial had she actually been played by a 15-year-old actress. Another member of the cast was Lulu, here making her acting debut. She also sang the film’s title song, also known as “To Sir With Love”, which became a huge hit in the American market, much to the surprise of the British. (In Britain it failed to make the Top Ten). Its transatlantic success may have contributed to Lulu concentrating more on singing than on acting in subsequent years; she became one of the most successful British pop acts of the late sixties and seventies, but only acted in a handful of later films, most of them now forgotten. The film’s main drawback is its pervasive sentimentality and its simplistic assumption that all the problems of education in deprived inner-city areas can be overcome simply by drafting in better (by which it means more permissive) teachers. Yet it is saved from a lower mark by the arresting performance of that fine actor Sidney Poitier in the leading role. The plot may seem unrealistic, but Poitier does enough to make his character entirely believable and to make every adult watching the film wish that there had been a Mark Thackeray on the staff of his or her school. 6/10

  • christopher-brandt
    christopher brandt

    Braithwaite was born in Georgetown, Guyana, on June 27, 1912.[1][2] He had a privileged beginning in life; both of his parents went to Oxford University and he describes growing up with education, achievement, and parental pride surrounding him. His father was a gold and diamond miner and his mother was a homemaker.[3] He attended Queen’s College, Guyana, and then the City College of New York (1940). During World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot – he would later describe this experience as one where he had felt no discrimination based on his skin color or ethnicity. He went on to attend the University of Cambridge (1949), from which he earned a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in physics.[4] After the war, despite his extensive training, Braithwaite could not find work in his field and, disillusioned, reluctantly took up a job as a schoolteacher in the East End of London. The book To Sir, With Love (1959) was based on his experiences there.[5][6] It won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.[7] While writing his book about the school, Braithwaite turned to social work and it became his job to find foster homes for non-white children for the London County Council. His experiences resulted in his second novel Paid Servant (1962).Braithwaite’s numerous writings have primarily dealt with the difficulties of being an educated black man, a black social worker, a black teacher, and simply a human being in inhumane circumstances. His best known book, To Sir, With Love, was made into a 1967 film, To Sir, with Love, starring Sidney Poitier, and adapted for Radio 4 in 2007 starring Kwame Kwei-Armah.[8] Paid Servant was dramatized on Radio 4 the following year, again with Kwei-Armah in the lead role. His 1965 novel Choice of Straws was dramatized in Radio 4’s The Saturday Play slot in September 2009.In 1973, the South African ban on Braithwaite’s books was lifted and he reluctantly applied to visit the country. He was granted a visa and the status “honorary white” which gave him significantly more privileges than the indigenous black population, but less than the whites. He recorded the experiences and horror he witnessed during the six weeks he spent in South Africa in Honorary White (London: The Bodley Head, 1975).Braithwaite continued to write novels and short stories throughout his long international career as an educational consultant and lecturer for UNESCO, permanent representative to the United Nations for Guyana, Guyana’s ambassador to Venezuela, and academic. He taught English studies at New York University; in 2002, was writer-in-residence at Howard University, Washington, D.C.; associated himself with Manchester Community College (Connecticut), during the 2005–06 academic year as visiting professor, also serving as commencement speaker and receiving an honorary degree.[9] He turned 100 in June 2012.[10] Braithwaite lived in Washington, D.C..[11] He died on December 12, 2016 at the age of 104.[12]

  • duruk-akar
    duruk akar

    When I was growing up, Julie Andrews and Sidney Poitier were the biggest movie stars in the world. The fact that this movie featured Poitier as a teacher was tailor-made for me and I watched it every time it ran on television, after seeing it in a theatre. The movie has not aged as well as one would have hoped, but it is worth seeing and should be remembered as the fore-runner to “Stand and Deliver” and “Dangerous Minds”, among others. Sidney’s star power helps smooth over some of the rough spots. I always wondered, though – what was it in the furnace that was burning that got him so bothered?

  • nikodem-proc
    nikodem proc

    I finally got around to seeing “To Sir With Love” and thoroughly enjoyed it. “To Sir With Love” has been greatly affected by what I call the “West Side Story Syndrome”, wherein the kids who used to be shocking and menacing are now quaint. It completely changes the emotional impact of the movie. “West Side Story” greatly benefited from the syndrome but “To Sir With Love” mostly suffers from it.When I watched “To Sir With Love,” I had to keep telling myself, “Oh yeah, these are scary kids.” So, when they transform from lowlifes into budding, lovable adults, the emotional impact just wasn’t there. Also lost is the shocking audaciousness of a black man dancing with a white girl. Kudos to James Clavell for daring to do that scene in 1967. It’s something even modern directors shy away from.The lead song by “Lulu” is absolutely terrific except that the movie WAY overplays it. Once at the beginning and once during the dance scene would have been enough. I hope I don’t sound too critical since it really is a good move. Sidney Poitier is in top form and sexy in a way that disappeared soon after 1967. It is also interesting to note that Poetier looks like a real black guy… not the “chocolate with white features” look that later became so popular.

  • bryan-gomes
    bryan gomes

    I have seen this movies at least 50 times since 1967 I know. It’s just one of those movies that you see that you never forget. I have always had great admiration for teachers because I think they have the hardest job in the world. Sidney Poitier is such a great actor that he makes you want to cheer his characters and you believe he is who he is portraying. I still love the theme song and I think it defines the whole movie and makes you want to see it again and again. “How do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume.” Great flick… And of course the dance scene at the end. I still can’t do those moves…

  • vitor-matias
    vitor matias

    Mild account of trained engineer (Portier) taking job as a teacher in troubled East End secondary school in order to make ends meet, who discovers that his greatest fulfilment emanates from the life lessons he’s able to impart on the delinquent and impoverished youth giving them the impetus to strive for a better life. Portier is confronted by the nay-sayers (Bayldon) on staff who’ve temporarily lost the essential attributes of an educator, and the not unexpected behaviour of his wayward charges who indulge in every primitive misdemeanour imaginable. Portier’s decision to approach this challenge by treating the students as young adults and with dignity to which they’re unaccustomed brings welcome relief to all, and ensures Lulu sings the title song at least twice before the film’s end.Geeson is alluring as the temptress on the verge of womanhood with a palpable crush on Portier, while Kendall plays his obliging peer, also enamoured by his chivalrous temperament. Clavell’s film previews a plethora of mature concepts (racism, teenage pregnancy, death, drugs, infidelity, domestic violence) but opts for a neutral postcard rather than engage the characters to any considerable depth. Therefore, while well acted, the overall result is superficial and subdued.Light entertainment, the type of film that would comfortably nestle into school curriculum with the aim of introducing children to the aforementioned themes, but not to canvass them in graphic detail.

  • liliia-iurchishin
    liliia iurchishin

    There are so any things which date this film, you could lose count. Its outlook towards the generation gap, racism, sexism, music and more really do seem preserved in mid-60’s aspic and while it has some vintage charm, it has many more embarrassing aspects of almost look-away gaucheness.In its favour are the exterior London locations, I suppose the feel-good nature of the plot and a mostly watchable star performance by Sidney Poitier as the “Sir” of the title. Supposedly the new teacher at a school for difficult near-adult pupils you too will be amazed at how he tames his class of young hooligans just by throwing away their text books and talking about life.Elsewhere clichés abound, from Poitier’s encounters with the class rebel, who he eventually teaches a lesson in the boxing ring and the class beauty who eventually forms a crush on him, to the unconventional way he gives out lessons. Occasionally the film tries to grow up with some adult-banter on the bus at Poitier’s expense or the strange ritual burning of a sanitary towel in class, but with its largely teenage cast and references to contemporary pop-culture, it seems definitely aimed at the younger movie-goer.Poitier is good right up until he does his silly one-on-one dance with the adoring Julie Christie lookalike Sally Geeson and you feel more could have been made of his relationship with Suzy Kendall as his white, female colleague who offers him support. The young cast of class pupils occasionally turn to wood but a very young Lulu does quite well in concealing her broad Scottish accent and singing the hit title tune.The direction tries to be hip too, never more so than with the photo-montage of the class trip to a museum, but the editing isn’t always clear and you suspect many of the scenes are watered down for the benefit of the censor.Still it was nice to jump into my 60’s time-machine and watch a reasonably entertaining film from that era

  • lars-ullmann
    lars ullmann

    Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) is a black unemployed engineer, born in the English Guyanna and with a simple and humble origin, who accepts to work as a teacher in an English school. Very poor and undisciplined teenagers compose his class and he has lots of difficulties to approach them. In the end, their students consider Mark as their best friend and dedicate him one of the most wonderful songs in the cinema history. Mark finds that his real vocation is being a teacher and gives up the new job as engineer he has just gotten. The first time I watched this movie I was twelve years old, and I went at least three times to the movie theater to see this movie again and again. On video, I probably have watched it at least fifteen times more and I do not get tired of this marvelous story. This wonderful movie is in my top ten films list ever. It is sentimental, touching, maybe silly in the present days, but it is also a reference for other movies about the relationship between teacher and rebel students. Michelle Pfeiffer’s ‘Dangerous Minds’, for example, is an updated copy of this story. The direction and cast have an outstanding performance. My vote is ten.Title (Brazil): “Ao Mestre com Carinho” (“To the Master, with Endearment”)Note: On 14 August 2012, I saw this film again.

  • janice-tran
    janice tran

    I remember how moved I was by this movie the first time I saw it. I still feel the same every time I see it. I enjoy a movie that can take me from tears to laughter almost in the same scene. I only wish I would have had a teacher like Mr. Thackery once in my lifetime. Great Movie!

  • william-vega
    william vega

    Heart warming : full of compassion and good communication that cuts through despair and complacency. Jerks a happy tear. Stunning musical interpretation by Lulu of a clever tune with even more clever lyrics. Despite the 1966 date, the emotion is ageless in reaching out. A MUST SEE for everyone’s movie favorite list.

  • sig-ra-lucrezia-pagano
    sig ra lucrezia pagano

    This film stands as one of my all time favorites. What I love about it is its simplicity. I just gets my heart. I can’t tell you how great a feeling it is to enjoy a great screenplay, devoid of ridiculous 90’s special effects. There’s no Bruce Willis with an oversized machine gun improbably hosing down 37 ninjas. It’s a story from the heart brought to the screen crisply and cleanly. The cinematography is that fantastic semi-gritty 60’s style, coupled with an amazing amount of deep-focus shots a la Citizen Kane (watch for them!). Make no mistake about it, this is not at all shot like a made for TV movie, the shooting is fresh and the editing subtly evocative. In short, it’s not canned Hollywood garbage.Regrettably, there seems to be a shortage of this type of film, and I dare say that kids today are probably unfamiliar and unable to appreciate this type of product. Why do I think this? Maybe those kids are raised with the non-stop accompaniment of digital effects in every commercial and tv shows and would frankly not have the patience or introspection necessary to enjoy the film. Maybe they see it strictly as a 1967 period piece, which it isn’t, because they lack a real understanding of how fine stories and emotions can be told in any time period. Anyhow, what a great movie.

  • michael-graves
    michael graves

    A graduate engineer Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) can’t find a job in his field of expertise so applies for a job as a teacher at an East End school in London. The school administration is virtually non-existent and the students a bunch of noisy and unruly teenagers completely out of control. Desperate for a job Mark accepts the position. His first confrontation with the students augurs a life of misery and disappointment for him. They are a disrespectful and cheeky lot who make snide remarks about the fact that he is black.While the other teachers have given up all hope, Mark after careful thought decides on a new psychological approach believing that if he treats them like adults they may respond in a similar way. The main interest in this film is observing the slow but positive transformation of each of the students.Sidney Poitier is at his finest as the teacher who grapples with the multitude of problems that each day brings. The characters in the schoolroom played by a young cast give great support as their cruel attitudes towards their teacher melt into respectful admiration.There are two scenes in the film which are particularly moving. The first is the arrival of a letter indicating he has at last gained a new job as engineer and the second is the day he receives a present from the East End kids the product of broken homes in London.This film is highly recommended for those contemplating school teaching as a career. Only a brave person could face a class like that, but if and when the class is tamed and brought to a respectful conclusion, what better reward than that? Highly recommended but tissues may be needed.

  • michelle-anderson
    michelle anderson

    Channel Five just showed this film, and I’m so glad. I’m 58 and left school, which was changing as I left it in 1966.. and this film IS how it was at that time. The coloured teacher, well, we had coloured pupils at my school and thought nothing of it. American of course, far more sensitive.. but THIS IS how it was then. We had the young delinquents, looked upon as heroes by the less educated, we had mixed classes and never gave the girls a lot of thought at that age, respect, yes.. and the characters in this film ARE how things were. How many more times am I going to say that. The class rooms, the teaching staff, yes yes and yes again. I’d forgotten a lot of this film, and it captivated me. Its a LOST time.. it was a good, fairly innocent time, pregnancy WAS a no no.. WE didn’t do those thing YET.. but girls older than their time came a cropper. WE DID form a relationship with our teachers and one I mer later in my career said the mid 60’s WAS the last of the ‘family’ class feeling. It all changed after that. The system was changing so THIS FILM.. is a lovely reminder of how it was. Judy was ALWAYS gorgeous.. HOW can anyone be that lovely.. it just WORKS. YES WHAT was in this stove.. I didn’t get it either. And the end.. WILL HE WONT HE.. hes reminded of the challenges hes already met and conquered.. I cant praise this too highly. 60’s London life IS HERE.. Lulu deserved her hit.. and the other young stars DID go forward. WHY didn’t all these films of the mid 60’s come out?? STILL many not.. WHY NOT.. we NEED the feel good NOW… Smashin Time..Mulberry Bush.. COME ON..

  • euthumios-nikoules
    euthumios nikoules

    Sidney Poitier, doing just fine as usual, is a teacher assigned to a rough gang of kids in an Enblish working-class school. They hate him. Not because he’s black, though that fact figures in a few off-hand insults, but because he’s a toff. He speaks proper English and dresses in suits and ties and he knows stuff — like the girls’ bouffant hair styles are 2,000 years old. He takes them to museums to prove it. He shows them that there’s more to a salad than just a couple of leaves of wilted lettuce, which is an advance over the culinary skills of my ex spouse. I once tried to show her how to boil an egg. The resulting scuffle became a scandal but I thought Fox News went a little too far in labeling it “Hard-Boiled-Egg-Gate”.These ructious British kids are user friendly. Not like Poitier’s earlier effort, “Blackboard Jungle,” where they threw baseballs at the teacher and beat hell out of him in an alley. Here, their English equivalents are just noisy and irreverent. Potier straightens them out in the course of the film. One of the students, the delectable blond Judy Geeson, develops a crush on him, but the suave, knowing, and sympathetic teacher knows how to solve that problem too. “Turn him to any cause of policy, The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose, Familiar as his garter” The film oozes a savory sentimentality. It’s like a fairy tale with a happy ending. The best part is that we know the happy ending is coming, so we can allow ourselves an anxiety jag, as if we weren’t quite sure. Watching the kids mature under “Sir’s” guidance is like attending a religious ritual, a fixed point in a changing and disappointing universe. And what a climax — with Poitier and the adoring Judy Geeson dancing 1960’s style to the theme song.The theme song, “To Sir, With Love,” by I guess Ron Grainer, was a popular tune on the period hit parade. At the time it was just another pop tune. But listening to it today, the inventiveness of the melody, the intricate rhyming lyrics, the purity and clarity of the vocalist’s voice — she seems to have flawless control over her slow vibrato — it just rouses our awareness of the decline in vernacular music since then, unless you can’t get enough of electronic percussion, anger, and rhymes that don’t quite rhyme.Sure, the film is laden with devices that are designed to engage the viewer’s emotions. But at least the emotions are among those that have traditionally been considered positive. If it were remade today, I wonder if the students would turn out to be vampires, invade Poitier’s home, wrench off his head, and suck the blood out of his neck cavity with straws. God, we’ve become desensitized to the point of insensibility.

  • jesus-schneider
    jesus schneider

    A new teacher arrives at a tough inner city school populated by teenage hooligans . Hardly a new concept for a movie is it ? , but TO SIR WITH LOVE is slightly different from the same type of film made in the 1980s and 90s , it`s set in swinging sixties London when Britannia really was cool , and the kids are ” Cor blimey guvner ” cockney kids who are not really bad , they`re just misunderstood and if you treat them as adults they`ll behave like adults . This is a totally naive , predictable film with an extremely progressive streak but that`s what I enjoyed about it as Mark Thackeray shows the kids what being an adult is all about . There`s not a cynical bone in this movie`s body , and it`s good to remember a time when a ” really tough ” school meant pupils talking in class and slamming doors

  • kristin-winters
    kristin winters

    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I can honestly say that it helped to inspire me to become a school teacher, because of the influence that one can have on the lives of young students. In this sense, this movie is probably the one that had the most profound effect on my life…

  • viktor-at-anaginyan
    viktor at anaginyan

    As one of the movies (along with “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”) that made 1967 Sidney Poitier’s annus mirabilis, “To Sir, with Love” shows a man forced to take charge in a less-than-pleasant situation. Poitier plays Mark Thackeray, a Guyanese engineer hired to teach in a high school in a rough London neighborhood. The students not only have little interest in school, but are not quite ready to be taught by a black man. Mark is forced to show the students that he will not tolerate insubordination.Poitier did great in this role, with good support from the rest of the cast (including Lulu, who sang the theme song). It affirms his status as one of the greatest actors in movie history. And also, I hope that nobody tries to compare this with “Dangerous Minds”; the latter was in my opinion an insult. “To Sir, with Love” was a masterpiece.

  • margaret-higgins
    margaret higgins

    Novice teacher, Mark Thackeray, arrives at a secondary school in a depressed area of London’s East End and transforms a class of jeuvenile delinquents into a group of responsible, mature and caring young people, confounding his critics amongst the jaundiced teaching staff.From the very beginning, members of the class try to bait him into losing his temper so that he’ll quit. Their previous teacher committed suicide, we are told. Gradually, he gains their trust and helps them overcome their personal struggles, thus winning their respect and friendship.Its a slice of sixties social idealism that may appear dated and oversentimental to some, but it loses none of its sincerity or good intentions. The book by E.R. Braithwaite was based on his own real life experiences in the 1950’s. Once again, James Clavell displays his winning touch with the screenplay and direction. The role of Thackeray had strong appeal to Sidney Poitiers for its portrayal of African-American characters as responsible role-models, a theme common to many of his films. There is a notable screen debut for Judy Geeson who went onto become one of the most fashionable jeuvenile actresses of the late 1960’s. With a schoolgirl crush, she competes with beautiful teacher Suzy Kendall for the attentions of Thackeray.The films sound-track provides good material for another debutante, Lulu, who sings the main title. It went onto become the top-selling record in the U.S. for 1967, but inexplicably, was never released in the U.K. as a single. The lyrics are provided by the highly talented Don Black who had also written the themes to ‘Born Free’ and ‘The Italian Job’ as well as collaborating with John Barry on three of the James Bond Films of that period. The backing group are The Mindbenders who provide the school band sound. They had a U.K. No.2 in the charts at the time with ‘A Groovy Kind of Love’ and in collaboration with Wayne Fontana, a U.S. No.1 with ‘Game of Love’ the previous year.The recently released DVD provides a good quality print of this thoroughly enjoyable film and is well worth viewing. I give it ten out of ten.

  • pani-marta-zharko
    pani marta zharko

    The first time I had watched TSWL, I was probably about 14, but not from the era the film is from. None the less, I found it fascinating, poignant, funny at times, and warm. The funny thing is that while the clothes, music and styles may change, the feelings we have are common and do not change much over the years. Kids rebel, test and resist authority, and push the rules. We’ve all done it in some way or another. I smoked cigs, drank beer and had long hair. Others hung-out with the wrong crowd, drank beer or skipped class. TSWL as is “The Blackboard Jungle” are dated today, but so are “Class of 1984” and “Stand and Deliver”, but they all share the same premise, emotions and struggles. If a movie can convey them honestly, as does “To Sir, with Love”, then it deserves recognition. I always like to watch TSWL, it does make you feel good in the long run. Even after all your disobedience at school, most of us grew up and realized the importance of what we had learned and were now sad to leave the memories, friends and teachers. I think we also realize that we are also leaving a young version of us behind and it’s sad to let that childlike version go. It’s time to start growing up.

  • richard-daniel
    richard daniel

    Rent this movie. Don’t read any reviews of it, just go out and rent it.It’s one of the best movies of the last forty years, and Sidney Poitier is just beautiful in it. The movie glows, has a soul even, and actually dares to say something of value. I wish they made more movies like this today! Just a gorgeous movie going experience……..

  • ronni-jeppesen
    ronni jeppesen

    Sidney Poitier’s exceptional lead performance anchors this touching film about that special person who changes your life. As the first time teacher to a group of undisciplined British youth, Poitier is in virtually every frame of this picture. It is a role that calls for a high degree of character development, and Poitier meets and expands the challenge by totally inhabiting the character he is playing. I honestly cannot think of any way his performance could be better, and this is a huge compliment for any actor – even one of Mr. Poitier’s immense talents.While not in the same league, the young cast of then-unknowns also perform quite well. Particularly effective of the young cast members is fresh-faced Judy Geeson, who brings unexpected depth to the stereotypical role of the young schoolgirl love-struck over Mr. Poitier (who could blame her). Director/writer/producer James Clavell avoids over-sentimentalization by inject his well-written script with a healthy dose of realism. The film may not be particularly striking, in the visual sense, but Clavell is a perfectly competent film maker, and his love of the material is evident throughout the entire picture.

  • eric-schmidt-jr
    eric schmidt jr

    Sidney Poitier is absolutely superb in this film about a novice teacher who prepares a class of uncouth youths for adulthood. There are too many wonderful scenes to catalogue in this commentary but among the highlights are: his reaction to the naughty chatter of the ladies on the bus, his coping with the young lady who has a crush on him, and his complicated relationship with the stiffnecked rebel of the class. There are so many positive messages imparted in this film and they come across without being heavy-handed. Highly recommended, 9/10.

  • samuli-rintala-toivonen
    samuli rintala toivonen

    The school movie against which all other school movies are measured. Sidney Poitier was on a roll in 1966-67(A PATCH OF BLUE, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT)and TO SIR, WITH LOVE crowned that succession of great films. Poitier’s Thackery is meticulous and elegant, something of a revelation to the unwashed juvenile deliquents and teen sluts who populate his class. Yet this unemployed engineer has his work cut out for him, as his motley crew will try just about anything(including burning tampons in the classroom stove!)to run him off. Instead of exploding like the kids wish, Thackery takes a different tack; treating them like adults and talking about things they have questions about. The ploy works, and along the way Thackery learns to deal with indifferent fellow teachers, racism, lovestruck female students, and a hard decision that will determine his future . . . A great inspirational movie, TO SIR, WITH LOVE also boasts British songstress Lulu in her first film role, as well as prominent soundtrack artist(The Mindbenders are the others). The process by which Thackery molds these wild, rebellious teens into mature and thoughtful adults–and the teens’ resulting respect for Thackery, quite possibly the first respect they’ve ever felt for an adult–is touching. Definitely a classic film worth seeing.

  • cathy-ware
    cathy ware

    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?

  • romano-strbac
    romano strbac

    This movie is about many things – teen angst, race relations, and poverty. But what it’s *really* about is teased hair, heavy eyeliner and miniskirts. And the title song, of course. Who could ever forget the gushing sentimentality of Lulu warbling about crayons and perfume? It is a charmer of a movie with life breathed into it by a fresh cast of young Brits. Released at a time when the world was captivated by all things British, it was relatively daring at the time it was made. A low-budget film that raked it in at the box office, Poitier, as in *Lilies of the Field*, wisely accepted a low salary in exchange for a share of the profits. But the biggest profit of all is his portrayal of the East End school teacher, Mark Thackery, who quickly learns that his students need a different kind of education than that of a textbook. It has been, unfairly or not, relentlessly compared to *The Blackboard Jungle*, and it is a blood-relation to *Up the Down Staircase* and *Dangerous Minds*. But none of them have the sweetness of Judy Geeson, as Thackery’s irrepressible student Pamela Dare. At the end of the movie, when Thackery and Dare dance together, racial, social and philosophical barriers are smashed, and hope springs eternal.