A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun

Directed by Daniel Petrie • 1961 • United States
Starring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee

Lorraine Hansberry’s immortal “A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play by a black woman to be performed on Broadway. Two years later, the production came to the screen, directed by Daniel Petrie. The original stars—including Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee—reprise their roles as members of an African American family living in a cramped Chicago apartment, in this deeply resonant tale of dreams deferred. The Youngers await a life-insurance check they hope will change their circumstances, but tensions arise over how to use the money. Vividly rendering Hansberry’s sharp observations on generational conflict and housing discrimination, Petrie’s film captures the high stakes, shifting currents, and varieties of experience within black life in midcentury America.

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A Raisin in the Sun
  • A Raisin in the Sun

    Directed by Daniel Petrie • 1961 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee

    Lorraine Hansberry’s immortal “A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play by a black woman to be performed on Broadway. Two years later, the production came to the screen, directed by Daniel Petrie. T...

Extras

  • Lorraine Hansberry on A RAISIN IN THE SUN

    When Lorraine Hansberry’s play A RAISIN IN THE SUN opened in New York in March 1959, its author became the first African American female playwright to have a production on Broadway. The play went on to be named the best of the year by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle. In the following illustrat...

  • A Dream Realized

    In the following interview, conducted in April 2018, Imani Perry, author of “Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry,” describes how playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s childhood experiences informed the story of A RAISIN IN THE SUN, and the importance of Chicago as t...

  • Poitier’s Walter Lee

    In the following 2018 program, Mia Mask, film scholar and editor of “Poitier Revisited,” describes the behind-the-scenes clashes between actors Claudia McNeil and Sidney Poitier during the theatrical production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN, the racism the cast experienced during the filming, and how th...

  • A RAISIN IN THE SUN on “Theater Talk”

    This 2002 episode of the television program “Theater Talk” explores the making of A RAISIN IN THE SUN on Broadway. It features a conversation with actor Ruby Dee; the play’s producer, Philip Rose; and actor Ossie Davis, who took over the part of Walter Lee Younger from Sidney Poitier.

  • Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement Intro

    Directed by Woodie King Jr. in 1978, the documentary BLACK THEATRE: THE MAKING OF A MOVEMENT traces the influence of A RAISIN IN THE SUN and the birth of a new kind of theater out of the civil rights movement. This introduction by King was recorded in June 2018.

  • Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement

    Directed by Woodie King Jr. in 1978, the documentary Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement traces the influence of A Raisin in the Sun and the birth of a new kind of theater out of the civil rights movement. The following forty-minute excerpt features interviews with important figures of the mo...

  • Daniel Petrie on A RAISIN IN THE SUN

    In this 2002 interview, Daniel Petrie recalls directing A RAISIN IN THE SUN.