Skip to main content
Classics and discoveries from around the world, thematically programmed with special features, on a streaming service brought to you by the Criterion Collection.
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.