Starring Sidney Poitier

Starring Sidney Poitier

22 Episodes

Both one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century and a transformative cultural icon, Sidney Poitier forever changed the way African Americans were represented on-screen. Defying decades of racist stereotyping within mainstream Hollywood cinema, Poitier brought dignity and humanity to his powerful performances in zeitgeist-defining classics like IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, and THE DEFIANT ONES, essential documents of a changing America in the midst of the civil rights movement. The first black performer to win the Academy Award for best actor and one of the first black directors to work in the Hollywood studio system, Poitier paved the way for a new generation of African American stars and filmmakers with his unwavering integrity.

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Starring Sidney Poitier
  • Sidney Poitier Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Introducing Sidney Poitier

    Episode 2

    In the following introduction, recorded in 2020, film scholar Mia Mask explores Sidney Poitier’s significance as both one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century and an agent of social and cultural change.

  • Cry, The Beloved Country

    Episode 3

    Directed by Zoltán Korda • 1951 • United Kingdom
    Starring Canada Lee, Charles Carson, Sidney Poitier

    Alan Paton’s classic anti-apartheid novel receives a moving adaptation courtesy of director-producer Zoltán Korda. Shot on location in South Africa, this firsthand look at a bitterly divided coun...

  • Blackboard Jungle

    Episode 4

    Directed by Richard Brooks • 1955 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Glenn Ford, Anne Francis

    Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) is a man eager to make a difference. Or, some might say, he’s a believer in lost causes. Dadier is a new teacher at inner-city North Manual High, plagued by racial and ...

  • Good-bye, My Lady

    Episode 5

    Directed by William A. Wellman • 1956 • United States
    Starring Walter Brennan, Phil Harris, Brandon De Wilde

    What is that strange animal twelve-year-old Skeeter spied in the Mississippi swamp? It looks like a dog. But it laughs—even cries real tears—instead of barking. Skeeter brings it home, an...

  • Edge of the City

    Episode 6

    Directed by Martin Ritt • 1957 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, John Cassavetes, Ruby Dee

    This hard-hitting look at 1950s race relations stars Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes as a pair of New York City railway workers whose friendship draws the ire of their racist supervisor—setting i...

  • The Defiant Ones

    Episode 7

    Directed by Stanley Kramer • 1958 • United States
    Starring Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel

    Sidney Poitier became the first black man to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his star-making turn in this courageous moral drama, a powerful study of simmering racial tensi...

  • Paris Blues

    Episode 8

    Directed by Martin Ritt • 1961 • United States
    Starring Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward

    In PARIS BLUES, Ram Bowen (Paul Newman) and Eddie Cook (Sidney Poitier) are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris, where racism is less pervasive than in America. When they meet and fall ...

  • A Raisin in the Sun

    Episode 9

    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...

  • Pressure Point

    Episode 10

    Directed by Hubert Cornfield • 1962 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Bobby Darin, Peter Falk

    A young psychiatrist (Peter Falk), exasperated by his failed attempts to help a black patient who hates whites, asks to be reassigned. In a story told in flashback, his seasoned superior (Sidney ...

  • Lilies of the Field

    Episode 11

    Directed by Ralph Nelson • 1963 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann

    Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier), an itinerant handyman, is driving through the Arizona desert when he meets five impoverished nuns. Stopping to fix their leaky farmhouse roof, Homer discovers that not on...

  • The Slender Thread

    Episode 12

    Directed by Sydney Pollack • 1965 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas

    The suspense never stops mounting in this crackling, race-against-time drama, the debut from acclaimed director Sidney Pollack. Sidney Poitier stars as a student volunteer in a Seattle crisis ...

  • A Patch of Blue

    Episode 13

    Directed by Guy Green • 1965 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Hartman, Shelley Winters

    Selina D’Arcey is blind, yet she sees the world anew through the eyes of kindly Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier). An awkward Cinderella raised by a bigoted, abusive mother, Selina is white. She ...

  • Duel at Diablo

    Episode 14

    Directed by Ralph Nelson • 1966 • United States
    Starring James Garner, Sidney Poitier, Bibi Andersson

    Stylishly directed by Ralph Nelson and featuring a memorable and rousing score by Neal Hefti, DUEL AT DIABLO is a tale that will grip you from beginning to end. Frontier scout Jess Remsberg (Jam...

  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

    Episode 15

    Directed by Stanley Kramer • 1967 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn

    A crucial snapshot of evolving American race relations in the civil rights era, this touchstone comedic drama stars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (in the last of their iconic pairing...

  • In the Heat of the Night

    Episode 16

    Directed by Norman Jewison • 1967 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates

    Passing through the backwoods town of Sparta, Mississippi, Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) becomes embroiled in a murder case. He forms an uneasy alliance with the bigoted po...

  • To Sir, with Love

    Episode 17

    Directed by James Clavell • 1967 • United Kingdom
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson

    Sidney Poitier delivers one of his finest performances as a novice teacher who gets a rude awakening when he is assigned to teach a class of rowdy, rebellious teenagers in London’s gritty Ea...

  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs!

    Episode 18

    Directed by Gordon Douglas • 1970 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Martin Landau, Barbara McNair

    In this suspenseful sequel to IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, screen legend Sidney Poitier reprises his role as the titular investigator, who now must solve a puzzling murder in the City by the Bay...

  • Brother John

    Episode 19

    Directed by James Goldstone • 1971 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Will Geer, Bradford Dillman

    This fascinatingly offbeat drama casts Sidney Poitier as a mysterious stranger—perhaps a divine messenger, perhaps the angel of death—whose presence exposes class and racial tensions within a ...

  • Buck and the Preacher

    Episode 20

    Directed by Sidney Poitier • 1972 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee

    Civil War veteran Buck (Sidney Poitier) has signed on to guide a wagon train of newly freed slaves moving to claim homesteads in the west. Along with Buck’s wife, Ruth (Ruby Dee), who works tirel...

  • A Warm December

    Episode 21

    Directed by Sidney Poitier • 1973 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, George Baker, Esther Anderson

    A new city, a new life. Dr. Matt Younger, a lonely American widower, receives a new chance at love when he travels to London. Sidney Poitier plays Younger and directs this tender story of une...

  • Uptown Saturday Night

    Episode 22

    Directed by Sidney Poitier • 1974 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Richard Pryor

    Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier directs and stars in this hilarious adventure about a couple of guys who sneak away from their wives for a little fun but get in way over their heads. Whe...