Sidney Poitier was best known for his groundbreaking work in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1950, Sidney Poitier made his debut in a supporting role in the film ‘No Way Out.’ He was subsequently flooded with a lot of film offers, which was quite unusual for an African-American at that time. Poitier's breakout role came in ‘Blackboard Jungle.’
In 1958, Sidney starred with Tony Curtis in 'The Defiant Ones,' which received nine Academy Award nominations, including 'Best Actor' nomination for Poitier. Poitier won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for his film Lilies of the Field (1963). In the late 50s and early 60s, he also received acclaim for several films, including 'Porgy and Bess' (1959), 'A Raisin in the Sun' (1961), and 'A Patch of Blue' (1965).
In 1967, Poitier starred in 3 successful films, which dealt with the theme of racism (To Sir, with Love; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night). In the 1970s, Poitier ventured into direction and directed various comedy films, including Stir Crazy (which starred Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder). After a hiatus of nearly a decade, Poitier returned to television and films in Shoot to Kill (1988) and Sneakers (1992).
Bill Gillespie, the bigoted police chief of Sparta, Mississippi, arrests African-American Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs for a businessman’s murder. After proving his credentials, Tibbs is reluctantly asked to assist the investigations. Facing risks, he delves deep into the case, but encounters difficulties from Gillespie on every step. As the two men learn to work together, Tibbs proves his mettle earning Gillespie’s respect.
Joanna is a young woman who was raised with liberal values. One day, when she brings home her fiance, who is an African-American widowed physician, her parent’s attitudes are challenged.
A truck transporting members of a chain gang meets with an accident. Jackson and Cullen, two convicts who are chained together, flee. Though they both appear to be opposites in every way, they need to get along in order to dodge the arrest.
Richard Dadier is a navy veteran, who takes up a job as a teacher at North Manual Trades High School. However, things are not quite easy for him, because Gregory Miller, along with other students engage in anti-social behavior. The class doesn’t show respect for Dadier, and things even get worse after Dadier is forced to subdue a student who attacks another teacher.
In order to raise funds for their charity, Clyde and Billy rig a boxing match. However, this puts them against a group of gangsters who lost their money.
Brother John tells the story of a man who visits his hometown in Alabama, after a long time, to attend his sister’s funeral. However, unknown to others, he is actually a messenger from heaven who has been sent to assess whether mankind is worthy of redemption.
Two friends are wrongfully accused and convicted, after which they are sent to prison. They realize that they have no other choice but to make a foolproof escape plan. They soon realize that the annual rodeo competition may provide them with a perfect opportunity to escape.
Shoot to Kill is an action thriller film which tells the story of Steve, a criminal who has been on the run in the forests of Northern America. Meanwhile, an FBI agent Warren is obsessed with capturing him.
A retired detective has all the evidences necessary for sending two smart thieves to jail. But he agrees to keep quiet provided they consent to work among delinquent youths. Having no other options, they soon start working as career counselors for equally unwilling inner city kids. But later as they start enjoying their job they find their past catching up with them.
Martin Bishop, who runs a company that tests security systems, is blackmailed by government agents into getting a black box from its inventor. Bishop’s ex-girlfriend and his team of experts, who retrieve the device, discover that it can decode any encryption code. As Bishop realizes that those men were criminals and not government officers, they incriminate him in the murder of the inventor.
Orphan Skeeter lives with his toothless poor uncle, Jesse, in a Mississippi swamp cabin. One night they take in a strange dog that does not bark but rather laughs. When the rightful owner of the dog comes looking, Skeeter is forced to give up his new pet but gets a US $100 reward.
African-American Ivy Moore, who has been working as a maid for years for the Austin family, decides to quit job to join secretarial school. Desperate to stop her, the Austins blackmail gambler and trucking executive Jack Parks into dating her. They truly fall for each other, but when Ivy learns that Parks was pressed into this romance, she breaks-up. Will they re-unite?
A Russian mobster hires The Jackal, a mysterious highly-trained killer to eliminate a top government official. However, Jackal is chased by FBI’s Carter Preston and the Russian officer Valentina. The two also enlist the help of imprisoned Irish agent Mulqueen for the purpose. However, Jackal is not only smart and shrewd but also a master of disguise and absolutely ruthless.
The Greatest Story Ever Told is a historical drama film which revolves around the life and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, presented in two parts.
Raised together since childhood, Peter, the son of a white Kenyan settler and Kimani, a black worker are close friends. Things begin to change when Kimani’s father is jailed for following a tribal tradition. Angered by this, he joins Mau Mau rebels, but cannot really accept many of their actions. The two friends finally come face to face when the rebels kill Peter’s brother-in-law.
On his trip to London with his daughter, Dr Matt Younger meets a beautiful dignitary Catherine Oswandu with whom he falls in love. However, strange men seem to be following her wherever she goes, and Dr Matt tries to find out who they are, and why they follow her.
All the Young Men is an action war drama film, which takes us to the Korean War. When a lieutenant is killed, a black sergeant has to take charge of his squad. However, this proves to be a challenge, due to the racism being prevalent among the men in the squad.
Former US Army lieutenant Jason Higgs becomes a black militant during the 1960s Black Revolutionary Movement. He is forced to hide from the police when he commits a payroll heist in order to help his imprisoned brothers.
Sidney Poitier Awards
|Lilies of the Field||Best Actor in a Leading Role||1964|
|Winner||World Film Favorite - Male||1969|
|Lilies of the Field||Best Actor - Drama||1964|
|The Defiant Ones||Best Foreign Actor||1959|
|Winner||Best Spoken Word Album||2001|