Sidney Poitier Movies

Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger in 1967's Best Picture Oscar® Winner.....In the Heat of the Night.

Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger in 1967’s Best Picture Oscar® Winner…..In the Heat of the Night.

Want to know the best Sidney Poitier movies?  How about the worst Sidney Poitier movies?  Curious about Sidney Poitier’s box office grosses or which Sidney Poitier movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Sidney Poitier movie got the best reviews from critics and audiences and which got the worst reviews? Well you have come to the right place….because we have all of that information.

This page comes from a request by my mother-in-law, mimic. She suggested Sidney Poitier many months ago. Sorry mimic that it took so long to finally produce this hub….but here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Sidney Poitier (1927-) could be considered the Jackie Robinson of Hollywood. His career broke down numerous racial barriers. Poitier’s performance in 1958’s The Defiant Ones, earned him an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor. His nomination was the first time a black actor had every earned a nomination in the Best Actor category. Five years later he would become the first black actor to win the Best Actor Oscar® for 1963’s Lillies of the Field. In 1967, Poitier had three monster hits and was voted as top box office star of the year….once again a first for a black actor. And finally as the 1970s rolled along, Poitier turned his focus to behind the camera. Poitier would direct nine films from 1972 to 1990.

From pbs.org “More than an actor (and Academy-Award® winner), Sidney Poitier is an artist. A writer and director, a thinker and critic, a humanitarian and diplomat, his presence as a cultural icon has long been one of protest and humanity. His career defined and documented the modern history of blacks in American film, and his depiction of proud and powerful characters was and remains revolutionary.”

His IMDb page shows 55 acting credits and 9 directing credits from 1947-2015. This page will rank 46 Sidney Poitier movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television appearances,cameos and straight to DVD movies were not included in the rankings.

Sidney Poitier and Lilia Skala in 1963's Lillies of the Field

Sidney Poitier and Lilia Skala in 1963’s Lillies of the Field

Sidney Poitier Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort Sidney Poitier movies by his co-star in the movie
  • Sort Sidney Poitier movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost
  • Sort Sidney Poitier movies by yearly box office rank
  • Sort Sidney Poitier movies how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each Sidney Poitier movie received.
  • Sort Sidney Poitier movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score.  UMR Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Sidney Poitier Table

  1. Fifteen Sidney Poitier movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 32.60% of his movies listed. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) was his biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Sidney Poitier movie grosses $83.90 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  27 Sidney Poitier movies are rated as good movies…or 58.56% of his movies.  In the Heat of the Night (1967) is his highest rated movie while Ghost Dad (1990) is his lowest rated movie.
  4. Twelve Sidney Poitier movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 26.08% of his movies.
  5. Six Sidney Poitier movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 13.04% of his movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 40.00.  20 Sidney Poitier movies scored higher that average….or 43.47% of his movies.  In the Heat of the Night (1967) got the the highest UMR Score while Fast Forward (1985) got the lowest UMR Score.
Sidney Poitier in 1967's To Sir With Love

Sidney Poitier in 1967’s To Sir With Love

Possibly Interesting Facts About Sidney Poitier

1. On the American Film Institutes 25 Greatest Male Stars of All-Time poll….they ranked Sidney Poitier as the 22nd greatest star.

2. If you have ever played the Kevin Bacon game….Sidney Poitier is a great source of possible links….check out some of his co-stars. Richard Widmark(3 times), Glenn Ford, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Rod Steiger, James Garner, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Shelly Winters, Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, Robert Redford, Tony Curtis, Michael Caine and Sammy Davis Jr.

3. Sidney Poitier has been married twice in his life. His first marriage to Juanita Hardy lasted from 1950-1965….they have 4 daughters. His second marriage was in 1976 to Joanna Shimkus…. they also have 2 daughters.

4. Since retiring from acting, Poitier has been very busy. From 1998 to 2003 he was on the Disney Board of Directors. He has also been the Bahamas Ambassador to Japan and UNESCO since 1997…..he still holds that position.

5. In 2002 he was awarded a Honorary Oscar®….”For his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence”

6. Sidney Poitier was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974. Sidney Poitier was one of the founders of First Artist Production Company along with his friends Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand and Steve McQueen.

7. Sidney Poitier was nominated for two Oscars® for acting and six Golden Globe® nominations for acting. He won one Oscar® and one Golden Globe® and they were for the same movie….1963’s Lillies of the Field.

8. When Sidney Poitier appeared as a high school student in his first box office hit …..1955’s The Blackboard Jungle….he was almost 30 years old.

9. Of all the movies Sidney Poitier has appeared in….his personal favorite is 1967’s In the Heat of the Night. Speaking of 1967….for the first time ever in doing these hubs….an actor’s top three Movie Score movies came from one year….1967. #1 Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, #2 In the Heat of the Night, and #3 To Sir With Love were all made in 1967.

10. Check out Sidney Poitier career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

Academy Award® and Oscar® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences.  Golden Globes® are the registered trademark and service mark of the Hollywood Foreign Press. 

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47 thoughts on “Sidney Poitier Movies

  1. STEVE
    1 I am pleased that you have now joined Bruce in profiling Sidney Poitier as I have long admired his underplayed but nevertheless strong acting as demonstrated in the likes of To Sir with Love, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night all made in his heyday. My own favorite Poitier flicks are the last named, The Bedford Incident and Duel at Diablo. I never much cared for Porgy and Bess which you have given a reasonably healthy rating of 73% and the Work Horse does it even prouder with an 77% marking.

    2 My own idols are well showcased in some of the finest posters on display in your presentation – All the Young Men with Laddie, The Wilby Conspiracy with Sir Maurice and The Long Ships, No Way Our and The Bedford Incident all with my Richard. Other posters that I favoured are For Love of Ivy, The Slender Thread with the young “Mrs Robinson”, Duel at Diablo, Paris Blues and Porgy and Bess.Another one if the very best in my view is Band of Angels with King Gable at his most iconic.

    3 Excellent stills are those of Sidney with Curtis and Poitier with Tracy and Hepburn and the ones from the films No Way Out, To Sir with Love and Edge of the City [aka A Man is Ten Feet Tall]. Bruce and you agree of 3 of Sidney’s 5 best films but surprisingly WH rates Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner just round about 18th on his Poitier page for artistic merit whereas it’s your No 3. Anyway a solid profile of the actor regarded as the 1st African American superstar which to me is worth a 96.5% rating.

    1. Hello Bob, I hope you enjoyed your little break. Thanks for reviewing and rating my ‘black Cary Grant’ video, as someone on the Poitier video page has called him. Glad you liked the pictorial aspects of the presentation. 🙂

      I too liked In the Heat of the Night and The Bedford Incident more than most of his other movies, I haven’t watched Duel at Diablo in ages. It used to pop up on TV all the time back in the 70s. I’m not at all interested in watching Porgy and Bess, Brother John or Lillies of the Field. I remember watching Uptown Saturday Night and enjoying it. The Wilby Conspiracy looks interesting, is there anyone Sir Michael Caine ‘hasn’t’ acted with?

      Four of Poitier’s films scored 10 out of 10 from my sources – Edge of the City, Raisin in the Sun, The Defiant Ones and In the Heat of the Night.

      No.1 Poitier film at IMDB is Raisin in the Sun with 8.1, A Patch of Blue is no.1 on Bruce’s critics chart with 8.7. Neither of them are in my top 5.

      1. 1 HI STEVE Thanks for the feedback. I was actually able to view your Poitier video during my break. Just as Mr M is credited with ushering in a new form of American acting which as you have mentioned subsequently became a template for many young actors, African American stars whose comments on Sidney I have seen tend to regard the success of his career as paving the way for it to be commonplace for later African American performers generally to enjoy prolific careers as top stars – Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes Denzel Washington and my own fave Morgan Freeman for example.

        2 To African American actors Sidney is THEIR Brando though they would not of course call him that as they correctly see Poitier as a God in his own right just as the Work Horse is OUR incomparable Deity. However I am sure Sid himself wouldn’t at all mind being called ANY KIND of Cary Grant! What actor would – except maybe Old Cantakerous?

        3 Indeed it could be argued that Poitier has an advantage over MB in that no Englishman ever called SIDNEY a mumbler! It strikes me that if Mr M and Poitier had been English their perceived pioneering work might well have earned them titles – how does Sir Sid and Lord Mumbles sound to you?

        4 Mr M was reportedly compensated to a degree though by being invited into the Royal Box when attending plays in London at which Royals were also present and of course his best mate in Blighty was a knight Sir Michael GambonCBE

        5 I see that your very latest profile is of an actor who was often such a screen “bad-a**” that no matter how good his acting the Brits would probably never have given him a title. Looking in on that video is next on my list so I’ll catch up with you again about it in due course.

        1. Hey Bob…..I think Denzel Washington said it best when talking about Sidney Poitier….he said he would always be walking on the path that Sidney made….two Hollywood legends for sure.

          1. HI BRUCE

            Thanks for sharing Denzel’s quote with me. My 3 favourite coloured actors are Morg Freeman, Denzel and Sidney.

      2. Hey Steve….I enjoyed your Sidney movie….variety is the spice of life….the differences only make our pages better…..if they were the same….one of us would have nothing to do….lol.

        As for The Bedford Incident….I liked the movie….my mom…..if only takes about 5 seconds for to say….”I hated the ending”…whenever she hears that movie mentioned. I liked the ending….not a Hollywood ending for sure.

        Another fine addition to your video vault.

        1. GREAT PANJANDRUM

          1 Totally agree with you about the ending as I thought it was one of the most stunning and unexpected in movies.

          2 As you know Richard W is my very favourite actor and I always thought that it was ironic that Dick, a conservative by ideology, should in a movie that HE produced be the actor to suggest that “cold war” paranoia was perhaps being carried too far.

          3 Some critics have compared Richard’s obsession with the sub “Big Red” to Ahab’s preoccupation with Moby Dick. It’s always seemed funny to me the practice of giving perceived malignant forces “pet”names that humanise them like the American trait of bestowing Christian names on devastating forces of nature – eg Hurricane Joel

          4. I think one of your other Regulars has usefully recorded that in their 1st film together way back in 1950 [No Way Out] Richard was respectful to Sidney in days when African American didn’t always get the respect they deserved.

          5 Anyway well done in giving The Bedford Incident an 80%.rating.

    2. Hey Bob…..good review on Steve’s Sidney page…..which I just watched and commented on myself. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner is considered by many to be a average movie at best….my sources back that up….while Steve’s give the movie more credit. At the time it was ground breaking and a huge hit….so seeing it so highly rated on Steve’s video…is not too surprising at all.

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