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.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted BO Domestic (mil)Box Office Rank by YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
In the Heat of the Night (1967)Rod Steiger & Warren Oates$167.2022nd of 196784.00%07 / 0576.20
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn$395.102nd of 196871.00%10 / 0272.45
To Sir, With Love (1967)Judy Geesen$332.708th of 196883.50%00 / 0070.24
Defiant Ones, The (1958)Tony Curtis$110.4028th of 195879.00%09 / 0268.29
Blackboard Jungle (1955)Glenn Ford$252.9012th of 195575.00%04 / 0067.85
Lilies of the Field (1963)Lilia Skala$79.8035th of 196385.00%05 / 0167.80
Patch of Blue, A (1965)Shelley Winters$140.7010th of 196687.00%05 / 0167.17
Stir Crazy (1980) *** Director OnlyGene Wilder & Richard Pryor$328.403rd of 198068.50%00 / 0063.20
Porgy and Bess (1959)Dorothy Dandridge & Sammy Davis, Jr.$116.4029th of 195977.00%04 / 0158.93
Let's Do It Again (1975) ***Bill Cosby$147.0013th of 197571.00%00 / 0056.15
Sneakers (1992)Robert Redford$104.5030th of 199275.50%00 / 0052.16
Greatest Story Ever Told, The (1965)Charlton Heston & Claude Rains$155.5011th of 196550.00%05 / 0049.60
Band of Angels (1957)Clark Gable$107.5033rd of 195769.00%00 / 0049.09
Raisin in the Sun, A (1961)Claudia McNeil$39.1072nd of 196186.00%00 / 0047.73
Uptown Saturday Night (1974) ***Bill Cosby & Richard Pryor$101.1029th of 197467.00%00 / 0047.16
No Way Out (1950)Richard Widmark$67.7087th of 195077.00%01 / 0047.08
Shoot to Kill (1988)Tom Berenger$60.1039th of 198872.50%00 / 0043.39
Something of Value (1957)Rock Hudson$94.6045th of 195757.50%00 / 0041.68
Bedford Incident, The (1965)Richard Widmark & Donald Sutherland$21.20103rd of 196580.50%00 / 0041.13
Good-bye, My Lady (1956)Walter Brennan$21.50141st of 195679.00%00 / 0040.46
Slender Thread, The (1965)Anne Bancroft$27.9069th of 196573.50%02 / 0039.66
For Love of Ivy (1968)Abbey Lincoln & Beau Bridges$102.2019th of 196849.50%01 / 0039.50
Edge of the City (1957)John Cassavetes$33.50113th of 195771.50%00 / 0038.79
Pressure Point (1962)Bobby Darin & Peter Falk$25.40112th of 196273.00%00 / 0038.25
Piece of the Action, A (1977) ***Bill Cosby$55.2050th of 197762.50%00 / 0037.94
Paris Blues (1961)Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward$35.8074th of 196164.50%01 / 0036.27
Buck and the Preacher (1972) ***Harry Belafonte$46.6039th of 197259.50%00 / 0035.18
Our Virgin Island (1959)John Cassavetes$32.10106th of 195964.00%00 / 0035.06
Little Nikita (1988)River Phoenix$3.60168th of 198872.50%00 / 0034.63
Go, Man, Go! (1954)Dane Clark$73.3069th of 195448.50%00 / 0034.16
They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)Martin Landau$38.7044th of 197059.50%00 / 0033.96
All the Young Men (1960)Alan Ladd$50.6040th of 196055.50%00 / 0033.92
Jackal, The (1997)Bruce Willis & Richard Gere$100.9033rd of 199736.00%00 / 0033.06
Warm December, A (1973) ***Ester Anderson$23.1076th of 197362.50%00 / 0032.96
Long Ships, The (1964)Richard Widmark$46.9042nd of 196454.00%00 / 0032.65
Duel at Diablo (1966)James Garner$25.30103rd of 196658.50%00 / 0031.41
Lost Man, The (1969)Joanna Shimkus$31.4056th of 196956.00%00 / 0031.19
Red Ball Express (1952)Jeff Chandler$63.9078th of 195244.00%00 / 0030.58
Brother John (1971)Will Geer & Bradford Dillman$12.40112th of 197160.50%00 / 0030.36
Cry, the Beloved Country (1952)Canada Lee$17.00163rd of 195258.00%00 / 0029.90
Organization, The (1971)Barbara McNair$41.8044th of 197149.50%00 / 0029.74
Wilby Conspiracy, The (1975)Michael Caine$12.50103rd of 197552.50%00 / 0026.61
Mark of the Hawk, The (1957)Eartha Kitt$28.40138th of 195745.50%00 / 0025.78
Hanky Panky (1982) *** Director OnlyGene Wilder$28.2069th of 198245.50%00 / 0025.75
Ghost Dad (1990) *** Director OnlyBill Cosby$49.2050th of 199031.00%00 / 0022.20
Fast Forward (1985) *** Director OnlyJohn Scott Clough$6.60131st of 198534.00%00 / 0017.00

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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38 thoughts on “Sidney Poitier Movies

  1. 1 I welcome this updated page for another all-time Great and what a comprehensive page it is overall providing as it does a detailed profile of a glittering career. Among the numerous successes described is that in 1967 Sidney starred in 3 blockbusters with a combined adjusted domestic gross of nearly $900 million. It is difficult to think of too many stars who achieved that feat within a single year and Sidney himself never repeated the achievement.

    2 However Poitier’s career transcends even box office and Oscar considerations because he is unique in being the first African American superstar in the history of the cinema. Other fine coloured actors have followed in Sidney’s footsteps such as Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington and my own 4th favourite actor of all all-time the magnificent Morgan Freeman and more are sure to follow.

    3 It can never be taken away from Sidney though that he will always be the FIRST and I think all of the others would acknowledge that they owe much to Sidney’s pathfinding. He therefore richly deserves his place in AFI’s Legends lists.

    4 My own favourite Poitier movies are In the Heat of the Night, To Sir with Love, the Bedford Incident with Widmark and the 1966 western Duel at Diablo with Jim Garner. Possibly another screen ‘first’ for Sid was the scene from In the Heat of the Night where he returns the face slap of a powerful member of the local establishment. “Did you see that?” the rich man asks of Sheriff Steiger to which Rod replies “I saw it but I don’t believe it.” Steiger and Sid made a great team in that movie.

    1. Hey Bob.
      1. Thanks for checking out our Poitier update.
      2. Sidney owned 1967….three movies in the Top 6…..that is hard to do.
      3. I agree 100% his career transcends box office and Oscar glory….as he was a trail blazing pioneer.
      4. I like all of your favorite Sidney movies…though I have not seen Duel at Diablo.
      5. You speak of a classic scene from In The Heat of the Night.
      Good to know that this movie treasure is still active….hoping he is around many more years and eventually reaches the 100 mark….like Douglas and DeHavilland did last year.
      Good feedback as always.

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  3. What a great year he had in 1967. 2 of those movies Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, were both nominated for Acadamy Award Best Picture. In the Heat of the Night winning. How often does that happen that somebody stars in 2 Best Picture Movies?

    1. Hey Peterson…thanks for the comment. I agree 100%…Sidney Poitier had a great 1967. He even had another movie that you did not mention….1967’s To Sir With Love. Of all our movie pages…that is the only time a person’s Top 3 UMR scored movies came from the same year.

      As for your question….mmmm…..I know it has happened before….and since Poitier did it….I will have to do some research and get back to you on that one….thanks for a thought provoking question.

      1. Ok…I did some quick research. It happens farely often. Just looking at last year’s nominees…two people did it. Tom Hardy was in The Revenant and Mad Max Fury Road….Domhall Gleason was in The Revenant and Brooklyn. The year before Edward Norton was in Birdman and Grand Budapest Hotel. John C. Reilly was in The Gangs of New York and Chicago. Francis Ford Coppola directed two movies to Best Picture noms….The Godfather Part 2 and The Conversation. Robert DeNiro did it in 1990 with Good Fellas and Awakenings. Charles Laughton did it in 1935 with Mutiny on the Bounty and Ruggles of Red Gap. Spencer Tracy did it in 1936 with San Francisco and Libeled Lady. I am sure I could come up with many many more.

        Now that being said….when the nominations are held to 5….it seems to be a harder thing to do….that is when Poitier accomplished his feat…which is without a doubt pretty impressive.

        1. 1 Some very interesting new stuff here thanks to the two ‘sons’ Peterson and Cogerson.

          2 If you look at the posters and cast lists on Wikipedia and Imdb you will see that Sid actually gets billed before Kathie Hepburn in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. It’s the only Tracy/Hepburn film in which another star has come between the two so to speak!

          3 Hard to believe Sidney’s almost 90 – I grew up with him!

          BOB

          1. Hey Bob.
            1. I liked his question…..makes me wonder how often it happens….and did anybody get more than two movies nominated for Best Picture? Food for thought.
            2. Yep Sir Sidney is almost 90…..you have to figure his greatest year in movies …..1967….was almost 50 years ago.
            3. Looks like I need to do a Sidney update soon.

  4. Hope Sir Sidney Poitier had a wonderful 89th birthday today (Sat.)

    I just finished watching To Sir, With Love for his birthday.

    Flora

    1. Happy belated birthday to Sir Sidney. 89 and still going strong…one of the last 3 AFI Screen Legends still around…hope he makes it to 100. Thanks for the update.

  5. Sidney Poitier will be honoured next month at the 2016 BAFTA awards with a Fellowship, the highest accolade the British Academy can bestow. Congratulations, Sir.

    Flora

    1. Very cool. Sir Sidney Poitier sound very impressive. I am sure Sir Michael Caine is happy about that too….they have been friends for many many years. Thanks for the news.

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