Born on February 20th, 1927
From Miami, Florida
On June 12, 1964, political activist Nelson Mandela (Sidney Poitier) is sentenced to life in prison for treason against the South African state. During the years of his incarceration at Robben Island, Mandela rises to become the symbolic leader of black South Africa. Meanwhile, Mandela's one-time ideological foil, South Africa's white president, F.W. de Klerk (Michael Caine), puts into place reforms that bring an end to his country's decades-old policy of racial segregation: apartheid.
African-American Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the racist police chief of tiny Sparta, Mississippi. After Tibbs proves not only his own innocence but that of another man, he joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the town, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.