In the Heat of the Night Poster

Release Date: August 2nd, 1967

DVD Release Date: January 9th, 2001

Not Yet Rated|1 hr 49 min

Plot Summary
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.

Cast: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Quentin Dean, James Patterson, William Schallert, Lee Grant, Scott Wilson

Director: Norman Jewison

Genres: Crime drama

Production Co: Mirisch Company

Distributors: MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc.

Keywords: Tense, Murder, Small town, Mystery, Cool, 1960s, Police station, Transformation, Police officer

Ratings & Reviews

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  • Steiger got the best actor Oscar for his masterful, Method deep-dive portrayal of Gillespie, a man just smart enough to know he's neither as talented as Tibbs nor as ignorant as the people around him. His jaw always working a wad of gum, his beady eyes darting, his blood pressure stroke-level as he spits out orders, he manages to play big without ever splitting the seams of his character. show more

  • The twist-filled storyline, which digs up nasty secrets all over the show and offers a satisfying range of suspicious suspects and a truly disgusting killer, remains gripping, and the excellent, understated lead performances don't harp on the racial angle in that embarassing fashion which makes so many Socialy Significant films instantly dated. show more

  • A gripping and suspenseful murder mystery that effects a feeling of greater importance by its veneer of social significance and the illusion of depth in its use of racial color. show more

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Nominated Directing
Nominated Best Director - Motion Picture
Winner Film Editing
Winner Writing (Screenplay - Based on Material From Another Medium)
Nominated Film
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1967)
Winner Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Nominated Sound Effects
Winner Best Motion Picture - Drama
Winner Sound
Winner Best Picture
Winner United Nations Award
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1967)