Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Sidney Poitier, who in 1955 played a student in a tough inner-city high school, portrays a teacher assigned to a similar institution in To Sir, With Love. Unable to find work as an engineer, Poitier accepts a teaching post in London's East End slums. To reach his sullen, rebellious students, Poitier throws away his textbooks and endeavors to reach them as human beings--and as the adults they're going to become. It's an uphill climb, but gradually the students are won over. They begin referring to Poitier as "Sir," not out of blind obedience but as a gesture of genuine affection. Not that there aren't obstacles to overcome: in addition to trying to get through to hardcase student Christian Roberts, Poitier must face down the resistance and hostility of his fellow teachers. The sweetly sentimental finale amply displays the vocal talents of Lulu, who trills the title song. Based on the novel by E. R. Brainwaite, To Sir, With Love was one of the biggest moneyspinners of 1967 (with this film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier had quite a year). In 1996, a belated made-for-TV sequel was produced, briefly reuniting To Sir with Love co-stars Sidney Poiter, Lulu and Judy Geason, none of whom looked a day older.
teacher, education, school, student, slums, against-the-system, Black [race], coming-of-age