Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Movie Poster Image

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?



Civil rights, love, and family stress.
  • Review Date: March 1, 2006
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1967
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Includes excellent examples of both men and women who choose to fight the prevailing norms regarding interracial relationships. Though released at a time of great cultural conflict in the United States, the main characters stick by their convictions and emotions, rather than bending to social pressures.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some very minor drinking with meals.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film deals with a couple that approaches their parents with their impending (and hotly contested) marriage. The main conflict revolves around disagreements between parents and their children about interracial marriage and the generation gap in general.

What's the story?

In GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, two young people fall in love. The glitch comes when one is the handsome African-American doctor John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) and the other is the idealistic white Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton). The upper-class liberal Draytons (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) and working class Prentices (Beah Richards and Roy Glenn) are thrown into a tizzy, but everyone must figure out what to do during an impromptu dinner at the Drayton's fancy home. Eventually, ultimatums are cast, the mothers function as fonts of wisdom, and everyone must figure out how to live and love in a changing world.

Is it any good?


It may seem a bit dated due to its 1960s jive lingo and its dominant feelings regarding race, but this film still presents a funny and relevant tale of parent-child quarreling and social conflict. It combines big-name stars and contemporary themes to create a meaningful tale questioning family, love, and social norms. Hepburn delivers a hilariously understated scene as she calmly (yet, insultingly) fires her racist assistant.

The film also marks the last onscreen pairing of longtime lovers and costars Hepburn and Tracy. Hepburn would nurse Tracy through his final battle with poor health; he succumbed to a heart attack just weeks after filming. Pay attention and you'll catch a funny and biting appearance by Isabel Sanford, the family maid who quips, "Civil rights is one thing. This here is somethin' else!" Kids who saw the 2005 remake, Guess Who, starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, might be interested in seeing this film with a little parental encouragement.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about parent-child relationships and issues of tolerance. Do the problems facing our romantic partners still face people today? While pushing the envelope for the period, how might this film present an overly rosy version of racial unrest? What different perspectives do the various characters bring with regard to the issue of interracial marriage? The complex parental relationships also present fodder for productive conversation.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 12, 1967
DVD release date:February 2, 1999
Cast:Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy
Director:Stanley Kramer
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Parent Written bybabysitrcares January 1, 2011

Must-see for nine and up!

This movie is excellent, an old classic. It has such a positive message and may help open the minds of young children to equality and love between people of different races/backgrounds. I loved it and I think it's very tween-appropriate.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 14 year old Written byTsion July 5, 2009

A Compelling Drama...

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER is definitely a movie you will want to show your kids, and it's a movie that should be shown to everyone. Not only is it a well-made movie (with a winning script and fine acting), but it's an uplifting, positive story about overcoming prejudice and discrimination. The movie, which centers on the family stress revolving around an interracial couple, initially took me aback with its blunt portrayal of bigotry (there are several blatant racial references, and the difference in the couple's pigmentation is often referred to, even by un-bigoted people, as a problem), but as it continued I was impressed by the film's positive elements and good role models. The parents of the couple are both shocked at the revelation that their son/daughter's lover is a different color, but both couples rise above their bigotry to accept and respect the union. The film portrays racism and bigotry in a very negative light, and all of the characters serve as great role models for kids. You will want to see past the frequent, mild language (several "d**n"s and "h**l"s, plus two "b***h"s and one "b****rd") and watch this one with your kids. You won't be disappointed.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byBestPicture1996 January 16, 2010

Outstandingly legendary movie

This and "In the Heat of the Night" (both were nominated for Best Picture in 1967 and featured Poitier) were similar in topic, though I have to say this was slightly better. In a mild manner it explains, even though great things always come at a price and challenge, they are worth it to have what will secure great happiness in one's life. The racial topics were, I'm sure, groundbreaking in its time as well.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages


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