To Sir, with Love

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
To Sir, with Love Movie Poster Image
Sydney Poitier at his best; teens and up.
  • NR
  • 1967
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This a classic film about overcoming racism, prejudice and learning important life lessons.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sir(Sydney Poitier) stays above the fray and leads by example. The teens are rude in class, but by contemporary film standards, their behavior is mild.

Violence

Fistfights in class.

Sex
Language

Mild profanities including "bastard" and "slut."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids will be see fist fights in class and students behaving rudely towards their teacher, although their misbehavior is mild by contemporary film standards. The film addresses issues of race and class and offers a window into London in the mid-1960s.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjuzzz October 29, 2011
Adult Written byds33 August 15, 2009

After tweens but before too late

If you want to bury your head in the sand and keep your children isolated from real issues... "Don't see this movie". If you want to confront iss... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBestPicture1996 February 5, 2010

The King of all "Inspirational Teacher" movies

1967 was Poiter's year and he does another great job as Sir. A great movie to see for the older people.
Teen, 13 years old Written byndancer94 April 9, 2008

What's the story?

In 1966 London, Mark Thackeray (Sydney Poitier) has taken on a teaching position in a rough school where teachers are jaded and afraid. Thackeray initially makes no headway with his rude students, and searches for a job as an engineer. But he decides to keep trying, enforcing a strict behavior code accompanied by frank conversations about "life, sex, rebellion, and marriage." Proper conduct is soon the fashion and the students call Thackeray "Sir." A boy refuses to heed Sir's lessons and they end up facing off in a gym class boxing session. The students learn a lesson in overcoming racism when they deliver flowers to the funeral of a black child. Through all the challenges, Sir stays above the fray and leads by example.

Is it any good?

Poitier is reason enough to watch this film, and his charisma makes the changes he brings to the students' world seem entirely plausible. The production design is marvelous and, along with the fine cinematography, captures the desolate nature of rundown East End London. The music is a hoot, with song choices that surprise you like charming relics from another era.

Watching the movie requires a bit of effort and young viewers may find their attention drifting. Making out the British accents is sometimes difficult. But in a world of spoon-fed plots and predictable three-act structures, the film's non-traditional structure and elements set it apart from more standard fare.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's message. What do you think the filmmaker was trying to get across?

  • Did you think the movie was effective in conveying that message?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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