To Sir, with Love Movie Poster Image

To Sir, with Love



Sydney Poitier at his best; teens and up.
  • Review Date: October 16, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1967
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Positive role models

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.


Fistfights in class.

Not applicable

Mild profanities including "bastard" and "slut."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 14, 1967
DVD release date:January 6, 1998
Cast:Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson, Sidney Poitier
Director:James Clavell
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of To Sir, with Love was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byjuzzz October 29, 2011

Rick Thackerey "Awesome Of All Teachers

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 issues head on and discuss them with your children..."See this movie".
What other families should know
Great messages
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.


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