In the Heat of the Night
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The winner of the 1967 Oscar for Best Picture (as well as four other Oscars), In the Heat of the Night is set in a small Mississippi town where an unusual murder has been committed. Rod Steiger plays sheriff Bill Gillespie, a good lawman despite his racial prejudices. When Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), a well-dressed northern African-American, comes to town, Gillespie instinctively puts him under arrest as a murder suspect. Tibbs reveals himself to be a Philadelphia police detective; after he and Gillespie come to a grudging understanding of one another, Tibbs offers to help in… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Social importance aside, In the Heat of the Night works as a buddy film and as a tense thriller."
‑ Richard Roeper, Richard
"A decent piece of do-good cinema."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Quincy Jones provides a score that perfectly complements the flavorful atmosphere."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"A film that satisfies equally as police procedural and social commentary."
‑ James Mottram, Total Film
"Good as the performances are, isn't it all a bit disingenuous?"
‑ Stuart Henderson, PopMatters
"No deep solutions are suggested in this subtle and meticulously observed study. Yet Director Norman Jewison has used his camera to extract a cer tain rough-cut beauty from each protagonist."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Oozes sufficient Southern sweat and features enough admirably crumpled character faces to make up for its over-strident liberal rhetoric."
‑ , Time Out
"Though apart from its handling of race, In The Heat Of The Night's story had a familiar ring, it didn't really look much like the standard fare of 1967."
‑ Keith Phipps, The Dissolve
"The plot is a set-up, a stacked deck, yet the atmosphere is palpably unpleasant, and Poitier and Steiger have a field day."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"Far -- far -- more interested in racial politics than criminal capers, and it's Tibbs' interactions with the local yokels that make the film so memorable"
‑ Christopher Null,
"An excellent Sidney Poitier performance, and an outstanding one by Rod Steiger, overcome some noteworthy flaws to make In The Heat of the Night an absorbing contemporary murder drama."
‑ A.D. Murphy, Variety
"A film that has the look and sound of actuality and the pounding pulse of truth."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"If you're collecting Best Pictures, 'In the Heat of the Night' was completely deserving of the Oscar then, and remains a taut crime drama almost 50 years later."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"The film's flatly descriptive approach to exploring race in America probably felt a bit more intense and meaningful in the thick of the Civil Rights Era than it does now."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Probably Norman Jewison's best picture."
‑ , Empire Magazine
More reviews for In the Heat of the Night on Rotten Tomatoes