A Celebration Of Life: Here’s A Look At 5 Of Sidney Poitier’s Classic Films And Powerhouse Performances

By now, you have heard of and been saddened by the transitioning of legendary Black actor and director Sidney Sidney Poitier. It’s always heartbreaking when an icon passes away, but Poitier lived a long 94-year life and during that time he enjoyed an illustrious career chock-full of classic films and brilliant performances.

So as we mourn his death, let’s not forget to celebrate his legacy. And what better way to do that than to take a look back at some of his best movies? And what better movie to start with than Poitier’s 1974 Black star-studded hit Uptown Saturday Night?

Rest In Paradise to a true LEGEND SIR Sidney Poitier. 🙏🏿🖤✊🏿
UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT (1974) pic.twitter.com/fs0rPVO504

— Geo The OG (@IB_Geo_D) January 7, 2022


Besides Poitier himself, this film about the frantic and hilarious search for a stolen wallet and, more importantly, a lost winning lottery ticket also starred Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, and more and was followed by sequels Let’s Do It Again and A Piece of the Action.

Next up, let’s take it back all the way to 1961 when director Daniel Petrie gifted the world with the screenplay version of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

i am deeply saddened by sidney poitier’s passing. he had the rare combination of charisma and skill that made him the perfect movie star. his legacy endures and blazes the path forward.

sidney poitier jumping for joy in “raisin in the sun” (1961). pic.twitter.com/rpOCBl9LWE

— maya cade (@mayascade) January 7, 2022

Now, when I was in high school, my class was assigned to watch this movie, read the original play, study the movie and play and answer test questions about the movie and play. I hated it. But I eventually developed a profound appreciation for the tale of Walter Lee Younger, his family, and his big plans for success in an America that didn’t want Black people to succeed.

Do y’all remember when a white man thought he was finna slap Sidney in the 1967 classic In The Heat of the Night? yeah, well, we all saw how that worked out.

The integrity of Sidney Poitier never wavered. SIP 🕊🙏🏾

The only way that Poitier would agree to be slapped in a scene in The Heat of The Night (1967) would be to have a guarantee that he could slap him back AND a guarantee that that scene play in every version of this movie. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/A5RGL5Nj6w

— TaiLotus🥂 (@tnycngozi) January 7, 2022


Before movies like Lean On Me, The George McKenna Story, 187, Coach Carter and Remember the Titans, Poitier was playing a Black no-nonsense educator who inspired and whipped into shape undisciplined students in the 1967 film To Sir, with Love.

On this day in 1948 💫

Lulu is born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Lulu 😎🙏
To Sir, with Love • Theme Song 🎶#lulu pic.twitter.com/QUccoMn7Md

— Song A Day / Philosophy Away😊🙏🎶 (@SongsPhilosophy) November 3, 2021

And to bring it all home, let’s go with another classic, also released in 1967 (yo, Poitier was having a damn good year in 1967), Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which covered American racism and interracial love at a time when the nation was still racist as hell and opposed to miscegenation. (It’s still racist as hell over here, but interracial couples get more of a pass than they used to these days.)

Sidney Poitier died last night at the age of 94. Mans was Denzel before Denzel was Denzel. I loved watching his old movies growing up and admired the range and emotion he had. Rest well Sidney.

🎥: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner pic.twitter.com/teAsUDw8D7

— The Black Norrin Radd 🏄🏾‍♂️ (@ThaSiTHAPRNTiCE) January 7, 2022


Listen, good people, we could go on all day listing Poitier’s great films. From A Patch of Blue to Porgy and Bess to Paris Blues to Buck and the Preacher to Shoot to Kill, there is so much in the award-winning acting genius’ body of work to highlight. You would be hard-pressed to find a Black male actor who doesn’t list him among their biggest influences.

Rest well, Sidney Poitier—your legacy will live forever. 

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