In the Heat of the Night

Watch In the Heat of the Night

"They got a murder on their hands. They don’t know what to do with it."
  • NR
  • 1967
  • 1 hr 49 min
  • 7.9  (82,823)
  • 76

In the Heat of the Night, released in 1967, is a tense and gripping crime drama that explores themes of racism, prejudice and justice in the American South. Directed by Norman Jewison, this film features an impressive ensemble cast with actors like Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, and Warren Oates. The movie is set in the small, fictional town of Sparta, Mississippi. A wealthy white businessman, Phillip Colbert, is murdered one night and the police chief, Bill Gillespie (played by Rod Steiger), is put in charge of investigating the case. He enlists the help of Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), a black detective from Philadelphia who happens to be passing through town. Initially, Gillespie is dismissive of Tibbs, assuming that he can't be a real detective because of his race. However, when Gillespie learns that Tibbs is not only a real detective but one of the best in the country, he reluctantly agrees to work with him.

As Tibbs and Gillespie begin their investigation, they encounter hostility and racism from some of the townspeople, including the victim's family, who do not want a black man involved in the case. Tibbs faces discrimination from the moment he arrives in Sparta, with Gillespie's officers assuming that he is a suspect rather than a detective. Through their investigation, Tibbs and Gillespie must confront their own prejudices and learn to work together, despite their differences.

The movie is captivating from beginning to end, with excellent performances from both Poitier and Steiger. Sidney Poitier's Tibbs is smart, strong and dignified, and his character represents the high point of the civil rights movement that was taking place at the time. He is a man who knows his own worth and refuses to be intimidated or underestimated by anyone. On the other hand, Rod Steiger's Gillespie character starts out as a rough and tough police chief who believes in the racial stereotypes of his time. However, as he works with Tibbs, he begins to see him as an equal and learns to respect him as an individual rather than a black man.

The tension builds throughout the movie, as Tibbs and Gillespie unravel the clues that lead them to the killer. The trail leads them to suspect that the murderer might be from within the town, and as they get closer to the truth, they are met with resistance from the townspeople. The suspense is further heightened by the movie's use of sound and music, with a haunting theme song that captures the mood of the film perfectly.

In the Heat of the Night won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Rod Steiger, and Best Original Screenplay. This was the first movie in which a black actor had won an Oscar for a leading role, a historic achievement that signified a turning point in the representation of African Americans in Hollywood films.

Overall, In the Heat of the Night is a classic movie that resonates just as powerfully today as it did in 1967. Its portrayal of systemic racism and prejudice remains sadly relevant, and its message of mutual respect and understanding is as important as ever. With its superb performances, taut storyline, and thrilling conclusion, it's no wonder that this film has become a beloved and influential classic.

In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9 and a MetaScore of 76.

In the Heat of the Night
Where to Watch In the Heat of the Night
In the Heat of the Night is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent In the Heat of the Night for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 49 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (82,823)
  • Metascore