To Sir, with Love

1966 film by James Clavell

To Sir, with Love is a 1967 British drama movie directed by James Clavell and was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by the author E. R. Braithwaite. It stars Sidney Poitier and features Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendall, Patricia Routledge and singer Lulu making her movie debut. James Clavell also wrote the screenplay of the story, which is quite different from the novel.

To Sir, with Love
Directed byJames Clavell
Screenplay byJames Clavell
Based onTo Sir, With Love
1959 novel
by E. R. Braithwaite
Produced byJames Clavell
John R. Sloan
StarringSidney Poitier
Judy Geeson
Christian Roberts
Suzy Kendall
The Mindbenders
Patricia Routledge
CinematographyPaul Beeson, British Society of Cinematographers
Edited byPeter Thornton
Music byRon Grainer
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • 14 June 1967 (1967-06-14) (US)
  • 29 October 1967 (1967-10-29) (UK)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$625,000[1] or $600,000[2]
Box office$42,432,803[3] or $22 million[2]

A 1996 television movie sequel, To Sir, with Love II, was released nearly three decades later, with Poitier in the same starring role.


The movie is about a teacher from British Guiana who deals with social issues of problematic, undisciplined and anarchic students in a run-down school in the East End of London.


The movie was internationally very successful at the box office, and made $42,432,803 at the box office out of a movie budget of $640,000.[3] It was the sixth highest grossing movie of 1967 in the United States.

To Sir, with Love got very positive reviews, as many movie critics and moviegoers enjoyed it. To Sir, with Love holds an 89% "Fresh" rating on the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews.[4]

The movie ranked number 27 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[5]

Poitier especially benefited from that movie's success, considering he agreed on only $30,000 for his movie role in exchange for 10% of the box office and thus earned more than $4,200,000, which was one of the most impressive payoffs in movie history. 

The novel's author E. R. Braithwaite hated the movie, particularly because the novel's interracial relationships and racial issues were not included in the movie's screenplay, although the royalties from the movie made him wealthy.


The movie's title song "To Sir with Love", sung by Lulu, peaked at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States for five weeks in the autumn of 1967 and ultimately was the best-selling single in the United States of that year.


  1. "An author at home in Hollywood and Hong Kong". Dudar, Helen. Chicago Tribune. 12 April 1981: e1.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Blue-Ribbon Packager of Movie Deals Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times 20 April 1969: w1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "To Sir, With Love, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  4. "To Sir, with Love, Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  5. EW Staff (28 August 2015). "50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly.

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