Movie Monday: To Sir, With Love 1967


Sidney Poitier's dynamic on screen presence is enough to turn any movie into a must-see. I will admit, I'm not really one to delve into those inspiring teacher-conquers-wily-students movies, but my love for Poitier motivated me to finally watch To Sir, With Love. My secondary love for Lulu was a motivating factor as well. I was a bit curious to see the film for which one of my favorite childhoos songs was written. (click below to listen: To Sir, With Love by Lulu)

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I've mentioned before that my husband, Phil, is a school teacher. He student-taught rural children in Northeast Kentucky, so when he accepted a year-long position at a inner city school in Canton, it was a trying experience that really stretched him (and our marriage) a couple of years ago. That being said, I could somewhat relate to Portier's character as an outsider who, as a last resort in search of any paying job, comes into a somewhat rough-and-tumble 1960s British school to be a teacher.

The film deals with the spread of counter-culture ideology into the lives of act-before-you-think high school students who really expect to go nowhere in life. Poitier's character surprises the students by teaching them self respect and life skills he learned from his impoverished life he led while becoming the man he wanted to be. Despite his race relegating him to outsider status in this inner city neighborhood, the students (and even teachers) begin to learn from "Sir" and even develop an affection for him that went beyond social norms of the day.

To Sir, With Love is a great back to school movie that offers a great look into 1960s British culture as well as explores personalities and relationships that any character-developing movie lover will enjoy.

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19 Responses

  1. Kyla Rose says:

    I absolutely adored this song as a child. I hadn’t known it was from a film until recently (the same goes for Georgy Girl – which I watched after reading about on your blog and I love it!!). I’m going to watch one soon, I love Sidney Poitier.

  2. katie says:

    ah! i’m so very happy you chose “to sir with love” for movie monday! i am a sydney poitier lover and this movie and that song have long been favorites of mine. i will always remember singing along to my mom’s 48 of “to sir with love” right after i watched the movie the first time…

  3. Joy says:

    Great film review! I loved reading this!

  4. Jillian says:

    I first saw this movie sometime in grade school – I think we actually rented it on VHS. I would rent and watch it over and over. The setting – the school, the clothes, the accents – were so different than anything I had ever experienced at that point. I never heard the song before the movie, but of course, I love it too!

  5. Kelly says:

    I love, love, love this movie! It’s one of my mums favorites & we watched it together a few years ago.
    Kelly @
    Elegantly Academic

  6. Mo says:

    I love this movie, and I think the themes are still relevant. Respect is so critical. I cry when Lulu sings to him, because they truly appreciated everything he did for them.

  7. Beth S. says:

    Can I just say I love following your blog. Movie Monday’s are my favorite. I love your choices of movies. I recently re-read this book and I haven’t seen the movie since middle school. I am adding it to my must watch list.

  8. Kim says:

    Hi Mandi! What a wonderful movie you chose for Movie Monday! I adore this movie and I also adore Sidney Poitier. I really enjoyed Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with him. He is such a lovely man. I agree with everything Mo above said. It was just so sweet.

  9. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll probably watch just to see all the awesome outfits and costumes. I can’t wait!

  10. This song gets stuck in my head constantly since I saw the movie about a year and a half ago. I love this movie!!

  11. Lydia says:

    Love that movie. I now have this urge to run to the library and rent Sydney Poitier movies. Other good ones are, Up the Down Staircase, and Who’s Coming to Dinner? (Or something like that).

  12. Monique says:

    Sidney is amazing, I read his bio last year and it was soo good. I have to see this film. Great song!

  13. I really need to watch that movie!!

  14. Sounds great!
    I am all about the teacher movies!
    I am a teacher my self so I have a sick love for them. Sister Act 2 being one of my favorites.
    thanks for the review.

  15. Hi Mandy,
    So this is where that genre of film originates from. I suppose as an avid film fan I should have known that. I’ll have to check it out as me and my hubby are always looking for films that move us emotionally without being about war etc.

  16. Sue says:

    Such a great film…its been too long since I’ve seen it…time to revisit!

  17. You forgot to mention the awesome 60s dancing! My sister and I still imitate it on every dancefloor we hit :)

  18. Emily burke says:
    why am i so addicted to your blog ?
    err maybe because its amazing and beautiful and inspiring ?
    im praying to the lord of gods for him to make my blog more like yours … xxx get moving bloggod before this girl takes over the world with her amazing blog ! ;) pahahah
    much love

  19. patience says:

    my mom suggested i do the “to sir with love” song back in grade seven for a music project. the teacher was so in love with the fact that i chose something so old school that he played the movie later that week.
    the rest of the class hated me though for “making” them watch it!