Hollywood’s first Black movie star, Sidney Poitier, died at 94 years old on January 6, 2022. Poitier was born in 1927 in Miami, Florida. He worked as an actor, activist, film director and ambassador who would go on to inspire millions throughout his long life. Although Poitier was born in Miami, his entire family lived in the Bahamas. Poitier was born unexpectedly in Miami while his parents were visiting for the weekend, which granted Poitier U.S. citizenship. Poitier grew up in the Bahamas for most of his childhood, but he later moved to Miami at age 15, and then to New York City when he was 16. Poitier joined the American Negro Theater in 1955, where he landed his breakthrough film role as a high school student in the production Blackboard Jungle. Less than ten years later, Poitier became the first African American man to win an Oscar in 1964 when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Homer Smith in Lillies of the Field. Poitier was internationally hailed as a humanitarian. From 1997 to 2007, Poitier was chosen to serve as Bahamian Ambassador to Japan. 

In celebration of Sidney Poitier’s life and legacy, here is a list of movies starring Sidney Poitier for you to watch this week:

The Defiant Ones (1958)

Starring Sidney Poitier as convict John “Joker” Jackson, who escapes from prison transport with convict Noah Cullen after the prison transport bus crashes.

Lillies of the Field (1963)

Lilies of the Field is a comedy drama starring Sidney Poitier as handyman Warren Smith, who travels to rural farmland to help a group of Cathoric nuns build a chapel.

To Sir, With Love (1967)

This British drama stars Sidney Poitier as Mr. Mark Thackeray, an Idealistic engineer-trainee who accepts a job at an inner-city school. 

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)

In this controversial drama about race and society, Sidney Poitier plays a doctor who goes home to visit his white fiancé’s family for the first time.

Mister Tibbs Trilogy (1970)

Sidney Poitier stars as Vigil Tibbs in this trilogy about a seasoned investigator. During In the Heat of the Night (1967), Tibbs must prove his innocence after being accused of murder by a racist police chief. In They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970),  Detective Virgil Tibbs investigates his best friend in connection with a heinous crime. Lastly, Lt. Virgil Tibbs is called to investigate the confusing muder of an executive and a watchman in The Organization (1971). We recommend you watch all three in order!

Shoot to Kill (1988)

This action thriller follows grizzled FBI agent Warren Statin, played by Sidney Poitier, who is on a mission to track down a murderous diamond thief who is on the run with a cache of stolen jewels. 

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