To Sir, With Love

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Trailers Always Lie. In this case, that's a crying shame.

To Sir, With Love is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film's screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite. Sidney Poiter plays Mark Thackeray, a teacher originally from British Guiana (now Guyana) who recently moved from the United States. The plot primarily centers around Thackeray's idealism clashing with his teenage pupils' cynicism.

Poitier also starred in a 1996 TV sequel To Sir, With Love II as a retired Thackeray leaving London to teach in an inner city high school in Chicago while looking for a lost love. It was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and featured brief cameos from actors Judy Geeson and Lulu reprising their roles from the original film.

Tropes used in To Sir, With Love include:
  • Apathetic Teacher: Mr. Weston.
  • Based on a True Story
  • Cool Teacher: The class eventually sees Thackeray as this.
  • Eureka Moment: Thackeray has one of these after finding the "disgusting object". He heads into the staff room, rants angrily about his students to the female teacher, and halfway through realizes that the lessons he's been teaching them are absolutely useless for preparing the class for adulthood.
  • Fake Nationality: Poitier is Bahamian-American, not Guyanese.
  • Guyana: Thackeray's country of origin.
  • High Turnover Rate: Thackeray was the latest in a long line of teachers to attempt to teach the class.
  • Hot for Teacher: An example where the teacher is somewhat disturbed to learn that his student has a crush on him.
  • Inner-City School: The British version of one.
    • The one in the sequel was located in Chicago with a mix of Black, White and Hispanic kids.
  • Photo Montage: When Thackeray takes the kids to a museum, set to the title song by Lulu.
  • Save Our Students: Thackeray's goal.
  • Sequel Gap: The TV sequel was made twenty-nine years after the first.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: There is one point where one of the students curse and get drowned out by the noise of a passing train.
  • Stern Teacher: Thackeray takes this stance at times.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Thackeray occasionally does this, starting with a rant about how unladylike the female students are.
    • The main reason wasn't brought out in the movie when Thackeray looked into a heater and went off. In the book he found that the girls were burning a used sanitary napkin.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Thackeray insists on the students calling him "Sir", but returns the favor by call them "Miss" or "Mr" and insisting that they do the same when talking to each other.
  • Title Drop: Thackeray is given a coffee cup (an unidentified object in the novel) with the title on the gift tag, as well as it being a song.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Inverted. It's one of Thackeray's students who develops a crush on him. Meanwhile, he's oblivious to the similar feelings of one of his fellow teachers. Which is even more of an inversion, as in real life, Braithwaite married her.