Customer Review

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, sentimental, wonderfully done, June 4, 2005
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This review is from: To Sir, With Love (DVD)
Somehow I just missed this one when it came out during my youth. I recently caught it on Satellite and immediately ordered the DVD. This is a wonderful, powerful film featuring a fabulous performance by Sidney Portier. I have caught Portier in a few other films, and he was excellent in all of them, but his performance in this film is quite simply magnificent. His class, intense intelligence, and talent all shine through in this moving story of a teacher who touches a classroom full of lower-class Brits and leaves them the better for it.

The storyline is well-known, so I shan't dwell on it in this review. Who among us has not had the good fortune of encountering, in our young years, a particularly gifted teacher who perhaps sets us on the right course despite ourselves? That is what this story is about. Portier (playing Mr. Thackary, to be addressed as "Sir!") is assigned to teach a tough classroom of young working class Brits, who are about to graduate and enter the workforce. The pupils are poorly educated and thuggish. Thackary quickly realizes that their real problem is that they lack a moral and social compass, or any appreciation of the value of an education. He confronts the class, and inspires most of them to steer a more proper course in life. This is a fine story of teenage angst, growing up, and the important role that a gifted teacher can play in a young life. An underlying and inspiring theme, of course, is the fact that Portier plays a black man immersed in a nearly completely white school at a time when Western society had a long way to go as regards racial equality. He encounters prejudice, but transcends it by his talent, intelligence, and force of personality. Eventually the class comes to fully appreciate the extraordinary nature of their teacher. Similarly, Mr. Thackary, who originally had accepted the teaching post while searching for a job as an engineer, comes to know that his true calling and talent is teaching. It does not matter how hard-boiled the viewer, no one can fail to be touched by the ending of this superb film.

This is a stylish flick set more or less in the Beatles age of the 1960s. The British nature of the film, the British setting, etc. has a special fascination to the American viewer, and of course when this film was released, the British pop "invasion" was in full swing. This, combined with Portier's incomparable performance, the solid storyline of this film, and really good acting by an appealing British cast, made this low-budget film a smash hit. Of course, the theme song "To Sir With Love" by Lulu is a sentimental and touching component of the film, which became a top rock tune in the States.

I purchased my DVD in May 2005. Some reviewers apparently received copies that erroneously had a Japanese monster movie on Side B. My copy did not have this error, so the publisher has evidently corrected the problem. The sound and colors on my copy are excellent; the remastering was well-done

Too many films are rated 5 stars here on Amazon, but this is one for sure. One indicator of a truly fine film is how it stands the test of time, and whether the viewer returns to it repeatedly. This film passes these tests with flying colors (or should I say "colours"?).
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2008 8:54:50 PM PDT
KEITH MORRIS says:
I only wish the sellers would not ask such outrageous prices for a dvd wl mart had for 5 bucks less than a year ago. Love the movie but will wait until I can find it for a more realistic price. Just because its out of print doesent mean it should command such silly prices!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2008 10:20:56 AM PDT
You are, of course, correct. No doubt this classic will eventually be re-released on DVD at an appropriate price.
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