Novelist James Clavell wrote, produced and directed this 1967 British film (based on the novel
by E. R. Braithwaite) about a rookie teacher who throws out stock lesson plans and really takes command of his unruly, adolescent students in a London school. Sidney Poitier is very good as a man struggling with the extent of his commitment to the job, and even more as a teacher whose commitment is to proffering life lessons instead of just academic ones. The spirit of this movie can also be found in more recent films such as Dangerous Minds
and Mr. Holland's Opus
, but none are as moving as this. Besides, the others don't have a title song performed by Lulu, who also stars. --Tom Keogh
Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) is an engineer who loses his job and turns to teaching in a tough East End school. He immediately faces hostility from his students - the graduating class - who are determined to break his spirit. However, Thackeray counters by treating the teenagers as young adults, attempting to prepare them for life in the outside world. Gradually, as he takes the class on field trips to museums and similar outings, Thackeray earns both their affection and respect.
A novice high school teacher (Sidney Poitier) transforms an unruly senior class into respectable young adults in this "well-acted, excellent film" (Leonard Maltin). "Sidney Poitier is superb" (New York Daily News)