In the Heat of the Night

Synopsis: Detective Virgil Tibbs is caught up in the racial tension of the US South when he is arrested after the murder of a prominent businessman. Tibbs was simply waiting for his next train at the station in Sparta, Mississippi and the confusion is soon resolved but when local police chief Gillespie learns that Tibbs is the Philadelphia PD's number one homicide expert, he reluctantly asks for his assistance. The murdered man, Mr. Colbert, had come to Sparta from the North to build a new factory and his wife and business associates immediately point the finger at Endicott, the most powerful man in the county and the one who had the most to lose if a major new employer comes to the area. Tibbs' life is clearly in danger but he perseveres in a highly charged and racially explosive environment until the killer is found.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Norman Jewison
Production: MGM
  Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

? In the heat of the night

? Seems like a cold sweat

creepin' across my brow

? Yeah

? In the heat of the night

? I'm feelin' motherless somehow

? Stars with evil eyes

? Stare from the skies

? All mean and bright

? In the heat of the night

? Ain't a woman yet been born

? Knows how to make the mornin' come

? It's so hard to keep control

? When I could sell my soul

? For just a little light

? In the heat of the night

? In the heat of the night

? I've got trouble wall to wall

? Oh yes, I have

? I repeat

? I repeat, in the night

? Must be an ending to it all

? But hold on, it won't be long

? Just you be strong

? And it'll be all right

? In the heat of the night

Where you keepin' the pie tonight?

A man ate the last piece

just before you come in.

What's that little old orphan

sittin' right up there?

Marble cake.

Tell you what, Sam. Bein' she's

in there by her little old lonesome,

I'll let you have her for free.

I told you 'bout that "Sam" business,

didn't I? Hm?

Sorry, Mr Wood.

I mean, uh... Officer Wood.

(car starts)

(country music fades in)

? Well, a bow-legged Polly

and a knocked-kneed Paul

? A bow-legged Polly

and a knocked-kneed Paul

? A bow-legged Polly

and a knocked-kneed Paul

? They can't get together at all

? Just like the worm in the cornfield

said to his brother

? "Yeah, go in one ear and out the other"

(? singer hums)

? Well, a bucktoothed Clara

and a cross-eyed Clyde

? A bucktoothed Clara

and a cross-eyed Clyde

? Like old bow-legged Polly

and a knock-kneed Paul

(music stops)

? Every time I see your face

? It's got a way of turnin' me around

? You tune me in, pretty baby

? Wild things begin

? Baby, that ain't love

? But it sure is groovy

(song continues in background)

(doctor) It's Colbert, all right.

Skull's caved in.

You ever take a homicide

picture before, son?

Well, at least he won't be movin' on me.

That's for sure. I want you to cover every

angle. Do you hear me? Every angle.

Uh, you boys, move on back now, OK?

Came all this way to build us a factory,

make somethin' outta this town.

Look what it got him.


Sam, did he have a wallet,

identification, anything like that?

That's the first thing I looked for.

Whoever fixed him musta took 'em.


- Any witnesses?

- I mean, not even a cat.

- How long's he been dead?

- Oh, less than an hour.

- Less than an hour.

- Maybe half that.

Maybe half.

Could have been a hitchhiker.

Check both ends of town, check

the depot, and check the pool hall. OK?

- Pool hall closed at one o'clock, Chief.

- I said check it, Sam.

Yes, sir.

On your feet, boy.

I mean now!

Get against that wall.

Get them hands high!

Spread them fingers out.

I wanna count all ten.

You move before I tell you to, boy,

by God, I'm gonna clean your plough.

That's pretty fat there, ain't it, boy? Huh?

Now, outside there's a police car.

You're gonna pick up that bag.

You're gonna walk out, and you're

gonna plant yourself in the back.

And you're gonna be

a real nice quiet boy all the way in.

You hear?!

C'mon, boy.

Move it!

Chief here?

- Hey, what's up, Sam?

- (Sam) Chief?

What's goin' on?

- Sam?

- (squeaking)


(quicker clattering)

- Wood?

- Yes, sir?

When's the last time I asked Courtney

to get oil for this damn thing?

Uh, last Wednesday.

Would you be kind enough to go outside

and remind him what day it is today?

Well, uh... how about the prisoner here?

Don't you worry about him.

Got a name, boy?

Virgil Tibbs.


Well, I don't think we're gonna

have any trouble, are we, Virgil?

No trouble at all.

Oh, you can go now, Sam.

Yes, sir.

- What did you hit him with?

- Hit whom?

"Whom"? Whom?

You a Northern boy? What's a Northern

boy like you doin' all the way down here?

- I was waiting for the train.

- There ain't no trains this time of mornin'.

- Tuesdays only. 4.05 to Memphis.

- You say.

(train horn in distance)

Well... All right, you say right.

All right... Virgil.


Now look.

I try to run a nice, clean, safe town here.

A town where a man can sneeze and not

get his brains beat out. You follow me?


Why don't you tell me how you killed

Mr Colbert? You'll feel a whole lot better.


Not now!

I was visiting my mother.

I came in on the 12.35 from Brownsville.

I was waiting to go out on the 4.05.



And meanwhile, you killed yourself

a white man and picked yourself up $200!

I earned that money,

ten hours a day, seven days a week.

Coloured can't earn that. It's more than I

make in a month! Where did you earn it?!

- Philadelphia.

- Mississippi?

- Pennsylvania.

- Just how do you earn that kinda money?

I'm a police officer.

(throws badge on desk)

Oh, yeah.

- Wood!

- Yes, sir!

- Did you question this man?

- No, sir.

Would you mind taking a look at that?

Yeah! Oh, yeah!

I'll check on this wise city boy.

You take him outside and hold him.

Yes, sir.

May I suggest that you call my chief

rather than send a wire or anything?

I mean, it would be quicker.

And I'll pay for the call.

Did you hear? Did you hear him

say he'd pay for the call?

How much do they pay you

to do their police work?

$162.39 per week.


$162.39 a week!

Well, boy! Take him outside, Wood.

But treat him easy,

because a man that

makes $162.39 a week -

man, we do not wanna ruffle him!

No, sir!

Courtney... would you try

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Stirling Silliphant

Stirling Dale Silliphant (January 16, 1918 – April 26, 1996) was an American screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his screenplay for In the Heat of the Night, for which he won an Academy Award in 1967, and for creating the television series Naked City and Route 66. Other features as screenwriter include the Irwin Allen productions The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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