James Clavell’s adaptation of E.R. Braithwaite’s autobiographical novel features Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackery, a Guyanese immigrant who successfully applies for a job as a teacher at a tough East End school.
Initially confronted by hostility from his class of ill-disciplined final-year students, Thackeray slowly wins their trust by treating them with candour and respect.
A huge hit at the time, the film depicts the physical environment and social confrontation with admirable veracity allowing the intersecting contours of class, race, and gender difference, and the link between self-realisation and social cohesion, to be subtly but forcefully illuminated.
The strong cast features emerging talents like Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendall and Lulu, whose single of the theme song topped the American Billboard chart.