Lorraine Hansberry's play is given sensitive treatment by filmmaker Daniel Petrie (The Bay Boy). Sidney Poitier heads a fine cast in the story of an African American family in Chicago who are struggling with mixed aspirations, not enough money, conflicts over religion, and institutional racism. The film is pretty much set-bound (as plays adapted for the screen sometimes are), but the drama is intense and moving. --Tom Keogh
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: An American Classic In Black And White Comment: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" So begins what is perhaps Langston Hughes' most famous poem "A Dream Deferred" and ends with the line, "Or does it explode?" The writer Lorraine Hansberry lifted the quotation from Hughes' powerful poem for her equally powerful award-winning play that ultimately became the 1961 film starring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee and Diana Sands, directed by Daniel Petrie for which Ms. Hansberry wrote the screenplay.
It is safe to say that America had never seen a film quite like this one coming not that long after Brown v. Board of Education and on the eve of the racial change of the 1960's. I saw the film in Syracuse, New York in 1964; and as a white Southerner, I was so pleased with myself. Now over 40 years later it has only gotten better with time. Sad to say, one need only drive though practically any neighborhood in any city in any state in the union to see that unfortunately forty years after the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act the pupose of which was to make racial discrimination in housing illegal and to promote integration many African American familes experience what the Younger family did in Chicago. They are not welcome in an all-white neighborhood and are confronted with racial prejudice when they try to purhase a home. Our nation remains racially segregated.
But the film is much more than about race. It is also about the conflict of generations and between husbands and wives. It is about pride and dreams, living your dreams through your children, the importance of family, and redemption through love. As the matriarch of the family Lena Younger says, you should never stop loving someone, particularly when they are at the lowest: "There is always something to love."
There is so much conflict in this wondrous film that it practically explodes. The acting by everyone is impeccable. Sidney Poitier, who for years was the only black actor to have received an Oscar for best actor ("Lilies of the Field") should have won an academy award for his performance as Walter Lee Younger. His confrontation with the white representative from the Community Improvement Association is as good as acting gets. "We are going to try to be good neighbors." Of course Ruby Dee is an American treasure. And Claudia McNeil is magnificent as the matriarch of the family, its moral center, who seeps love and compassion although her love is tough. There is one powerful scene (of many) where she makes her daughter Beneatha all full of dreams of Africa and medical school and no religion repeat: "In my mother's house there is a God."
If there is any lover of movies alive today who hasn't seen this particular version of this truly American story, you owe it to youself to rent what is one of the best American films ever made. Customer Rating: Summary: excellent!! a must have Comment: great movie... sidney is excellent! its one of those movies that u can watch over and over again. Customer Rating: Summary: "Raisin" doesn't wither with age!! Comment: A Raisin In The Sun is one of America's greatest tributes to cinema. In a time when racial tension was high, Lorraine Hansberry's tender and telling portrayal of a family (not necessarily a black family) and it's dreams surrounding a large sum of money soon to be coming in the mail, is heartwarming and full of hope in the midst of despair.
I showed this film to my predominantly white group of High schoolers in two sittings and they were very much "into" the play and wanted to know what happened to the family. We had a discussion group and small quiz afterward and I awarded the video to the winner. Customer Rating: Summary: THE BEST VERSION Comment: THE BEST VERSION, AS OPPOSED TO THAT P-DIDDY FAKE VERSION ON THE TELLY!!!
ROCK ON PORTIER AND DEE!!!FAR MORE REAL, IMPORTANT AND HEART WRENCHING THAN THAT IMITATION "STAR VEHICLE" BY COMBS.......IF YOU WANT THE REAL DEAL, THIS IS IT!!!!!BRAVO!!! Customer Rating: Summary: A Raisin in the Sun Comment: The DVD is of very good quality and was delivered on schedule.
It gives me the choice of two formats. It's like having two recordings for the price of one. Couldn't have done much better.