In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 dramatic mystery film directed by Norman Jewison starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, and Warren Oates. The movie is based on the 1965 John Ball novel of the same name, which tells the story of Virgil Tibbs (Poitier). Tibbs is a black police detective from Philadelphia, who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a racist small town in Mississippi.
In this scene Tibbs suspects wealthy plantation owner Eric Endicott (Larry Gates) of the murder. When he attempts to interrogate Endicott, Endicott slaps Tibbs in the face, but Tibbs slaps him back. In the original script only Endicott’s slap was written, but Poitier insisted that his character ( a northern police officer and empowered Black man) would not have allowed that to happen without striking back. Poitier instincts were right and the scene became a groundbreaking movie classic. The film won five Academy Awards, including the 1967 award for Best Picture.
In the Heat of the Night