To Sir, with Love II

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To Sir, with Love II
To Sir, with Love II.jpg
To Sir, with Love II DVD cover
Genre Drama
Based onCharacters from
E. R. Braithwaite's book To Sir, With Love
Written byPhilip Rosenberg
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Starring Sidney Poitier
Christian Payton
Dana Eskelson
Theme music composerTrevor Lawrence
Original languageEnglish
ProducerRichard Stenta
CinematographyWilliam Birch
EditorDianne Ryder-Rennolds
Running time92 minutes
Production companies
Original network CBS
Original release
  • April 7, 1996 (1996-04-07)(United States)

To Sir, with Love II is a 1996 American television film directed by Peter Bogdanovich (his first made-for-TV film). A sequel to the 1967 British film To Sir, with Love , it stars Sidney Poitier reprising the role of Mark Thackeray. Like the first film, it deals with social issues in an inner city school. [1] [2] [3]



Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier), from British Guiana by way of California, took a teaching position in a London East End school in the 1967 film. He spent twenty years teaching and ten in administrative roles. He has taught the children of his former pupils, and is now retiring.

Thackeray's former students, Pamela Dare and Barbara Pegg (Judy Geeson and Lulu reprising their roles from the original film), come to the farewell party. Thackeray announces that he is leaving for an inner-city school in Chicago where he will teach again. In Chicago, he meets his former colleague Horace Weaver (Daniel J. Travanti), who is the principal of the school. Thackeray learns that there is an A class with good students and an H (for "horror") class for the "no-gooders". He convinces the principal to let him take the H class as, in his own admission, that is what he does best. His new pupils are noisy, unruly and engaged in destructive behaviours. As he did in London, he starts by teaching them respect for others. He addresses the pupils as Mr or Miss and their last names, and expects to be called Mr. Thackeray or Sir by them in return.

Gradually, he learns their personal stories: Wilsie (Christian Payton) is a gang leader who protects his younger brother. A black female battles against double prejudice. Evie (Dana Eskelson) hides growing up without parents to avoid being fostered. A fellow teacher, Louisa Rodriguez (Saundra Santiago), admires him.

It is revealed that as a teenager in British Guiana, Thackeray fell in love with a girl from Chicago. They lost contact and he went to Britain to study, became a teacher, and got married. Now a widower, Thackeray took this teaching opportunity hoping to find his earlier love.

At the new school, he sets out to teach the troubled students their true potential by taking their fates in their hands. He teaches about the non-violent resistance of the historic fighters of civil rights. When he discovers Wilsie smuggling a gun into the school, he confronts him and convinces him to yield the weapon and he delivers it to the police as a found object.

Later, the police pressure him to reveal the identity of the gun owner because the gun had been used to kill a police officer. He refuses and has to leave the school.

Evie, who works at a newspaper, investigates Thackeray's old love, Emily Taylor (Cheryl Lynn Bruce). Evie arranges for him to meet Taylor, and also meets her son. Thackeray learns that Taylor returned his affections, but her father kept Thackeray's letters from her because she was pregnant with Thackeray's son.

Thackeray learns that Wilsie is hiding because he thinks that the police are after him. He convinces Wilsie's brother to take him to the hiding place. Thackeray convinces Wilsie to give up violent gang life. After he confronts a rival gang looking for Wilsie, Wilsie and a friend with access to more firearms turn themselves in to the police.

The pupils stage a "stand in" to force the principal to reinstate their beloved teacher.

The term ends with a graduation ceremony, and a dance like in the original movie, where Thackeray announces that he is not returning to Britain but staying in Chicago to teach the new generation.



The film received mixed reviews. Scott Pierce of Deseret News dismissed the film as a remake of the original film, but praises Sidney Poitier for succeeding in this movie with sheer talent. [4] John Leonard of New York describes the film as "a bad idea that turned into a pretty good" one and praises Peter Bogdanovich and Philip Rosenberg for being able to "make characters in the 60s work just as well in the 90s". [5]

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  1. Tucker, Ken (April 5, 1996). "To Sir, With Love II". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  2. McCarthy, John (April 3, 1996). "CBS Sunday Movie to Sir with Love II". Variety . Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  3. James, Caryn (April 6, 1996). "Television Review: Sequel for 'To Sir With Love'". The New York Times . Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  4. Pierce, Scott (April 6, 1996). "'To Sir, with Love II' is a Remake of Original". Deseret News . Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  5. Leonard, John (April 8, 1996). "The Mix". New York Magazine. New York Media. 29 (14): 101. Retrieved September 8, 2021 via Google Books.