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 on Characters from
E. R. Braithwaite's book, To Sir, With Love
Written by Philip Rosenberg
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Starring Sidney Poitier
Christian Payton
Dana Eskelson
Theme music composer Trevor Lawrence
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Richard Stenta
Cinematography William Birch
Editor(s) Dianne Ryder-Rennolds
Running time 92 minutes
Production company(s) Verdon-Cedric Productions, Inc.
Adelson/Baumgarten Productions, Inc.
Distributor TriStar Television
Original network CBS
Original release
  • April 7, 1996 (1996-04-07) (United States)

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


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 a history teacher. His new pupils are noisy, unruly and engaged in destructive behaviors. As he did in London, he starts by teaching them respect for others. He addresses them as Mr X or Miss Y, and expects to be called Mr. Thackeray or Sir.

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

It is revealed that as a teenager in British Guiana, he fell in love with a Chicago girl whose father had come to build a mall. They lost contact and he went to Britain to study, became a teacher and got married. He is now a widower but decided to take this teaching opportunity to find his earlier love.

At school he sets out to teach these troubled kids their true potential if they take 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 gun. Mr. Thackeray delivers it to a policeman 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 has taken a job at a newspaper, decides to investigate Thackeray's old love, Emily Taylor (Cheryl Lynn Bruce). Evie arranges an appointment for him to meet Taylor in a hospital, where he also meets Taylor's 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 not to waste his life in 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 dance. Thackeray announces that he is not going back to Britain but staying in Chicago to teach the new generation.


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