Film: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

A 1967 comedy-drama film, directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier, about the struggles of an outwardly-liberal San Francisco couple coming to grips with the fact that their daughter is suddenly (as in after meeting him just 10 days earlier) engaged to an African-American doctor.

The film was the most successful of Kramer's films, and Tracy's last film. It was so successful that it even killed the old bugaboo of fearing the loss of Southern state cinemas for any film starring an African-American. It was remade (with a twist) in 2005 as Guess Who, with Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac and Zoe Saldana.


  • Blatant Lies: The scene of Chris firing her racist employee is immediately followed by Joey telling Chris that she should fire the woman. Chris says that seems a bit harsh and that Joey gets her ruthless streak from her father.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Both halves of the couple.
  • Doing It for the Art: The film's studio backers were initially concerned that the terminally ill Tracy would be unable to make it through the shooting. Kramer and Hepburn put up some of their salaries to back up Tracy's insurance coverage.
  • Dramedy
  • Dutch Angle: There is a very random one in the scene where the maid, Tilly, tells John that he shouldn't marry Joanna.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Everything happens over the course of a single day and evening.
  • Flat Character: A fairly common criticism of both John and Joanna, see below. Joanna originally had a passage of dialogue that could've potentially given the character a bit more depth, but it was ultimately cut.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: John and Joanna who fell in love within 20 minutes and were engaged after knowing each other for a little over a week.
  • Happily Married: Matt and Christina Drayton. It's what gives Matt his eventual insight into why he shouldn't stand in the way of John and Joanna's marriage, and stands behind every line of his speech at movie's end.
  • Irish Priest: Monsignor Ryan.
  • Mammy: Tilly, through and through.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage
  • Positive Discrimination: Poitier's character is so ridiculously perfect in every conceivable way that he hardly seems human.note  This was deliberate (if a bit Anvilicious) on the part of the filmmakers, so that the only possible objection to his marrying Joanna would be his race (and the fact she had only known him for ten days).
    • This is lampshaded by Matt after he has someone check up on John. "I can certainly understand why he didn't have much to say about himself. Who the hell would believe him?!"
  • Real-Life Relative: Katharine Houghton, who plays Joey, was Katharine Hepburn's real-life niece.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: An easy-listening choral rendition of the standard "The Glory of Love".
  • Rousing Speech: Matt Drayton's closing monologue is a picture-perfect example of one.
  • Those Two Actors: This was the ninth and final screen pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
  • Title Drop: What Christina does when informing her husband that John's parents would be joining them for dinner.
  • Tomboyish Name: Joey (Joanna) and Chris (Christina)
  • Where Da White Women At?: John gets accused of the more negative stereotype of this by the maid.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: What Joanna comes off as. As John said, "Itís not just that our color difference doesnít matter to her. Itís that she doesnít seem to think there is any difference."