- Adaptation Displacement
- Award Snub: Modern viewers will probably be shocked to find out that Sidney Poitier wasn't even nominated for a Oscar for portraying Mr. Tibbs.
- Ear Worm: The theme song by Ray Charles (which became a moderate pop hit at the time) and "Foul Owl on the Prowl" (later covered by Norah Jones and her Alternative Country band The Little Willies).
- Jerkass Woobie: Gillespie.
"Now, look. I got no wife. I got no kids. Boy, I got a town that don't want me. And I got an air conditioner that I have to oil myself, and a desk with a busted leg. And on top of that, I got this, uh...place. Now, don't you think that'd drive a man to takin' a few drinks? I'll tell you a secret. Nobody comes here. Never."
- Narm: The fight between Virgil and the first racist mob is choreographed in such a way that, despite being four on one, all the goons ever do is whap on Virgil's pole with a shovel and take harmless swipes at him. This is because Tibbs is trapped, which means they can wait for him to get tired.
- Suspiciously Similar Song:
- Norman Jewison wanted the song on the diner jukebox to be "Li'l Red Riding Hood" by Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs, but they couldn't get the rights (licensing pop songs for movies being almost unheard of in 1967), so composer Quincy Jones and lyricists Alan & Marilyn Bergman wrote the new but very similar "Foul Owl on the Prowl" for the diner scene.
- Similarly, "Bow-Legged Polly and Knock-Kneed Paul" (which Officer Wood listens to while patrolling the neighborhood in his car) is a thinly-disguised rewrite of Roger Miller's "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd".
YMMV / In the Heat of the Night