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Film / Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

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


  • The Ace: John is a very accomplished and well-respected doctor.
  • Age-Gap Romance: It's downplayed compared with the racial difference, but John is 37 (and a widower) while Joey is 23.
  • 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.
  • Dutch Angle: There is a very random one in the scene where the maid, Tilly, tells John that he shouldn't marry Joanna. It's almost an example of Hitler Cam: John is much taller than Tilly and the angle is chosen so that they appear to the viewer as if they have the same height. The reason? Probably to show that Tilly isn't impressed by John (not even physically) and has no qualms and no fear to be harsh with him.
  • 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. She 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.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: John is black, Joanna is white. Their parents don't approve, at least at first, because of the dangers they would face as a mixed couple and that their children would face as mixed race people.
  • Meet the In-Laws: A white woman brings home her black fiancee to meet her parents. His parents later show up as well. The film came out in 1967 when it was a very controversial subject.
  • Title Drop: What Christina does when informing her husband that John's parents would be joining them for dinner.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: John's father believes that working hard to raise him gives him the right to butt in on his marriage. John furiously tells him off for this.
    John: Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you're supposed to do! Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me, like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don't own me!
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: What Joanna comes off as. As John says, "It's not just that our color difference doesn’t matter to her; it's that she doesn’t seem to think there is any difference."