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Oprah Winfrey Documentary ‘Sidney’ Honours the Life of the Legendary Sidney Poitier

by Carolyn Lee Oct 10, 2022

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Sidney Poitier documentary
Sidney is available on Apple TV+ for streaming. Photo credit: Apple TV+

On 6 January 2022, the world lost an iconic, talented, and formidable legend – Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE. He was respected and loved locally, regionally, and internationally. Mr Poitier was known by many as a son of the soil in The Bahamas, an actor, director, civil rights activist, and diplomat. 

He was highly respected and an extremely versatile actor, racking up numerous awards and nominations throughout his illustrious career in the film industry. According to a Washington Post article, Sidney Poitier helped to revolutionise the film industry for black people in America and gave them a reason to fall in love with movies.

So, it is noteworthy that Oprah Winfrey, an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist, has produced a documentary, ‘Sidney’, which takes an inspirational look at the life and legacy of Mr Poitier. The Poitier family collaborated closely with the producers, Oprah, and Derik Murray, on Sidney.

The documentary, directed by Reginald Hudlin, was released on 23 September 2022 (US and UK) on Apple TV+. Sidney features candid interviews with an impressive roster of well-known Hollywood stars, including Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Lenny Kravitz, Spike Lee, Robert Redford, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, and Louis Gossett Jr. The cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Lulu (To Sir With Love), and Sidney’s daughter, Anika Poitier.

Since its premiere on 23 September, Sidney has had a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and favourable reviews. It is also touted as a film that will inspire generations to love and appreciate Mr Poitier’s impact and legacy.

Why should you watch the documentary?

The documentary provides a chronological overview of Sidney’s life, including his accounts of growing up on Cat Island in the Bahamas. The feature highlights his journey to stardom and becoming the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor (Lilies of the Filed, 1964) and an international film award (Venice Film Festival, 1957).

Viewers will hear accounts from close friends and relatives like Harry Belafonte, Oprah, his daughters, Joanna Shimkus (widow), Juanita Hardy (ex-wife), Nelson George (historian), Aram Goudsouzia (biographer), and others he inspired.

Sidney also spotlights Poitier’s teenage years navigating racism in Miami, struggling to break into the American Negro Theatre in Harlem, his involvement in the civil rights movement, breakthrough into mainstream Hollywood films, and becoming a megastar.

Where can you watch Sidney?

We love that Sidney Poitier’s impact and legacy are immortalised and that the documentary provides an intimate look at the man who became a legend, inspiring many. Sidney is available on Apple TV+ for streaming.

Sources: Washington Post, Government of The Bahamas, Apple TV and Press, and Roger Ebert.