A Raisin in the Sun

Drama | English | 128 minutes


The Youngers are a lower middle-class black family living in Chicago’s South Side. After the death of the family patriarch, they will receive $10,000 from the life insurance company. The stress builds as the family members have different ideas how the money should be spent.  The matriarch, Lena Younger, wants to buy a house in the nicer neighborhood of Clybourne Park; her son, Walter, wants to invest in a liquor store believing it’s the way  the family will achieve financial independence; daughter Beneatha would like to use the funds to pay for medical school. Lena invests $3,500 as a down payment on a house, gives Walter $3,500 to invest in the liquor store, and sets aside $3,000 for Beneatha’s medical school.  Trouble occurs when Walter’s partner in the liquor store absconds with Walter’s $3,500 investment. They are next visited by Mark Lindner, a member of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, who offers the Youngers money if they don’t move to the community. Lena must hold the family together as they weather the storm.  

Sidney Poitier (Walter Lee Younger) / Claudia McNeil (Lena Younger) / Ruby Dee (Ruth Younger) / Diana Sands (Beneatha Younger) / John Fiedler (Mark Lindner)
Why Stream This Film?
Raisin in the Sun is about a black family agonizing about ways to spend the proceeds from a life insurance policy after the death of the patriarch. But what makes this such an extraordinary film is these conflicts   could  happen to any family, regardless of race or ethnic origin.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 90%
  • Metacritic Score: 87
  • BAFTA Awards: Nominated, Best Actor (Sidney Poitier); Best Actress (Claudia McNeil)
  • Cannes Film Festival: Nominated, Palme d’Or; Winner, Best Director (Daniel Petrie)
  • National Board of Review: Winner, Best Supporting Actress (Ruby Dee)
  • Raisin in the Sun was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 
Hansberry’s lovely adaptation of her 1959 Broadway hit about a black family in financial straights reunites seven of the original cast in the film version. Director Daniel Petrie had to pull out all stops to keep it from being stage-bound, and, with the help of cinematographer Charles Lawton, he succeeded.


Lorraine Hansberry’s fine play, A RAISIN in the SUN, has been turned into an equally fine screen drama. Miss Hansberry, and the director, Daniel Petrie, have agreed that its drama takes place mainly in the hearts of its people, and they wanted to keep it as close to those vitals as they could.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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