Director: Daniel Petrie
Notable cast: Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands
Daniel Petrie’s film adaptation features the original cast that premiered the play on Broadway in 1959. Although considered a classic and officially selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2005, the film does not dramatize Hansberry’s complete script. As in the Broadway version, several scenes, including the scene with Mrs. Johnson, were excised to keep the play’s running time down.
Director: Bill Duke
Notable cast: Danny Glover, Esther Rolle, Starletta DuPois
This adaptation of the play was produced by American Playhouse for broadcast on PBS, and it is notable for the fact that it restored nearly all the scenes that had been cut from Hansberry’s original script for the Broadway premiere and the 1961 film adaptation. Danny Glover received praise for his portrayal of Walter, but some reviewers remained unmoved by Kim Yancey’s portrayal of Beneatha.
Director: Kenny Leon
Notable cast: Sean Combs, Audra McDonald, Phylicia Rashad
Kenny Leon’s 2008 adaptation was also produced for television, and it was based on the 2004 Broadway revival featuring the same cast. Critics were generally favorable toward the performances, but many noted that the film itself, though more heavily adapted than the previous film versions, still felt more like a play than cinema.
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