“The famous slap, where Tibbs retaliates against a racist landowner, wasn’t improvised, though, as has been suggested. I kept telling [Sidney] Poitier that Tibbs was a sophisticated detective, not used to being pushed around. I showed him how to do the slap. ‘Don’t hit him on the ear,’ I said. ‘I want you to really give him a crack on the fatty side of his cheek.’ I told him to practise on me. A black man had never slapped a white man back in an American film. We broke that taboo.
”Young black people in northern cities responded to the film in a much more visceral way than the whites did. This was the first time a black actor was wearing the fancy suit and being looked up to.”
-Director of In the Heat of the Night (1967), Norman Jewison on The Slap Heard Round The World