A Raisin In The Sun Movie (1989) – What You Need to Know

A Raisin In The Sun is a classic film that was released in 1989. The movie is based on a play by Lorraine Hansberry. It tells the story of an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago during the 1950s. The film stars Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ruby Dee.

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A Raisin in the Sun is a groundbreaking play by Lorraine Hansberry, originally produced in 1959. The play centers around the Younger family, an African American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. The play was adapted into a film in 1989, directed by Bill Duke and starring Danny Glover, Esther Rolle, and Debbie Allen.

The film follows the storyline of the play closely, but there are some key differences worth noting. Firstly, the film is set in the present day, whereas the play is set in the 1950s. This allows for some updated references and a more modern feel. secondly, several scenes from the play are cut from the film. For example, there is no mention of Walter Lee’s job at the soda fountain or Beneatha’s visit to the optometrist.

Despite these changes, A Raisin in the Sun remains a powerful and moving story about race, family, and what it means to chase your dreams. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking film with excellent performances, this is definitely one to watch.


The title of the film is taken from the poem “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. The film tells the story of a black family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. The head of the household is Walter Younger, who dreams of becoming a success in business so he can provide for his family and improve their lives. However, Walter’s plans are constantly thwarted by racism, poverty, and his own lack of self-confidence.

The film explores themes of family, race, and poverty in America, and is considered an important work of African-American cinema. A Raisin in the Sun was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Themes and Motifs

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun was first published in 1959 and was immediately acclaimed as a ground-breaking work. It was the first play by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, and it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play of the Year. The play is set in the early 1950s, a time when racial tensions were high in the United States. The action takes place in a small apartment on the South Side of Chicago, where a black family is struggling to make ends meet.

The play focuses on two main themes: the importance of family and theDream. The family in A Raisin in the Sun is closely knit, despite their differences. They are all struggling to realize their dreams, and they support each other through thick and thin. The Dream is an important motif in the play, representing both the American Dream and the dreams of individuals. The characters are constantly striving to achieve their dreams, but they often find that reality does not match up to their expectations.

A Raisin in the Sun is a powerful and timeless story about achievement, hope, and humanity.


In Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, the Younger family receives an insurance check that gives them the opportunity to leave their cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago and move to a better neighborhood. The decision of what to do with the money is fraught with symbolically loaded choices.

The house they eventually buy is in Clybourne Park, an all-white neighborhood. The Youngers are the first black family to live there, and they are not welcomed by their new neighbors. This is a symbol of the larger issue of racism in America.

The house also symbolizes the American dream of owning a home. For the Youngers, it is a way out of poverty and a chance for a better life. However, because of racism, they are not able to fully enjoy their new home or share it with other family members.

The play ends with Mama planting a garden in the backyard of the house. This symbolizes hope and growth for the future. despite all the challenges they face, the Youngers are still able to find some happiness and make a new life for themselves.

Important Quotes

“Mama, I want you to know I love you. Walks this earth, there is no greater woman.” – Walter

“There’s always been enough for me. But not for my dreams.” – Lena Younger

“It takes a whole lotta livin’ for a man to understand himself.” – George Murchison


The Characters
Ruth Younger – A 51-year-old African American woman and the matriarch of the Younger family. She is the widow of Walter Lee Younger, Sr., and works as a housekeeper to support her family. Ruth is a pious woman who tithes regularly and takes her role as the head of the household seriously. She is also a very guilty person who feels responsible for her husband’s death and is deeply hurt by her son’s abandonment.

Walter Lee Younger, Jr. – also known as “Walt” or “Honey,” he is the 25-year-old son of Ruth and Walter Sr., and the brother of Beneatha and Lindner. Walt is an ambitious man who dreams of making something of himself. He wants to open his own business, but he has trouble finding the money to do it. Walt is frustrated with his job as a chauffeur and resents his mother for not letting him have more control over their finances. He is also jealous of Beneatha’s ambition and education, which makes him feel inferior.

Beneatha Younger – The 20-year-old daughter of Ruth and Walter Sr., Beneatha is Walt’s younger sister and Lindner’s niece. She is a college student who plans to become a doctor. Beneatha is an independent woman with strong opinions about race, religion, and politics. She has several suitors, but she is not interested in any of them because she wants more than just a “pretty face.” Beneatha eventually accepts George Murchison as her fiancé, but she does not seem genuinely happy with him.

George Murchison – A wealthy African American college student who attends school with Beneatha. George comes from a wealthy family and he expects everyone to treat him with respect. He is handsome and well-educated, but he lacks depth or substance. George tries to control Beneatha with his money, but she eventually sees through him and rejects him.

Karl Lindner – A white man who represents the Clybourne Park Improvement Association in Chicago’s predominantly white neighborhood of Clybourne Park. Lindner visits the Youngers to try to talk them out of moving into his neighborhood. He offers them money to stay put, but they refuse his offer outright.


When Walter Lee Younger, a struggling black Detroit autoworker, inherits $10,000 from his dead father’s life insurance policy, he sees it as a way to improve his family’s lot. However, Mama, the family matriarch, has other ideas. She wants to move the family out of their cramped ghetto apartment and into a white neighborhood. She also wants to use the money to open a storefront beauty parlor. Tensions rise as both Walter and Mama fight for control of the money and the future of the family.

Directed by Kenny Leon and starring Sean “Diddy” Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, and Audra McDonald, A Raisin in the Sun was produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and released by Sony Pictures Classics in 2009. The film was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards (Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture) and won one (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture).

Historical Context

Set on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s, A Raisin in the Sun follows the Younger family as they wait for a life insurance check to come through so that they can finally escape from their cramped and dilapidated apartment.

The play is important not just for its moving story and powerful performances, but for what it has to say about race relations in America. In particular, it offers a rare glimpse into what life was like for African Americans at a time when Jim Crow laws were still in effect in many parts of the country.

It is also significant for its portrayal of a strong and independent black woman in the form of Lena Younger (played by Ossie Davis in the film version). Lena is the head of her household, and she makes all of the decisions regarding how her family will use the money from the insurance policy.

A Raisin in the Sun was adapted into a successful film in 1961, starring Sidney Poitier as Walter Lee Younger. In 1989, a new version was released starring Danny Glover as Walter Lee and starring Oprah Winfrey as Lena Younger.


Critics were overall mixed in their reviews of the film. Rotten Tomatoes has the film at a 50% rating, based on 22 reviews. The site’s consensus states: “An intelligent script elevates A Raisin in the Sun above most made-for-TV movies, though it’s let down by lackluster direction and too much melodrama.” However, many critics praised the performances of actors Danny Glover and Paul Winfield.

Further Reading

If you want to know more about the A Raisin In The Sun movie (1989), here are some places you can look:

-The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has a page devoted to the movie, where you can find out more about the cast and crew, as well as user ratings and reviews.
-Rotten Tomatoes also has a page for the movie, with critic reviews and a user rating.
-You can also read the play that the movie is based on. The play was written by Lorraine Hansberry and first produced in 1959.

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