This musical drama focuses on the poverty-stricken residents struggling to survive in the Charleston tenement of Catfish Row. The sultry Bess (Dorothy Dandridge) becomes the object of desire of Porgy (Sidney Poitier), a disabled man who gets around in a cart. But Bess is also involved with thuggish Crown (Brock Peters) and drug dealer Sportin' Life (Sammy Davis Jr.). Crown kills a man and goes into hiding, and Bess seeks shelter with Porgy. But, when Crown returns, Porgy must take a stand.