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Do the Right Thing (1989)

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On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
Reviews
Popularity
2,362 ( 300)

Director's Trademarks: Your Guide to Spike Lee Joints

Get a closer look at the cinematic stylings of BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee to discover what Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and Inside Man have in common.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Aiello ... Sal
Ossie Davis ... Da Mayor
Ruby Dee ... Mother Sister
Richard Edson ... Vito
Giancarlo Esposito ... Buggin Out
Spike Lee ... Mookie
Bill Nunn ... Radio Raheem
John Turturro ... Pino
Paul Benjamin ... ML
Frankie Faison ... Coconut Sid
Robin Harris ... Sweet Dick Willie
Joie Lee ... Jade
Miguel Sandoval ... Officer Ponte
Rick Aiello ... Officer Long
John Savage ... Clifton
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Storyline

This film looks at life in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn on a hot summer Sunday. As he does everyday, Sal Fragione opens the pizza parlor he's owned for 25 years. The neighborhood has changed considerably in the time he's been there and is now composed primarily of African-Americans and Hispanics. His son Pino hates it there and would like nothing better than to relocate the eatery to their own neighborhood. For Sal however, the restaurant represents something that is part of his life and sees it as a part of the community. What begins as a simple complaint by one of his customers, Buggin Out - who wonders why he has only pictures of famous Italian-Americans on the wall when most of his customers are black - eventually disintegrates into violence as frustration seemingly brings out the worst in everyone. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's the hottest day of the summer. You can do nothing, you can do something, or you can...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Spanish | Korean

Release Date:

21 July 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heatwave See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$27,545,445
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Earl Jones was originally offered the role of "Da Mayor", but turned it down in order to make Best of the Best (1989). See more »

Goofs

The bicyclist walks past him on the left; but the black mark is on the right side of his shoe. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mister Senor Love Daddy: Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Danny Aiello/Coolio (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Lift Every Voice and Sing
Music and Lyrics by James Weldon Johnson and Rosamond Johnson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
practically the definition of a must-see movie
6 April 2001 | by diffusionxSee all my reviews

I have heard people describe Spike Lee as a second-rate filmmaker; all I have to say is that second-rate filmmakers do not make films like this. Do the Right Thing is a masterpiece in both style and substance, and Im hard pressed to think of a more powerful, earth-shattering film.

But first, let's talk about the style. The color palette of the movie is wonderful; while its mostly deep reds, they manage to bring home the feeling that the residents of Bed-Stuy must have been feeling on that day. The cinematography is excellent... it features a lot of weird viewpoints and angles, but they are used to great effect and manage to work within the style of the film. One thing that really managed to impress me about the film is the razor sharp dialogue... each character has their own style of talking, and it really works well. This is a masterfully written film.

Now the substance... this movie manages to spiral into a truly spectacular ending. Throughout, its easy to see the necessary elements building, and, when it happens, it hardly seems like a surprise, but that doesn't make it any less shattering. The way that each character acts defines this movie throughout, especially at the end! Spike Lee does a brilliant job here. The movie is interesting and well-made throughout; each of the characters are three-dimensional and feel like real human beings - their motivation is understood throughout.

Do the Right Thing is a brilliant movie that never lags and never lets up. It manages to be vastly entertaining and vastly powerful at the same time. It's truly an amazing achievement in film, and its a shame it was not recognized more for its obvious brilliance when it was released in 1989.


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