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Do the Right Thing (1989)

 -  Drama  -  30 June 1989 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 47,442 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 349 user | 92 critic | 15 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Title: Do the Right Thing (1989)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Paul Benjamin ...
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Jade
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Clifton
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Storyline

It's the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and tensions are growing there, with the only local businesses being a Korean grocery and Sal's Pizzeria. Mookie, Sal's delivery boy, manages to always be at the center of the action. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pizzeria | hate | violence | korean | street | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

30 June 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heatwave  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$27,545,445 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The building Sal's Pizzeria was in did not exist before shooting. Rather, it was constructed on an empty lot by the production company, and subsequently torn down after shooting wrapped. See more »

Goofs

When Radio Raheem does his "love and hate" monologue, a shadow of the camera can be seen on him throughout much of the scene. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Moe Letter Blues (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Don't We Try
Music and Lyrics by Raymond Jones, Larry DeCarmine, and Vincent Morris
Performed by Keith John
Jerrelle Music Publishing (ASCAP)/Zubaidah Music, Inc./Unicity Music Publishing (ASCAP)/Hey Nineteen Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Black Bull Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
That's the double-truth, Ruth
24 May 2005 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

In all likelihood Spike Lee's most important achievement - as director, writer and actor (though to my taste Mo' Better Blues is just as good a picture) and one of the strongest films you'll see about race relations, 'Do The Right Thing' looks dated at times, but it lost none of its impact and relevance. The movie takes place in a particularly hot day in a primarily African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, and follows the various personalities who live there throughout the day; the center of the story is Sal's Famous Pizzeria - its owners, some of the few white people living in the neighborhood: Sal (Oscar nominated performance for Danny Aiello) and his two sons (John Torturro and Richard Edson), and Mookie (Spike Lee himself), the black delivery boy. What starts out as a light, entertaining movie with some amusing characters and light humor, gradually builds up tension to the point of being unbearable, up to the dramatic and tragic climax. Spike doesn't put as much emphasis on the characters themselves as he does on the relationships and the tension between them; and in this image of a very specific and small frame in time and place, makes a strong and important message about racism and race relations in general. The film is populated with many different characters, all of them very memorable and each one a representative of a certain belief, mode of behavior or state of mind - on both sides of the conflict. From the uninhibited anger of Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) and Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) on one side and Pino (John Torturro) on the other side, to Jade (Joie Lee, Spike's sister in the film and in real life) and Vito (Richard Edson), who are trying to connect and live at peace with the other side, to Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), in his isolated but peaceful state of mind, living in complete peace with the world around him, and Smiley (Roger Smith), living in his own isolated existence. Then there's Mookie, who is stuck in the middle, torn between his commitment and responsibilities to both sides. Finally we have Mister Senor Love Daddy

  • played gorgeously by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson, in one of
his finest performances - half active character and half all-knowing narrator - who represents the voice of reason in the conflict, the reason which is bound, ultimately, to collapse. Each and every character plays an important part in the climatic and dramatic conflict to which the movie builds up, and though it's the radical ones - Buggin Out and Radio Raheem - who trigger the events that cause the tragedy, they are not necessarily the ones who finish it. It is Mookie and Sal, in fact, who ultimately play the main part.

Do The Right Thing is not an easy watch; it's a mesmerizing, tense, difficult film that breaks many taboos and slaughters many holy cows. But in the end of it - hopefully - you'll be wiser than you were in the beginning, and that's what Lee have always tried to achieve in all his films. Watch it to get a real view on racism that doesn't duck the difficult issues and isn't afraid to tackle the real problem, and to see a master director at work. It's one of the best films of its time.


85 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Great film.... but Sal forgot how to run an American business. dasein_williams
I'm not racist, but I was on Sal's side. Vikingsrock158
Radio Raheem was an idiot jhiller420
divided sympathies denham
More anti-Black or anti-White? kag2
The Racist Rants Scene faulknerfan123
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