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Do the Right Thing (1989)

R  |   |  Drama  |  21 July 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 55,781 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 406 user | 100 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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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Benjamin ...


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


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

21 July 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heatwave  »

Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)


$27,545,445 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Danny Aiello admitted that he almost turned down the part of Sal when he saw that he'd be playing the owner of a pizzeria, believing it to be a lazy stereotype of Italian-Americans. See more »


The story takes place at the intersection of Bedford and Stuyvesant Avenues. In reality, the two do not cross each other, however the film was shot in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn. See more »


[first lines]
Mister Senor Love Daddy: Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!
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Featured in JonTron: Top 10 Mario Kart Tracks (2010) See more »


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

An underappreciated masterpiece
20 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

I find it a tremendous oversight that this film gets so little recognition. The American film institute couldn't find one place in one hundered American films for this cinematic masterpiece that pulls no punches . It got no academy award and most importantly I could not find one friend who had heard of it. I call this a tremendous oversight because the film is wonderful. I know that Spike Lee is a rather eccentric personality and is not well liked by everyone, but his films are brilliant and this is no exception.

For about the first two thirds of the movie the plot meanders around a section of New York City as the characters awaken and start their days. For this first two thirds we have a comedy that is funny because of the eccentric and wonderfully developed characters. The audience is pulled into the story by the rich dialogue and inventive cinematography. There is just some quality about this film that makes it seem so real. This all sets up for the imminent tragedy to be all the worse as a result of the connection the audience has with the movie.

Then the film explodes. Those who have seen it know what I mean and those who have not should see it. This last third of the film should not be explained, it must be experianced. In fact this whole film should be experianced. I can't say enough.

63 of 99 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I'm not racist, but I was on Sal's side. Vikingsrock158
Great film.... but Sal forgot how to run an American business. dasein_williams
More anti-Black or anti-White? kag2
Extra cheese is $2.00 dfwiebs
Spike Lee's acting amrowntree
Did he do 'the right thing'? What do you think? lars_fv
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