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Do the Right Thing (1989)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Drama  -  14 June 1989 (France)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 49,641 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 371 user | 94 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 17 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

14 June 1989 (France)  »

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

Lee wrote the script in two weeks. See more »

Goofs

Right before Sal begins to bash the radio, you can see Radio Raheem's arms on the radio as if he's leaning on it. The second Sal starts to bash the radio, you can see that Radio Raheem is standing a few feet behind the counter. See more »

Quotes

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


Soundtracks

Don't Shoot Me
Music and Lyrics by Spike Lee, Mervyn Warren, Claude McKnight, and David Thomas
Performed by Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Joey Kibble, Mark Kibble, Claude McKnight, and David Thomas as (Take 6)
Spikey-Poo Songs, Inc. (ASCAP)/Dee Mee Music/Mervyn Warren Music/Claude Vee Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Reprise/Warner Brothers Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
No more good guys.
17 December 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Do the Right Thing" is a film from 1989 directed and written by Spike Lee who also stars in the movie. The rest of the cast includes Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, and John Turturro.

The story takes place in the city of New York City, New York in the area of Brooklyn within the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. It is on one of the hottest days in the summer. The story follows the adventures of a young African-American man named Mookie who lives with his sister and works as a delivery man for a middle-aged American-Italian man named Sal who owns the local pizza parlor, "Sal's Famous Pizzeria."

Mookie's heart is not into his job at all, and doesn't take it very seriously and often slacks off from it much to Sal's dislike. Mookie also has a three-year old son with his girlfriend Tina, but is too scared to marry her, move in together, and settle down.

"Sal's Famous Pizzeria" has been standing proudly in the neighborhood for twenty-five years. Sal, and his two sons Pino and Vito are few of the only white men who work in the area which is predominantly African-American. The neighborhood was originally a largely Italian-American neighborhood until the 1960's during the civil rights movement when black people moved into the neighborhood, which caused many of the local Italians to move out.

Sal's oldest son Pino, is a huge racist and hates having to work in a black neighborhood. Pino makes it very clear that he doesn't enjoy his job and that he hates black people. Sal's other son, Vito is more open toward blacks and just the opposite of Pino, and has a good friendship with Mookie.

One of Sal's regular customers, "Buggin' Out" notices that Sal's wall of fame in the restaurant only has pictures of Italians. He asks Sal why there are no black people on the wall, and Sal tells them that this is his place, and Italian people are to be all the wall only. Buggin' Out argues that because mostly black people spend their money in there that they do have some say over the creative control of the business. This idea does not go over too well with Sal, and he kicks Buggin' Out to the streets. Buggin' Out then plans to organize a boycott of Sal's pizzeria and goes on a quest to find those who will join him.

There are other little story lines and characters within the film, but the one I described above is the main plot of the story.

It's an interesting, thought provoking film that I think everyone should see. It's a little disturbing and not a feel good movie. It's also just a tiny bit dated (but the 80's theme is all apart of the appeal in my view) the film is kinda cheesy in some parts too, but again, it is apart of the appeal of the movie. There's also some reverse racism that goes on that is intended to be comical to black audiences, but I found it to be offensive and mean.

On that note, in many of Spike Lee's movies he often has his Italian characters as either being racist bullies that the audience are suppose to hate, or unintelligent people who the audience is suppose to laugh at, and we see both of that in the characters of Pino and Vito.

There are honestly no classic cinema good guys in this film. (which is not exactly a bad thing since it makes the film more realistic.) Not even the main character Mookie is someone I would call a hero. He doesn't set a very good example for the audience. He's a complete slacker when it comes to his job, and only cares about getting paid, and yet he doesn't do much to earn the money.

Spike Lee presents a very realistic and honest look at culture clashes that sadly exist in the United States of America. Now while it's true that I personally haven't been involved with too many race conflicts, thank goodness...all one has to do is observe history, read a newspaper or watch the news to see the realism in "Do the Right Thing" that is just as alive now that it was in 1989.

The thing about this film is that almost no one is nice. Almost everyone is a very rude jerk with no manners. Some might think this movie stereotypes New Yorkers, but there were mostly New York actors in it. I can see why NYC has the rep that it does (at least among some of the people I know) for it's rudeness, and this movie does not deny it. In most cases, anytime a person is rude to another person, that person will often react by also being ruder, and that happens often in this film, and so much violence and drama could have been avoided in this picture if one person could have turned the other cheek, swallowed their pride, been polite and unselfish. I think the movie is very realistically because in real life, the exact same thing I said above applies to everyday violent human events.

The title "Do the Right Thing" is interesting...because no one does the right thing.


14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Scene with the fire hoses GunHillTrain
I understand why the crowd was upset at Raheem's death joshjoned
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
Radio Raheem was an idiot jhiller420
divided sympathies denham
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