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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.



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



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


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


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


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

21 July 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heatwave  »


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »


Just after the guy pee's on the wall; his friend is wiping his forehead and the towel changes from his left to right hand between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Mister Senor Love Daddy: Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!
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Spoofed in Dear White People: Chapter VII (2017) See more »


Tu y Yo
Music and lyrics by Rubén Blades
Performed by Rubén Blades
R.B. Productions, Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Elektra Records
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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.

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