IMDb > Do the Right Thing (1989)
Do the Right Thing
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Do the Right Thing (1989) More at IMDbPro »

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Do the Right Thing -- 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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Spike Lee (written by)
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Release Date:
21 July 1989 (USA) See more »
It's the hottest day of the summer. You can do nothing, you can do something, or you can...
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 8 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Creative, but definitely not flawless See more (372 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Danny Aiello ... Salvatore 'Sal' Fragione

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

Samuel L. Jackson ... Mister Señor Love Daddy (as Sam Jackson)

Rosie Perez ... Tina

Roger Guenveur Smith ... Smiley

Steve White ... Ahmad

Martin Lawrence ... Cee

Leonard L. Thomas ... Punchy (as Leonard Thomas)
Christa Rivers ... Ella

Frank Vincent ... Charlie

Luis Antonio Ramos ... Stevie (as Luis Ramos)
Richard Habersham ... Eddie

Gwen McGee ... Louise

Steve Park ... Sonny
Ginny Yang ... Kim
Sherwin Park ... Korean Child

Shawn Elliott ... Puerto Rican Icee Man
Diva Osorio ... Carmen
Chris Delaney ... Stevie's Friends
Ángel Ramírez ... Stevie's Friends
Sixto Ramos ... Stevie's Friends

Nelson Vasquez ... Stevie's Friends
Travell Lee Toulson ... Hector

Joel Nagle ... Sergeant
David E. Weinberg ... Plainclothes Detective
Yattee Brown ... Double Dutch Girl
Mecca Brunson ... Double Dutch Girl
Shawn Stainback ... Double Dutch Girl
Soquana Wallace ... Double Dutch Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Erik Dellums ... Customer in Pizzeria (uncredited)
Leland Hardy ... Riot Starter (uncredited)

Garry Pastore ... P.O. Bonamo (uncredited)
John Michael Quinn ... Policeman (uncredited)

Nicholas Turturro ... Extra (uncredited)

Directed by
Spike Lee 
Writing credits
Spike Lee (written by)

Produced by
Jon Kilik .... line producer
Spike Lee .... producer
Monty Ross .... co-producer
Original Music by
Bill Lee 
Cinematography by
Ernest R. Dickerson  (as Ernest Dickerson)
Film Editing by
Barry Alexander Brown 
Casting by
Robi Reed 
Production Design by
Wynn Thomas 
Set Decoration by
Steve Rosse 
Costume Design by
Ruth E. Carter  (as Ruth Carter)
Makeup Department
Matiki Anoff .... makeup artist
Larry M. Cherry .... hair stylist (as Larry Cherry)
Marianna Najjar .... additional makeup artist
Production Management
R.W. Dixon .... unit manager
Preston L. Holmes .... production supervisor (as Preston Holmes)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nandi Bowe .... second assistant director
Randy Fletcher .... first assistant director
Christopher Lopez .... second second assistant director (as Chris Lopez)
Art Department
Anthony Baldasare .... set dresser
Jeff Balsmeyer .... storyboard artist
Patricia Bases .... scenic artist
Sherman Benjamin .... shop production assistant
Michael L. Benson .... set dresser (as Michael Lee Benson)
Martin Bernstein .... construction coordinator
James R. Bilz .... set dresser (as James Bilz)
James Boniece .... construction grip (as James Bonice)
Dennis Bradford .... assistant art director
David Bromberg .... construction grip
Lawrence Casey .... scenic artist
Rodney Clark .... carpenter
Dominic Ferrara .... carpenter (as Dominic Ferrar)
Jeffrey L. Glave .... chargeman
Jonathan Graham .... construction grip
Harold Horn .... carpenter
Marc Henry Johnson .... second assistant props
Richard C. Kerekes .... construction grip (as Rich Kerekes)
Joyce Kubalak-Szafilita .... second scenic artist (as Joyce Kubalak)
Kevin Ladson .... third assistant props
Andrew Lassman .... additional assistant props (as Andy Lassman)
Timothy Main .... carpenter
Charlie Marroquin .... construction grip (as Charles Marroquin)
Chris Miller .... carpenter
Jeff Miller .... scenic artist
Monique Mitchell .... construction grip
Octavio Molina .... property master
Ken Nelson .... key set builder
Michael O'Dell Green .... assistant art director (as Michael Green)
Carl Peterson .... construction grip
Carl Prinzi .... construction grip
Thomas Hudson Reeve .... set dresser
Scott Rosenstock .... lead man
Jon Rudo .... assistant set decorator
Rosalie Russino .... shop person
Twad Schuetrum .... carpenter
Mark Paul Selemon .... first assistant props (as Mark Selemon)
Pam Stephens .... art department coordinator
Bryan Unger .... construction grip
Keith Wall .... key set dresser
Robert Woods Jr. .... construction production assistant
Jeff Naparstek .... set dresser (uncredited)
Jeffrey Rollins .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Abdul Malik Abbott .... cableman production assistant
Nzingha Clarke .... apprentice sound editor
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist
Michael DiCosimo .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby (as Mike DiCosimo)
William Docker .... apprentice sound editor
James Flatto .... assistant sound editor
Tom Fleischman .... sound re-recording mixer
Rudy Gaskins .... sound editor
Eugene Gearty .... sound editor (as Gene Gearty)
Charles R. Hunt .... cableman production assistant (as Charles Hunt)
Skip Lievsay .... sound designer
Marissa Littlefield .... assistant sound editor
Tony Martinez .... sound editor
Bruce Pross .... sound editor
Nic Ratner .... assistant sound editor
Andrew Schmetterling .... boom operator (as Andy Schmetterling)
Gail Showalter .... foley editor
Stuart Stanley .... sound editor
Jeffrey Stern .... dialogue editor (as Jeff Stern)
Frank Stettner .... sound recordist
Philip Stockton .... supervising dialogue editor
Brunilda Torres .... adr editor
George A. Lara .... foley mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
John Berry .... special effects assistant (as John N. Berry)
Wilfred Caban .... special effects assistant
Paul Colangelo .... special effects assistant (as Paul Collangello)
David Fletcher .... special effects assistant (as Dave Fletcher)
William D. Harrison .... special effects assistant (as Bill Harrison)
Don Hewitt .... special effects assistant
Steven Kirshoff .... special effects (as Steve Kirshoff)
William Vanderputten .... special effects assistant (as William Van Der Putten)
Denis Zack .... special effects assistant (as Dennis Zack)
Danny Aiello III .... stunt double: Sal
Chantal Collins .... stunt coordinator assistant
Andy Duppin .... stunts
Gary Frith .... stunts
Rashon Khan .... stunts
Erik Koniger .... stunts
Francine Renee Lawrence .... stunt coordinator assistant
Malcolm Livingston .... stunts
David S. Lomax .... stunts
Dominic Marcus .... stunts
Eric Payne .... stunts (as Eric A. Payne)
Eddie Smith .... stunt coordinator
Roy Thomas .... stunts
Mharaka Washington .... stunt driver
Tom Wright .... stunts
Hugh Aodh O'Brien .... stunts (uncredited)
Garry Pastore .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Stuart Allen .... crane technician: Louma crane
John Archibald .... additional grip
Erich Augenstein .... additional grip
Rodney Bauer .... third grip
Donald Bialer .... additional grip (as Donald Bailer)
James Boorman .... electrician
Jonathan Burkhart .... first assistant camera
Addison Cook .... electric trainee
Val DeSalvo .... best boy (as Val Desalvo)
Bob Gorelick .... additional assistant camera
Charles Houston .... gaffer
Robert Ippolito .... key grip
Roger Kimpton .... additional grip
David Lee .... still photographer
Juan Lopez .... electric trainee
Darnell Martin .... second assistant camera
Serge Mihajlov .... third electrician (as Sergei Mihajlov)
John Newby .... camera operator
Rex North .... dolly grip
John O'Malley .... third electrician
George Pattison .... additional camera operator
Frank Prinzi .... additional camera operator
Paul Reuter .... additional assistant camera (as Paul S. Reuter)
Derrick Still .... generator operator
Marcus Turner .... grip trainee
Christopher Vanzant .... electrician
Paul Wachter .... best boy
Casting Department
Sarah Hyde Hamlet .... extras casting (as Sarah Hyde-Hamlet)
Andrea Reed .... casting assistant
Tracy Vilar .... casting production assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michèle Boissière Armstrong .... wardrobe production assistant (as Michele Boissiere)
Valerie Gladstone-Appel .... wardrobe seamstress (as Valerie A. Gladstone)
Karen Perry .... assistant costume designer
Jennifer Ruscoe .... wardrobe supervisor
Millicent Shelton .... wardrobe production assistant
Editorial Department
Tula Goenka .... assistant editor
Bob Hagans .... color timer
John Nicolard .... color timer
Noëlle Penraat .... negative matcher
Leander T. Sales .... apprentice editor (as Leander Sales)
Music Department
Elena Barere .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Kenny Barron .... musician: piano, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Sandra Billingslea .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Terence Blanchard .... musician: trumpet, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Alfred Brown .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Alfred V. Brown)
Carol Buck .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
John R. Dexter .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Lewis Eley .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Barry Finclair .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Michael Fleming .... musician: bass, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Michael M. Fleming)
Eileen M. Folson .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Maureen Gallagher .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Winterton Garvey .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Kenneth Gordon .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Donald Harris .... musician: alto saxophone, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Juliette Hassner .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Richard Hendrickson .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Richard Henrickson)
Cecelia Hobbs Gardner .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Cecelia A. Hobbs)
Robert Hurst .... musician: bass, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Regis Iandiorio .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Marlon Jordan .... musician: trumpet, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Gregory Komar .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Bill Lee .... conductor: The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as William J.E. Lee)
Patmore Lewis .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Charles Libove .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Joe Malin .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Joseph Malin)
Branford Marsalis .... musician: tenor and soprano saxophone, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Lois Martin .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Lois E. Martin)
Melissa Meel .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Diane Monroe .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Louann Montesi .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Paul Peabody .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Marion Pinheiro .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Marion J. Pinheiro)
John Pintavalle .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Rufus Reid .... musician: bass, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Maxine Roach .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Alvin Rogers .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Alvin E. Rodgers)
Bruce Rogers .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Elliot Rosoff .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Alen W. Sanford .... musician: violin, concert master, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Astrid Schween .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Mark Orrin Shuman .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Laura J. Smith .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Alex Steyermark .... music editor
Gerald Tarack .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Lesa Terry .... musician: violin, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Zela Terry .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
James 'Jabbo' Ware .... music copyist
Jeff 'Tain' Watts .... musician: drums, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
James Williams .... musician: piano, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Harry Zaratzian .... musician: viola, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Frederic Zlotkin .... musician: cello, The Natural Spiritual Orchestra (as Frederick Zlotkin)
Mervyn Warren .... music producer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
William K. Gaskins .... driver (as Willi Gaskins)
Clifford Johnson .... driver
Sullie Jordan .... driver
Brian Maxwell .... driver
Martin Whitfield .... driver
Carlos Williams .... driver
Other crew
Richard Beaumont .... intern
Kai Bowe .... intern
Kenny Buford .... set production assistant
Steve Burnett .... office production assistant
Beverly Cable .... electric production assistant (as Beverly C. Jones)
Dawn Cain .... intern
Fritz Celestin .... intern
Spencer Charles .... set production assistant
Holly Chase .... auditor
Melissa A. Clark .... intern
Eric Daniel .... set production assistant
Arlene Donnelly .... intern
Robin Downes .... assistant production office coordinator
Mike Ellis .... set production assistant (as Michael Ellis)
Peggy Farrell .... provider: Malcolm X/Martin Luther King Jr. photos
Susan D. Fowler .... production coordinator: Forty Acres
Michael Gaynor .... dailies projectionist
Joe Gonzalez .... script supervisor
Juliette Harris .... intern
Stanley G. Hunte .... violins contractor: The Natural Spiritual Orchestra
Eddie Joe .... set production assistant
Stephanie Jones .... set production assistant
Erik Knight .... set production assistant (as Erik Night)
Avril Lacour-Hartnagel .... product placement coordinator
James Leavey .... teamster captain (as Jim Leavey)
Ernie Mapp .... intern
Mitchell Marchand .... intern
Sam Mattingly .... unit publicist
Jacki Newson .... intern
Robert Nickson .... production controller
Fred Nielson .... set production assistant (as Frederick Nielsen)
Judith Norman .... office production assistant
Eric Oden .... assistant auditor
Alexander Ostrovsky .... piano tuner
Brent Owens .... location manager
Rosie Perez .... choreographer
Traci Proctor .... intern
Kia B. Puriefoy .... set production assistant (as Kia Puriefoy)
Lillian Pyles .... production office coordinator
Sara Renaud .... intern
Bruce Roberts .... set production assistant
Carolyn Rouse .... intern
Astrid Roy .... intern
Otis Sallid .... choreographer
Cheryl Ann Scott .... craft service
Art Sims .... logo designer: "Do the Right Thing"
Sharoya N. Smalls .... intern
Alan C. Smith .... intern
Audra C. Smith .... production assistant: Forty Acres
Susan Stuart .... intern
Karen Taylor .... intern
Jean Warner .... intern
Dale Watkins .... set production assistant
Gail White .... intern
Latanya White .... intern
Monique Williams .... intern
Randall Balsmeyer .... title designer (uncredited)
Kim Delgado .... adr loop group (uncredited)
Grant Harper Reid .... location scout (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
120 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

According to President Barack Obama at a fundraiser in New York, he and First Lady Michelle Obama saw the movie on their first date in 1989 though they were also planning on seeing Driving Miss Daisy (1989).See more »
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
[first lines]
Mister Senor Love Daddy:Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Fight the PowerSee more »


How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is this movie based on a book?
What is the connection between Radio Raheem and Michael Stewart?
See more »
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Creative, but definitely not flawless, 22 June 2006
Author: Konquest from United States

It's sometimes difficult to separate artists' public statements from the work they're commenting on, or to ignore the politically charged aura a film generates. There's always that nagging feeling that a movie's point must be sussed out, that the real intentions of the filmmaker must be understood. But in retrospect--and despite director Spike Lee's rhetoric--Do the Right Thing may not be as profound as previously thought. While it should be applauded for taking on the subject of race without Hollywood's usual heavy-handedness, simply presenting a topic doesn't automatically mean anything is actually being said about that topic.

Whatever problems there are with the content, Do the Right Thing is still great film-making. It's a vibrant, passionate, funny movie, and like a true work of art, it both surprises and provokes. It's technically audacious and features one of the most successful displays of stifling, suffocating heat ever put on film.and it does it without being languid itself. The dialogue is fast paced, the characters energetic, and the camera-work unpredictable, full of clever pans and Twilight Zone angles. And, except for the always excruciating Martin Lawrence, the performances are uniformly good throughout. Lee also manages to out-Altman Altman by presenting a large cast of characters without it ever becoming confusing or disjointed.

Taking place over the course of one scorching day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, most of the action occurs in and around a pizzeria run by Sal (Danny Aiello) and his sons Pino and Vito (John Turturro, Richard Edson). But the entire neighborhood is featured as the film intercuts between various exchanges, many of them tinged with racial overtones: while Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) challenges a white tenement owner when he feels slighted, down the street three men debate the right of a Korean to own a variety store in "their" neighborhood.

There are personal moments as well: Da Mayor (Ossie Davis) continually attempts to soften Mother Sister's (Ruby Dee) opinion of him, while Mookie (Lee) juggles time between his job at Sal's and his increasingly aggravated girlfriend (Rosie Perez). Although Lee doesn't have the time to make all his characters three-dimensional, he avoids sentimentalizing or demonizing any one group; there are both blacks and whites who are sympathetic (Sal, Da Mayor) and troublesome (Pino, Radio Raheem). Only the Korean storeowner played by Steven Parks is a blatant caricature. (Asians seem to get short shrift no matter who is behind the camera.) Presiding over the action is disc jockey Senor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson). Like Wolfman Jack in American Graffiti, he provides ongoing background music, as well as periodic commentary.

Eventually, the heat and personal tensions culminate in an explosion of violence centered on Sal's pizzeria. The violence escalates after one of the characters is killed. It's at this point that the film becomes problematic. The murder is supposed to be a tragedy, meant to provoke outrage in the audience. But the killing of a fictional character isn't enough in itself to warrant a reaction. It's not that audiences are jaded, but drama usually elicits judgement based on the narrative alone. If a character is a jerk, his death won't elicit much of a response. Like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Do the Right Thing relies too heavily on the personal baggage audiences are supposedly bringing to the film. Drawing on contemporary events and feelings may be provocative, but it dates the film and makes for poor drama. The reactions of Mookie and Mother Sister to the murder may have been understandable to a disenfranchised group, but in the context of the plot they appear unmotivated, almost random.

The somewhat ambiguous nature of the movie could easily be trumpeted as a selling point. Lee doesn't want to hold your hand; he wants you to make up your own mind. But there is a fine line between "bravely ambiguous" and "maddeningly directionless." While Oliver Stone continually has been pilloried for his blatantly didactic films, there is something to be said for being recklessly personal and taking a stand. Lee made a movie about racism; but we're so starved for challenging works, for thematically mature movies, we've embraced a film that ultimately says nothing more than "racism is bad" and "no one person or group is to blame."

The simplistic ideals of Do the Right Thing are most evident in four scenes: 1) Love Daddy lists practically every major black musician from the last fifty years; 2) in an overly contrived sequence, Mookie gets Pino to admit that his cultural heroes are all black (Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy, and Prince); 3) Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan are all mentioned; 4) the words "Tawana Told the Truth" appear spray painted on a wall (a reference to the Tawana Brawley controversy of 1987). No differentiation is made between the listed artists, and no context is given for the black leaders mentioned. These aren't explorations of racially-charged issues, it's just name dropping.

Despite its flaws, Do the Right Thing provokes discussion. It's an impossible film to dismiss. Spike Lee's subsequent career has turned out to be a disappointment, but Do the Right Thing, along with Malcolm X, represent Lee at his creative peak.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Do the Right Thing (1989)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I understand why the crowd was upset at Raheem's death joshjoned
Why was Mother Sister screaming? joshmas
divided sympathies denham
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
People who call this movie racist are missing the point russok044
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