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
During the 1990 Oscar ceremony, while announcing the Best Picture nominees, Kim Basinger caused some controversy when she ignored her scripted text and said: "We've got five great films here, and they're great for one reason: because they tell the truth. But there is one film missing from this list, that deserves to be on it, because ironically, it might tell the biggest truth of all, and that's Do the Right Thing (1989)." Spike Lee would later thank her for it in a 2019 episode of the podcast "Unspooled". 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 »
Film title logo at the end of closing credits See more »
the "pan & scan" version broadcast on ITV4 truncates the conversation between Radio Raheem and the Koreans when he visits their store to replace the batteries for his portable radio. The sequence where the husband loses his temper and swears "mother-f&%k you", to which Raheem responds warmly is omitted. See more »
I have heard people describe Spike Lee as a second-rate filmmaker; all I have to say is that second-rate filmmakers do not make films like this. Do the Right Thing is a masterpiece in both style and substance, and Im hard pressed to think of a more powerful, earth-shattering film.
But first, let's talk about the style. The color palette of the movie is wonderful; while its mostly deep reds, they manage to bring home the feeling that the residents of Bed-Stuy must have been feeling on that day. The cinematography is excellent... it features a lot of weird viewpoints and angles, but they are used to great effect and manage to work within the style of the film. One thing that really managed to impress me about the film is the razor sharp dialogue... each character has their own style of talking, and it really works well. This is a masterfully written film.
Now the substance... this movie manages to spiral into a truly spectacular ending. Throughout, its easy to see the necessary elements building, and, when it happens, it hardly seems like a surprise, but that doesn't make it any less shattering. The way that each character acts defines this movie throughout, especially at the end! Spike Lee does a brilliant job here. The movie is interesting and well-made throughout; each of the characters are three-dimensional and feel like real human beings - their motivation is understood throughout.
Do the Right Thing is a brilliant movie that never lags and never lets up. It manages to be vastly entertaining and vastly powerful at the same time. It's truly an amazing achievement in film, and its a shame it was not recognized more for its obvious brilliance when it was released in 1989.
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