8.0/10
86,664
498 user 106 critic

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Trailer
2:07 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
Reviews
Popularity
1,535 ( 144)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Aiello ... Sal
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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mister Senor Love Daddy: Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!
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Crazy Credits

Film title logo at the end of closing credits See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

References The Night of the Hunter (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Can't Stand It
Music and lyrics by David Hinds
Performed by Steel Pulse
Pulse Music, Ltd. (P.R.S.)
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

 
practically the definition of a must-see movie
6 April 2001 | by diffusionxSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Spanish | Korean

Release Date:

21 July 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heatwave See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,563,535, 2 July 1989

Gross USA:

$27,545,445

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$37,346,892
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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