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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.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
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Popularity
2,116 ( 883)

Director's Trademarks: Your Guide to Spike Lee Joints

Get a closer look at the cinematic stylings of BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee to discover what Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and Inside Man have in common.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 14 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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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)

Gross USA:

$27,545,445
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director of Photography Ernest R. Dickerson determined they'd have to shoot on an East-West street in Manhattan, so that the light would be constant on both sides of the street. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in My Big Fat Independent Movie (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Feel So Good
Music and Lyrics by Sami McKinney, Lori Perry, and Michael O'Hara
Performed by Perri
O'Hara Music/Texas City Music (BMI), AVID One Music (ASCAP)
MCA Publishing/Perrylane Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Zebra/MCA Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Do the right thing...avoid this movie
1 December 1999 | by Goon-2See all my reviews

I live about two hours away from Seattle, where yesterday some big protest was held over WTO meetings that got so out of hand that police had to use tear gas and such to clear the streets from people who were doing things like smashing windows and vandalising and setting fires. Chances are, I will bet that most of those people have seen and were probably influenced by Do the Right Thing, as were people who caused the LA Riots and probably a lot of other violent protests too. Why? Because to me, this movie sort of gives the impression that that sort of thing is okay to do. Sure, it shows the trouble that people can experience from it(some businesses get ruined and there is a fatality), but it also features the central characters as the ring leaders of the trouble and I don't think these characters are SUPPOSED to be people we don't like or feel for(even though that's what I felt about almost all of them), I think they're supposed to be heroes and "free spirits" engaging in obnoxious behavior, which is really sick.

Never has a movie disgusted or angered me more than this piece of worthlessness, which is most certainly high on my list of worst favorite movies. And this is not simply from the protest at the end either, because I was pretty much feeling that way from after about the first five minutes and on, after being introduced to about my least favorite cast of characters ever. Basically, "Do the Right Thing" involves a bunch of young punks. One of them is Mookie, played by director Spike Lee, who works at an Italian pizza place with Sal(Danny Aiello) and his sons(John Turturro plays the more promiment one)and hangs out with fellows like Radio Rasheen, a creepy thug who blasts terrible music from a radio he takes with him everywhere, Smiley, a "nice" retarded fellow with an annoying stutter, and Buggin' Out(or something like that) a beyond obnoxious and beyond loathsome fellow who does not like Sal's pizzaria because he only hangs up pictures of white people. Anyway, somewhere along the film, Mookie is told by a gent called Da Mayor(Ossie Davis)who old veteren of the slummy neighborhood he lives in that he needs to "do the right thing," which I guess would mean get his life in gear.

That would make it seem like it was going to be some character study completely centering around Mookie, but instead the film primarily focusses on about five different subjects: Mookie and his job at Sal's, Mookie's relationship with his girlfriend(the useless subplot), those terrible friends of Mookie and their crusades around the neighborhood(they try to lobby for that stupid protest and act awful to everyone who passes by), some heat wave(don't ask me why) and racial issues. Race is a very important issue in this film. The cast is mostly portrayed by people in "minority" races(African American, Italian American, Korean, Hispanic,etc)and while this could have been a great film about all races learning to accept each other, it instead comes off as a very offensive film about races wanting to stay incredibly exclusive and act hateful to anybody who is not a part of them. It is incredibly ironic that this movie won an award for peace, because the "right thing" is engaging in violence and they don't even make the violence look bad. The audience was probably supposed to be all sympathetic when the fire hoses were turned on, but I was so disgusted by the rioting and violence that if those police men had been real I probably would have thanked them or something. I also didn't really mind what they did to Radio Rasheen, though I'm sure I was supposed to.

And I can go on and on about my dislike for this film, but it would probably go long over the 1000 word limit, but just trust me, this is one to be avoided because even slightly redeeming factors in this movie(like Ossie Davis's character) get old very quickly. Also, anybody who does not care for profanity in movies will be turned off from this one because their are literally hundreds of swear words and I am not exaggerating. A lousy film on all counts.


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