498 user 107 critic

Do the Right Thing (1989)

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.


Spike Lee


Spike Lee
986 ( 358)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





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


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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Did You Know?


When the Italian-American Pino calls the African-American Mookie a "tutsoon" he's using a Southern Italian slang word, which refers to the blackened wood in a fire pit, or the burnt end of charred stick. 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!
See more »

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 »


Referenced in Good Witch: Do the Right Thing (2015) 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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User Reviews

Brilliant Dramedy With a Shocking Finale
26 October 2007 | by Hannibal_ChigurhSee all my reviews

Do The Right Thing is perhaps the best case study of racism ever made. Some people claim that the film perpetuates black stereotypes. Some people don't think. The black people in Do The Right Thing, like the white, Hispanic, and Korean people) exhibit all the unfounded fear and rage that stems from racism. The only truly stereotypical black man in the film is portrayed as an idiot. Buggin' Out sets the whole thing in motion because he is outraged that the local Italian-American pizza man Sal doesn't have any pictures of African-Americans on his wall. He spends the rest of the film trying to gain support for a boycott of Sal's. The rest of the predominately black neighborhood rightly views him as an idiot.

Spike Lee himself plays Mookie, the closest thing to a protagonist in the film. Mookie is a lazy delivery boy at Sal's who has a girlfriend and a baby that he doesn't support. Samuel L. Jackson plays the local DJ who is ultimately the voice of reason in the film. There are a slew of backup characters, nearly all of whom play important roles. Radio Raheem, Da Mayor, Sal's sons, Jade, and many others are vital to the film.

If I had to guess why some people don't like this film, I would say it's due to the fact that there are no good guys. There aren't even any bad guys. There is no one to root for because everyone is guilty. Spike Lee's magnum opus examines the deterioration of characters incredibly. You can feel the characters wearing thin as the hot day drags on and tension mounts. The only flaw of the film is that the subplot of Mookie's relationship with Tina flip-flops, but even that is for a purpose. Don't let the handful of vocal naysayers keep you from watching this indie masterpiece.

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English | Italian | Spanish | Korean

Release Date:

21 July 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heatwave See more »


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,563,535, 2 July 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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