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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
1,303 ( 14)
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

This film was inspired by an actual incident in New York City, where some black youths were chased out of a pizzeria by some white youths in a section of New York City known as Howard Beach. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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

Referenced in Basic Values: Sex, Shock & Censorship in the 90's (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

WELOVE Radio Jingles
Written by Mervyn Warren and Mark Kibble
Performed by Take 6
Courtesy of Reprise/Warner Brothers Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Boiling Point
8 December 2006 | by BroadswordCallinDannyBoySee all my reviews

A scorching summer day brings racial tensions to their boiling point in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Seen through many points of view Spike Lee paints a convincing and critical picture of tensions in the most diverse city in the USA.

The film's strength is its ability to ring true to many sets of ears and especially if you frequent or live in a big city. You always here of events - big and small - on the news and there is usually that element of "racial tensions" or "possible racial motive." In a city where over 200 different languages are spoken (which can give you an idea of how many distinguishable cultures there are) it is only a natural ingredient for friction between people. Whether you hate the other guy, or are just annoyed that you can't understand him nor he you, when all you want to do is buy some groceries. This film shows many situations of this type and how everyone is, in a sense, innocent and guilty at the same time. If a situation gets out of hand and you have people throwing slurs at each other there is that famous expression: "he crossed the line." Well even with critical hindsight, this "line" isn't always visible and when it is, it's faint.

Spike Lee manages to show that very well and with a lot of diverse characters, hence the film being able to ring true with an equally diverse audience.

The only problem is that in today's America the issue is more about class and not just race, though race and class are intertwined. "Crash" presented the issue of class and lifestyle a little bit more thoroughly, but in the end felt preachy and unrealistically sentimental. "Do the Right Thing" is much tighter and the film's climax and overall impact is more powerful. Also of the note is the terrific acting from the entire cast. --- 9/10

Rated R for profanity and some violence


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