Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

4.6 14

Cast: Danny Aiello, Richard Edson, John Turturro


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Director Spike Lee dives head-first into a maelstrom of racial and social ills, using as his springboard the hottest day of the year on one block in Brooklyn, NY. Three businesses dominate the block: a storefront radio station, where a smooth-talkin' deejay (Samuel L. Jackson) spins the platters that matter…  See more details below


Director Spike Lee dives head-first into a maelstrom of racial and social ills, using as his springboard the hottest day of the year on one block in Brooklyn, NY. Three businesses dominate the block: a storefront radio station, where a smooth-talkin' deejay (Samuel L. Jackson) spins the platters that matter; a convenience store owned by a Korean couple; and Sal's Famous Pizzeria, the only white-operated business in the neighborhood. Sal (Danny Aiello) serves up slices with his two sons, genial Vito (Richard Edson) and angry, racist Pino (John Turturro). Sal has one black employee, Mookie (Spike Lee), who wants to "get paid" but lacks ambition. His sister Jade (Joie Lee, Spike's sister), who has a greater sense of purpose and a "real" job, wants Mookie to start dealing with his responsibilities, most notably his son with girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez). Two of Mookie's best friends are Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), a monolith of a man who rarely speaks, preferring to blast Public Enemy's rap song Fight The Power on his massive boom box; and Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito), nicknamed for his coke-bottle glasses and habit of losing his cool. When Buggin' Out notes that Sal's "Wall of Fame," a photo gallery of famous Italian-Americans, includes no people of color, he eventually demands a neighborhood boycott, on a day when tensions are already running high, that incurs tragic consequences.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Regina Raiford
As startling as a trash can shattering a plate-glass window, director Spike Lee's third feature burst into theaters and changed cinematic history. Still widely regarded as Lee's best film, it opened the field to other African-American directors and helped to make such films as Boyz n the Hood possible. Do the Right Thing covers a single, sweltering summer day in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section when racial tensions ignite minor disagreements that finally blaze into a night of violence. All the elements of Lee's provocative film are incendiary, designed to excite the senses. The Crayola color scheme and the jarring, innovative cinematography amplify the constant friction between the different characters and cultures. From the massive boom box lugged by surly Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), Public Enemy's rancorous anthem "Fight the Power" proclaims the dawn of a new era in America. Hilarious one moment, uncomfortable the next, and graced with great performances by John Turturro, Danny Aiello, and Rosie Perez, Do the Right Thing maintains an in-your-face intensity throughout.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Provoking both substantial praise and fierce criticism for its "inflammatory" content, Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989) examined racism in all its complexity, eschewing simple answers for an ambiguous, artistically ambitious mosaic. The action is confined to one Brooklyn block on the hottest day of the summer, and the Bedford-Stuyvesant location thus becomes a multi-racial and multi-ethnic microcosm, spanning all ages and character types. The tapestry of incidents, whether humorous, intimate, or increasingly hostile, becomes a means to articulate a wide range of attitudes and beliefs, bolstered by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson's contrasting "hot" and "cool" colors and Lee's stylistic breaks from traditional narrative, such as direct address to the camera. Sal's Pizzeria may be the central site of confrontation, but it isn't just a matter of black vs. white. The final quotes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. offer differing views about racism and violence, punctuating a film that at all points questions what is the "right thing" and never offers a clear or simple answer. Funded by Universal after School Daze's success in 1988, Do the Right Thing premiered to acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival that was matched in the U.S. despite unfounded trepidation that it would provoke violence. Considered one of the few great American films made in the 1980s (although it was largely ignored by the Oscars), Do the Right Thing confirmed Lee as one of the preeminent filmmakers to emerge from the decade, while its box office success helped galvanize a new wave of 1990s African-American cinema.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Do the Right Thing: 20 Years Later; Deleted & extended scenes; 20th anniversary feature commentary with director Spike Lee; Feature commentary with cast and crew; Behind the scenes; Making Do the Right Thing; Editor Barry Brown; The Riot Sequence; Cannes, 1989

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Danny Aiello Sal
Spike Lee Mookie
Richard Edson Vito
John Turturro Pino
Giancarlo Esposito Buggin Out
Rosie Perez Tina
Bill Nunn Radio Raheem
Ossie Davis Da Mayor
Ruby Dee Mother Sister
Paul Benjamin ML
Frankie R. Faison Coconut Sid
Robin Harris Sweet Dick Willie
Joie Lee Jade
Samuel L. Jackson Mister Senor Love Daddy
Martin Lawrence Cee
John Savage Clifton
Robi Reed Actor
Miguel Sandoval Officer Ponte
Rick Aiello Officer Long
Roger Guenveur Smith Smiley
Steve White Ahmad
Leonard Thomas Punchy
Christa Rivers Ella
Frank Vincent Charlie
Luis Ramos Stevie
Richard Habersham Eddie
Gwen McGee Louise
Stephen Park Sonny
Ginny Yang Kim
Sherwin Park Korean Child
Shawn Elliott Puerto Rican Ice Man
Diva Osorio Carmen
Angel Ramirez Stevie's Friends
Nelson Vasquez Stevie's Friends
Travell Lee Toulson Hector
Joel Nagle Sergeant
David Weinberg Plain Clothes Detective
Erik Koniger Actor
Dominic Marcus Actor
Eric Payne Actor
Roy Thomas Actor
Tom Wright Actor

Technical Credits
Spike Lee Director,Co-producer,Screenwriter
Matiki Anoff Makeup
Barry Alexander Brown Editor
Ruth E. Carter Costumes/Costume Designer
Ernest R. Dickerson Cinematographer
Raymond Jones Songwriter
Jon Kilik Producer
Steve Kirshoff Special Effects
Bill Lee Score Composer
John C. Newby Camera Operator
Hugh A. O'Brien Stunts
Rosie Perez Choreography
Robi Reed Casting
Monty Ross Co-producer
Steve Rosse Set Decoration/Design
Otis Sallid Choreography
Eddie Bo Smith Stunts
Wynn P. Thomas Production Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Do the Right Thing
1. Opening Credits / Fight the Power [4:21]
2. Summer in the City [14:01]
3. A Slice of Trouble [6:26]
4. Can't Stand the Heat [5:24]
5. Buggin' Out [6:11]
6. A Mayor's Lament [7:45]
7. Time Out! [5:42]
8. Love Story [7:39]
9. Family Pride and Civic Unrest [7:41]
10. Melting Hearts [10:52]
11. Cooling Out With Tina [1:46]
12. Temperatures Rising [5:35]
13. The Night the Music Died [4:34]
14. Mookie's Revenge [8:16]
15. Aftermath [8:14]
16. Two Views / End Credits [7:21]


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Do the Right Thing 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Spike Lee's third feature, ''Do the Right Thing'' stormed into theatres in 1989. Thought provoking, well written and very funny, this beautifully photgraphed movie explores the complex issue of race relations in the microcosm of a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. Add to it tremendous performances by Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee, and this film is a classic that stands up to years of viewing. Lee's use of colors and visuals makes you believe it's a extremely hot and humid day in New York, even as you sit in an air conditioned theatre (or living room). The film alternates between the lazy day that is unfolding and the tensions of race relations on this block in Bed-Stuy. Engaging as it it is funny, this will always be the movie Spike Lee is remembered for. The movie captures you with a beautiful crane shot over the street in Brooklyn where it takes place. The voice of Samuel L. Jackson as the narrative D.J. of We Love radio draws you into the neighborhood and never lets go. Aiello, John Turturro & Richard Edson play the father and sons that own Sal's Famous Pizzeria. The only white owned business on the block, Sal's is the focal point of the movie. Confrontations between races and brothers are centered in and around Sal's. For some, an exhausting film to watch, ''Do the Right Thing'' is a film that will always engage debate and for me, will always be enjoyed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is without a doubt the closest relection to the state of race relations in our nation today. Anyone who didn't understand the ending to this movie simply wasn't watching or just dreams too much of a perfect world in which everyone holds hands at the end and sings a happy song. The world doesn't work like that, people. I read somewhere that this movie came out the same year as Driving Miss Daisy. Not to hate on that movie, which was a great movie, but DTRT was better and had a more powerful message. This movie should have at least had an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, if not the award itself
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite movie. I cant identify with the struggle of the African American, being an Anglo Australian, but this movie opened my eyes to those very struggles. An upbeat and uplifting movie with positive messages that, even though it ends in tragedy, there is hope for a better day ahead. Are you down with something positive in the community?
Guest More than 1 year ago
“Do The Right Thing” finally tells it from the perspective of the people who live there. Engrossing and controversial, director/writer Spike Lee’s allegory on race from the flip side perspective pulls no punches. The film is at once beautiful and painful, and lusciously staged, from its opening frame to the last shot. Centerpiece performances by Danny Aiello as Sal, the owner of the ill-fated pizza shop, and Giancarlo Esposito’s zany radical, Buggin’ Out, were outstanding. “Do The Right Thing” is one of those rare films that transcends itself, as important a movie and as pivotal a social statement as any American film since “Birth Of A Nation.” Very sadly, it was over looked as an Best-Picture Oscar contender for 1989. A must-have movie for any serious film collector.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I’ve seen Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” was at the theater and the movie refused to leave my mind for about several weeks. It just kept replaying itself constantly in my mind of the events and the turn a bouts of the story. The writing is so sharp and the movie is hilarious as well as the only movie to make Roger Ebert cry. Deceptively open and simple in its presentation, this is one of the most complex and layered movies about human relationships that I have ever seen during that time. This movie is every bit as compound as its subject matter. I disagree with those who characterize the film as "preachy." Quite to the contrary, I think the genius of the film is precisely in the fact that Spike does not tell the viewer what to think - he just compels you to think. Spike spends most of the movie setting up his characters and their situations, some are comedic, some are dramatic, and some are both. The acting is naturally great, with John Turturro, Danny Aiello, and Spike himself standing out as the best played and most interesting characters. The movie looks very much “of the 80’s” as far as fashion and things like that go but that doesn’t take any power away from the movie. But the biggest question people seem to have after they have watched this movie is about doing the right thing and whether or not Mookie did it. Spike always only says that he’s never been asked that question by a person of color. However my feeling on the matter is this: Did Mookie do the right thing? No. Did Sal do the right thing? No. From the time that Radio Raheem comes into Sal’s at the end, not one person does the right thing. Not Mookie, Sal, Radio, Buggin Out, the cops, or whoever. Everything horrible that happens could have been avoided if one person had done the right thing, and yet nobody does. I think that’s why the movie stuck with me. Most movies would show everyone (or just the “hero”) doing the right thing and everything turning out happily, but that’s not what usually happens in reality. Too often people give in to their worst instincts. In here we have New York explodes over a seemingly little incident because racial tensions are always just below the surface. This film is truly a work of art and out all Of the Spike Lee movies I've seen this is one of his finest. “Do the Right Thing” is one of the signatures of an American classic.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
That's the truth, Ruth. And that's all I have to say about that.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
No matter what it is in this film everything spills into violence over a heated argument when the character Buggin' Out confronts Sal. Just Watch! Race is precisely the central theme and it's no secret since out in the open which if we'd be more honest about race in this country it'd help, not be a panacea since race relations is the most divisive issue in American and world history.