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 matterSee more details below

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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; 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
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

20th anniversary feature commentary with director Spike Lee; Feature commentary with director Spike Lee, director of photography Ernest Dickerson, production designer Wynn Thomas and actor Joie Lee; Do the Right Thing: 20 Years Later; Deleted & extended scenes

Related Subjects

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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