- Director: Spike Lee
- Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
- More Details and Credits »
100This is a sumptuous work, from its unconventional title sequence of a woman dancing hard in the streets to its provocative ending with conflicting quotes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr .[30 June 1989, Friday, p.A]
60To accept the film, though, one must first understand its point of view, and that is maddeningly difficult. All we know for certain is that Do the Right Thing is not naturalistic. [July 3, 1989]
AlexQ.10This invigorating and thought provoking tale beautifully discusses an issue that has plauged America since its creation, race. Overall, this remains as Spike Lee's best film to date, along with When the Levees Broke, a touching documentary that bleeds of realism about how the survivors dealt with Hurricane Katrina, and Malcolm X, a fascinating biopic. John Turturro (who would later co-star in another good movie He Got Game) and Danny Aiello were convincingly brilliant in their roles, and Radio Rahim was another good character central to the theme of the movie. Also loved their soundtrack, headlined by Public Enemy, who is one of the best hip-hop groups of all-time. Overall a gripping story that deals with race relations in the heart of the city.… Expand
10Racial relations in films leave much room for sugarcoating and biased views of one or more people on the cast and crew, but thankfully, Spike Lee is too smart to take sides or choose whose battle to support. In Do the Right Thing, he shows how racial relations have hurt one specific street block in Brooklyn. The result soars past any expectations one has going into it.
The film plays like an anthology, featuring people that resemble real people, and who pack in realistic flaws. It takes place on a brutally hot day in the neighborhood, with the temperature in the late nineties to early hundreds. The film's center is a pizzeria on the street, called Sal's Famous, which is run by an Italian father and his two sons. The father is Sal Frangione (Aiello) who has been on the block for over twenty years, and his sons Pino (Turturro) who refers to coming to work like "Planet of the Apes," and Vito (Edson) who is accepting of the blacks.
They're the only white people we see throughout the whole film and yet, despite some of their comments, we can sympathize with them in a way. All they want to do is run a business, but odd complications plague their day. The only black character employed at the pizzeria is slacker Mookie (played by Spike Lee himself). Mookie is a gentle and sweet kid, but seems to develop a distracting fondness for anything but his work.
Other people around down are simple, frequently drunk "Da Mayor" (Davis), Mother Sister (Dee), who observes the neighborhood through her window, Radio Raheem (Nunn), who blasts his music at deafening level on his boombox, which annoys many, Buggin' Out (Esposito), a geeky man who wants to see some black people on the wall of Sal's Famous, and Sonny (Park), a Korean grocery store owner across the street from Sal.
Not a lot of films can perfect the idea of "all characters, no plot," but Do the Right Thing is effortlessly convincing. The film also excels in being extremely original and stylistic in the sense that the heat from the day itself seems to be creeping out on screen. All the characters are soaked in sweat and the cinematography is so bright and loaded with primary colors that it comes off as infectious and unique. Even the air looks to be seamy and murky. Every detail is included, and nothing is overlooked.
Finally, there's the climax, one of the best, and most involved I have yet to see. It's unexpected, well-choreographed, and never misses a beat. It doesn't seem cartoony, as much as it seems realistic and well done. I wish I could go into greater detail, but it needs to be seen to be believed. Also, one of the characters does an act you wouldn't think that insights one of the major plot points. I think it's safe to say, he didn't do the right thing.
Do the Right Thing isn't only provocative, but it avoids cliches and doesn't give us the same "racism is bad" lecture. It's too original and intelligent for that. Lee has introduced us to likable characters that we continue to adore as the film goes on, and despite the heavy climax, we still at least respect. You're left contemplating what the right thing is/was and how would you go about doing it.
Starring: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Spike Lee, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, Ruby Dee, Steve Park, Bill Nunn, Richard Edson, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by: Spike Lee.… Expand
7I didn't understand the first hour and a half of Do The Right Thing, but things get serious and cleared up in a heartbeat. This controversial film is about no matter how well we know each other, there is still racial tension living right under the surface. All it takes is some pointless argument about a picture on the wall or a radio being played too loudly, for racism to rear it's ugly head on both sides. Then what happens? People are dead, businesses are ruined, and communities are rioting. Over what? The argument is but a mere spark, racism is the issue. Had the argument been between two black men, instead of a white man and a black man, things would have turned out much differently. That's the point of this film, very wisely and overlooked, Spike Lee is saying who cares what color the person is, step up and do the right thing in every situation. It's a message we should all take to heart.… Expand
KaityM.3Cinematogrpahy =good Acting= good/ok Story= ok/not very interesting technical= ok symbolism= overwhelming/confussin location= meh any other aspect i forgot= meh didn't catch my eye = in total i am a 16 year old girl and i would say i am a beginer "big film buff" and after a while it just lost me.....i got bored...kept wondering what time it was.....their is so many aspects he could have done to made it appealing to all audiences not saying i want big car explosions and multi-million dollar actors acting.....it's just i wasn't born in the time of Martin Luther King jr's activitism why not make so that future audiences can go "wow he is so right let's go do somehting about it" although it's not as much a problem as it used to be....but you know what i mean!!! i say we give spike a round of appaulse for trying!!!… Expand
Published: June 28, 2011Can actors direct themselves? We reveal the best and worst movies in our database that were directed by one of the film's stars, a list that runs from "Do the Right Thing" to "Miss March."