Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 100
    It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.
  2. 100
    This 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]
  3. Reviewed by: Judy Stone
    100
    Has more originality, nitty-gritty humor, spirit and spunk than all the summer blockbuster retreads combined. Underneath the jousting and jiving, there's a sharp, uncompromising look at the anatomy of a race riot in the movie. [30 June 1989, Daily Notebook, p.E3]
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    This is a fascinating movie experience. [30 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
  5. Reviewed by: Carmel Dagan
    100
    Witty portrait of a troubled community.
  6. 100
    Stirred up impassioned debate everywhere; it would seem the greatest compliment that could be paid a stunning entertainment. [30 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
  7. A remarkable piece of work. [30 June 1989]
  8. 100
    There's no doubt about the film's sheer power and taut originality.
  9. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    90
    It is a subtle and humane entertainment with a refreshingly serious view of the world.
  10. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    90
    A movie made by filmmaker working in sync with his times -- an exciting, disturbing, provocative film.
  11. Lee has forged a work of art in the classic sense -- art that delights and instructs.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    80
    Combines a forceful statement on race relations with solid entertainment values.
  13. This is a powerful and persuasive look at an ethnic community and what makes it tick.
  14. There's a great deal in black America that has yet to reach the screen, and Lee is a prime candidate, in gift and gall, to help fill the gap. [July 3, 1989]
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    60
    To 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]
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 39
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 39
  3. Negative: 7 out of 39
  1. Jan 25, 2013
    10
    Racial relations in films leave much room for sugarcoating and biased views of one or more people on the cast and crew, but thankfully, SpikeRacial 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.
    Full Review »
  2. EltonT.
    Sep 23, 2007
    1
    I was forced to watch this movie for a school assignment. I was excited to see it because of the reviews that it had. To say the least I was I was forced to watch this movie for a school assignment. I was excited to see it because of the reviews that it had. To say the least I was totally disappointed. I thought it was poorly written and directed. Worse yet the theme of the movie only encourages the rift between races. Full Review »
  3. AlexQ.
    Mar 2, 2007
    10
    This invigorating and thought provoking tale beautifully discusses an issue that has plauged America since its creation, race. Overall, this This 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. Full Review »