User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 104
  2. Negative: 9 out of 104

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  1. Jan 25, 2013
    Racial 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.
  2. Nov 7, 2010
    A masterpiece depicting the ambiguities of social and racial inequality, but filmed beautifully and realistically. Its message resonates very strongly even 20 years after the film's release - a testament to how incisive the issues expertly relayed by Lee remain. Do The Right Thing is a fundamentally abrasive film, and thus it would be unreasonable to expect that everyone who watches it appreciates the purpose, but overall that is a key reason why it is so good. A true classic. Expand
  3. Jul 5, 2012
    In Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee has painted an astonishingly honest and human depiction of racial prejudice and ignorance. Lee presents us with a multitude of complex characters from a wide spectrum of racial and cultural backgrounds and portrays their involvement and experiences with race issues on an very personal level.
    The ending in particular was extremely though provoking - we're
    given no answers to the issues dealt with in the film, and this is in no way a mistake on the director's part, but a deliberate calculation that heightens the effectiveness of the film. The cast is brilliant, especially John Turturro, Giancalro Esposito and Lee himself. Do The Right Thing is a timeless masterpiece with timeless messages and a provocative insight into race relations. Expand
  4. Jun 19, 2013
    1989's Do The Right Thing Is My Eighth Favorite Film Of All Time, It's My Fourth Favorite Drama Film, My Favorite Spike Lee Film And My Second Favorite Universal Pictures Film.
  5. Nov 17, 2012
    One of the most poignant and pivotal American films I've ever seen.
  6. Jun 9, 2013
    I always have had an issue with movies having stereotypes in them; Transformers 2 and anything with "movie" in it, and for some strange reason that made me want to watch this. It's kind of random, but I don't regret it. Do the right thing is by far one of the greatest examples of racial tension ever; also I can't think of any other films that deal with it as well, and is also enjoyable to watch. I mean usually you have stories about racism and it's always preachy, but here it has an interesting story with interesting people. Of course like any good argument it addresses all points, like: the point of view from the victim, from the bigot, from other people of different races, and from everyday people. It shows that there's a limbo between the battle of good and evil. Speaking of that, radio guy; sorry I don't know his full name, is my favorite character. The fact that he has the reminiscence of Harry Powell from night of the hunter, but in a modern and positive look on it. Overall this is a great movie, and honestly there's nothing wrong with it; that I can see that is, so Definitely check it out when able to. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 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]
  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. 100
    It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.