User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 114
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  1. KatieK.
    Apr 8, 2002
    10
    There are no words to desribe it but FANTASTIC.
  2. MarkW.
    Apr 8, 2003
    10
    Spike's only great movie! One of the best movies of the last two decades.
  3. KellyJ.
    Mar 2, 2007
    10
    This movie is a fantastic look at what race relations are like in areas where there is diversity and heavy interaction. It's real and it's right on the mark.
  4. MarquezW.
    Mar 2, 2007
    10
    I loved this film and felt that it was right up there with Malcolm X and the 25th Hour as one of his best films to date, if not the best.
  5. PhilipS.
    Apr 10, 2002
    10
    Without a doubt, found ion the layers of this film is the psyche of American race relations. Allusions and metaphors abound...ensuring you hear the right thing.
  6. BlackDeuceCoupe
    Apr 19, 2002
    10
    A timeless classic, beautifully shot, rich in symbolism. I've watched it 1000 times and I'll watch it 1000 more. A valuable addition to your collection.
  7. Morganna
    Apr 4, 2002
    10
    The main criticism of this film seems that there are no easy answers presented. Well, if there were any, our race relation problems would have been solved long ago. A one-of-a-kind film, not without a sense of humor made to make us think.
  8. DavidL.
    May 29, 2004
    10
    Freaking amazing. it approached racial issues head on and unafraid. love it.
  9. KeilS.
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    Several missteps aside, Spike Lee has been one of our most challenging filmmakers since his debut feature, She's Gotta Have It. After that and the hit-and-miss School Daze, he stunned even his most adamant naysayers with Do the Right Thing. This remarkable, staggering achievement has not yet received even half the respect and recognition that it deserves. Despite viewers' Several missteps aside, Spike Lee has been one of our most challenging filmmakers since his debut feature, She's Gotta Have It. After that and the hit-and-miss School Daze, he stunned even his most adamant naysayers with Do the Right Thing. This remarkable, staggering achievement has not yet received even half the respect and recognition that it deserves. Despite viewers' polarized reactions to the film's controversial climax, one would be remiss to dismiss this picture as anything but brilliant. Revolutionary in its scope, yet delightfully small in scale, DTRT takes audiences through one day in the life of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Using this intersection as a microcosm for racial relations in modern America, Lee expertly addresses the multitude of idiosyncrasies and contradictions that both strengthen and weaken our national culture simultaneously. Don't let the profanity and blaring rap music scare you. This is a must-see picture, and a damn funny comedy to boot. An American Classic! Expand
  10. BriyannaM.
    Oct 10, 2006
    10
    This movie was great and it talks a lot about racial profiling.
  11. Dianr
    May 12, 2006
    10
    One of Spike Lees's excellent movies. The cast is outstanding and the story line is great. This film is a favorite of mines.
  12. 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 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 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. Expand
  13. KurtG.
    Jan 15, 2004
    10
    This is an amazing movie.
  14. DanC.
    Jan 24, 2004
    10
    A great movie which presents many thought provoking questions.
  15. renot.
    Sep 28, 2005
    10
    One of the best.
  16. Nov 7, 2010
    10
    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 itA 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
  17. Jun 19, 2013
    10
    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.
  18. Nov 17, 2012
    10
    One of the most poignant and pivotal American films I've ever seen.
  19. 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, 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
    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.
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  20. J.RyanG.
    May 23, 2005
    9
    This is not only a good film, it's a great sparring partner. And on more than one occasion, it has knocked me out. This is a wondeful example of a film that gets a soulful message across without preaching. Lacking the speeches of John Singleton's phony "Boyz N the Hood," Spike Lee's film does the really hard work of making the behavior of the characters tell us what we need This is not only a good film, it's a great sparring partner. And on more than one occasion, it has knocked me out. This is a wondeful example of a film that gets a soulful message across without preaching. Lacking the speeches of John Singleton's phony "Boyz N the Hood," Spike Lee's film does the really hard work of making the behavior of the characters tell us what we need to be thinking about. Expand
  21. KellyJ.
    Jan 5, 2002
    9
    This movie is a fantastic look at what race relations are like in areas where there is diversity and heavy interaction. It's real and it's right on the mark.
  22. AdamS.
    Jun 2, 2002
    9
    This invigorating and thought provoking tale beautifully discusses an issue that has plauged America since its creation, race. The only disapointment is while it brings up a complex issue, it in the end, fails to suggest any answers.
  23. Less_Success
    Aug 2, 2006
    9
    This is great movie simply because everything is so grey. It will have you considering who is right or wrong for days after you see it for the first time. It really forces you to examine a difficult situation and decide for yourself who you think made the right decisions.
  24. MartyT.
    Dec 9, 2004
    9
    This movie was great, it faced the real facts about racism and was still funny at the same time, i enjoyed this movie a lot.
  25. ScottM.
    May 15, 2005
    9
    Will be talked over and debated over for years, which is the highest compliment i can give it. but the end sucked.
  26. DA.
    Mar 28, 2007
    9
    One of the most brilliantly made movies of our time. Balances the fine line between entertainment and art masterfully. THE definitive movie about race relations. This movie must be watched by all, as it is still relevant in the world today. And to viewers like Kaity M., go watch any of the crap Hollywood spews out on a regular basis. Im guessing this movie went straight over your head. One of the most brilliantly made movies of our time. Balances the fine line between entertainment and art masterfully. THE definitive movie about race relations. This movie must be watched by all, as it is still relevant in the world today. And to viewers like Kaity M., go watch any of the crap Hollywood spews out on a regular basis. Im guessing this movie went straight over your head. It's not supposed to be an inspirational movie that makes you want to do something about racial activism. It's supposed to be about portraying race relations between those that wish to not understand each other, and act on stereotypical views that one holds in deep within themselves. Expand
  27. Jul 5, 2012
    9
    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
    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.
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  28. Jun 9, 2013
    9
    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 toI 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
  29. MichaelF.
    Nov 19, 2001
    7
    I guess I didn't get it. I liked the film but how it displayed rascism was TOO clear. With its bizzare opening and weird feel, this flick didn't do it for me. I really like Spike Lee, I PRAISE "Clockers" and "Malcolm X" but I don't know.
  30. Feb 23, 2013
    7
    I 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 uglyI 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
  31. Jvr
    Jan 1, 2014
    7
    Great movie!!! But, wtf is up with the Sal part? So he blames him for radio? This was terrible in the end. Still good movie, I give it a 7. This was a great movie but it seems like African America must get even in order for things to be right. Well, this was in the past so I might no understand but I'm glad things have changed.
  32. PatC.
    Jan 13, 2004
    6
    Avoided the news flashes and worked behind the scene to show the different ways the characters cope in the urban environment. It's a fish swimming around very much at home in its pond, until the end when it jumps out and flops around a bit.
  33. DonP.
    Apr 10, 2002
    3
    A shallow movie about shallow people. This movie tries to be poignant but completely fails because the characters are so one dimensional.
  34. KaityM.
    Feb 19, 2006
    3
    Cinematogrpahy =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 Cinematogrpahy =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
  35. YoonCho
    Sep 13, 2003
    3
    Overrated largely by guilt-ridden white liberal critics, Do the Right Thing is really just a funkier movie of the sort Stanley Kramer used to crank out: the issue movie. The movie pretends at objectivity, balance, airing all sides but as the cleverly calculated ending shows, Lee is an inflammatory and cliched black power demogogue. Of course he wants to have the cake and eat it too, be Overrated largely by guilt-ridden white liberal critics, Do the Right Thing is really just a funkier movie of the sort Stanley Kramer used to crank out: the issue movie. The movie pretends at objectivity, balance, airing all sides but as the cleverly calculated ending shows, Lee is an inflammatory and cliched black power demogogue. Of course he wants to have the cake and eat it too, be praised for both fairmindedness and devotion to 'black liberation'. A tiresome tract, which for all its bombastic Public Enemy soundtrack, plays coy and sneaky with the audience. Expand
  36. Rick
    Nov 4, 2004
    2
    I hated this movie. Crazy.
  37. Dec 6, 2013
    2
    Horrible movie. Sure, it raises a good point about how race relations turns into tragedy, but at the end, it just makes you hate everyone in the movie and wish for it to end. Ultimately, the only tragedy is how bad the movie wound up being. In addition, even before the "tragic" ending, it was beyond boring and I almost shut it off, but wanted to see how it would end. Boy was I disappointed.
  38. RickyC.
    Jan 9, 2004
    1
    I hated this highly overrated movie.
  39. 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 totally disappointed. I thought it was poorly written and directed. Worse yet the theme of the movie only encourages the rift between races.
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
    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.