Do the Right Thing

1989 Drama

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. more..

Director: Spike Lee

Starring: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello,Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson


  • A remarkable piece of work.

    Vincent Canby - The New York Times

    19 January 2013

  • Stirred up impassioned debate everywhere; it would seem the greatest compliment that could be paid a stunning entertainment.

    Sheila Benson - Los Angeles Times

    19 January 2013

  • It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    19 January 2013

  • 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.

    - The San Francisco Chronicle

    19 January 2013

  • This is a fascinating movie experience.

    Mike Clark - USA Today

    19 January 2013


  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    Academy Awards (1990)

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (1990)

  • Spike Lee

    Cannes Film Festival (1989)

  • Best Director

    Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (1990)

  • Best Director - Motion Picture

    Golden Globes (1990)