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Do the Right Thing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Do the Right Thing
Do the Right Thing poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySpike Lee
Produced bySpike Lee
Written bySpike Lee
Music byBill Lee
CinematographyErnest Dickerson
Edited byBarry Alexander Brown
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 19, 1989 (1989-05-19) (Cannes)
  • July 21, 1989 (1989-07-21) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million[2]
Box office$37.3 million[3]

Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee. It stars Lee and Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson, and is the feature film debut of Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez. The story follows a Brooklyn neighborhood's simmering racial tension, which culminates in tragedy on a hot summer day.

The film was a commercial success and received numerous accolades, including Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Aiello's portrayal of Sal the pizzeria owner. It is often listed among the greatest films of all time.[4][5][6][7][8] In 1999, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant" in its first year of eligibility by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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  • ✪ Do the Right Thing: Crash Course Film Criticism #6
  • ✪ Do the Right Thing Radio Raheem's death
  • ✪ Scene Breakdown | Do the Right Thing (Part 1)
  • ✪ How to always do the right thing | Oprah Winfrey
  • ✪ Scene from "Do The Right Thing" - "Better than Black People"


Mainstream American films don’t often tackle race and racism head-on, and when they do, they often end up trying to find easy answers. Which makes films like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing all the more powerful. It’s an intimate portrait of a Brooklyn neighborhood, with a vibrant, intergenerational, multi-ethnic community. But it also has an explosive climax, fueled by racial resentments, economic anxiety, and rising tensions on the hottest day of the year. Lee uses an incredible array of filmmaking techniques to make audiences think and engage. And the issues he’s wrestling with are still very much alive today, more than 25 years later. [intro music plays] Do the Right Thing burst onto screens in 1989, after electrifying audiences and polarizing critics at the Cannes Film Festival. At the time, writer-director Spike Lee was just 32 and had made only two feature films – the sly, sexy She’s Gotta Have It and School Daze, a comedy set at an all-black Southern college. Lee began conceiving Do the Right Thing with his cinematographer Ernest Dickerson as they were finishing work on School Daze. He was partially inspired by an incident in 1986 in which Michael Griffith, a 23-year-old African-American, was beaten up and chased from an Italian-American pizzeria, only to be killed by an oncoming car. Having grown up in Brooklyn, steeped in the complex lives and racial politics of its residents, Lee wanted to make a film that captured that world. The story of Do the Right Thing takes place almost completely over one blistering day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Rather than following one traditional protagonist, this film follows a variety of characters as they try to beat the heat, make a living, take a stand, or just get by. It’s a film about community. Spike Lee plays Mookie, a young African-American man who delivers pizzas for Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, a neighborhood hangout. And it’s through Mookie and the restaurant that we’re introduced to most of the other characters. There’s Sal himself, a proud Italian-American played by Danny Aiello. He works with his two sons, the aggressive Pino, played by John Turturro, and the more passive Vito, played by Richard Edson. Then there’s Da Mayor, played by the legendary Ossie Davis, a kind of elder statesman and alcoholic who wanders the streets trying to keep the peace. Mirroring that, there’s Mother Sister – played by Ruby Dee, Davis’s real-life wife – who keeps a watchful eye on the neighborhood from her open apartment window. Mookie runs into friends throughout the day, from Giancarlo Esposito’s politically outspoken Buggin’ Out, to Bill Nunn’s Radio Raheem, who carries around the world’s biggest ghetto-blaster, cranking Public Enemy’s hip-hop anthem “Fight the Power.” Woven through the story is Smiley, a developmentally delayed man played by Roger Guenveur Smith, who makes a few dollars here and there selling a photo of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And overlooking the whole thing is a smooth-voiced radio DJ played by Samuel L. Jackson. He not only spins tunes, but also watches the day unfold from his window, calling out to characters as they pass his studio. Beyond the Italian-American and African-American characters, there’s a grocery store run by a Korean couple, a group of Latino kids, and Mookie’s girlfriend Tina, played by Rosie Perez. There’s also one white yuppie, who signifies the coming gentrification of the neighborhood. And, finally, a pair of white New York City policemen patrol the streets in a squad car. All of these characters and their plots keep interweaving throughout the day, leading to a climactic showdown that ends with a riot, Radio Raheem dead from a police chokehold, Sal’s Famous Pizzeria in flames, and everyone trying to find a way forward. This film, like many films, is all about emotion and visual communication. Lee, his cinematographer, and production designer worked tirelessly to create a mood and the sense of a ticking bomb. So looking at this film is a great way to understand how cinema affects an audience. One of the things Lee does to ratchet the tension and immerse us in this very specific world is to emphasize how hot it is. And he uses all kinds of filmmaking techniques to do it. Not only does the cinematography highlight the blasting rays of the sun, but Lee had production designer Wynn Thomas remove all the blues and greens he could from the costumes, props, sets, and make-up. Instead, the film is a feast of warm colors: vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. Lee and Dickerson even put heat lamps right under the camera lens in some shots to produce those wavy heat shimmers. Characters are routinely covered in sweat. Their clothes stick to their bodies. And their tempers are set on a hair trigger, just waiting to be ignited. Lee mixes all kinds of filmmaking styles, mirroring the way the block mixes cultural identities. The movie begins with an heavily-stylized, color-saturated dance sequence that plays during the opening credits. In it, Rosie Perez dances alone to “Fight the Power.” This is the film asserting its agenda right up front, both stylistic and musical. It’s a challenge, but it’s also fun and exciting, just like the rest of the film. Lee makes excellent use of wide tracking shots as characters move from one part of the block to another. These shots feel expansive and natural, and yet they’re clearly highly choreographed. He’ll have minor characters move through the background or step in at the end of a scene to redirect the story. That kind of meandering is actually really hard to pull off, and the work here is seamless. It underlines the interconnectedness of the film’s community. At other times, Lee and Dickerson will tilt the camera 45 degrees in what’s often called a Dutch or canted angle. Suddenly, the horizon line isn’t flat and the world feels unstable and off-kilter. It’s almost as if the characters are in danger of falling out of the screen because their world is so off balance. In one of the film’s most powerful sequences, Lee even has his characters look directly into the camera, breaking the fourth wall. And they unleash the most profane string of ethnic and racial insults in the film. As the film critic Thomas Doherty writes in Film Quarterly: “The interethnic, interracial animosity explodes in a montage of face-front slurs...that serve as warm-ups for the ultimate bonfire.” All this anger and resentment simmering below the surface prepares us for the eruption that’s about to come. It also adds another dimension to a film about community. Because this community, however harmonious it may seem, is deeply, perhaps irrevocably, fractured. The film echoes this fracturing by shifting tones and moods. Scenes will go from light-hearted and funny to tense at the drop of a hat. In one sequence, kids from the neighborhood open a fire hydrant and cool off in the spraying water. All the tensions dissolve for a while as people start dragging their friends in to get soaked. It’s a glorious free-for-all! And suddenly, this carefully-choreographed, stylized film seems to take the approach of a documentary. It’s as though Lee set the action in motion and is just capturing it as it happens. The freedom of the camera mirrors the freedom of the characters. Then, a middle-aged Italian-American drives a beautifully-maintained convertible up the street. He threatens the kids not to spray him as he passes. And not in a nice way, either! As the insults fly back and forth, and the tension returns, Lee and Dickerson lock their camera down again. And sure enough, when the man drives past the hydrant, the kids turn the water loose, dousing both him and the car. The man storms out of his car, the kids run, and the cops show up, shutting off the hydrant, and ending the fun. The shifting moods of Do the Right Thing are a large part of its power. The film keeps us unsure about which encounters are going to lead to trouble and which ones are going to end in humor. In the lighter moments, we empathize with the community. We don’t want to see it torn apart. At one point, Radio Raheem faces off against a group of Latino kids who are playing their own music from a slightly smaller boom box. When Radio Raheem cranks his volume to the max, the other kids nod sheepishly, conceding that Radio Raheem’s speakers can’t be beat. And this moment is more than just a funny gag. That ghetto blaster means something. When Radio Raheem cranks it up, he’s not only demonstrating his machine’s power, he’s also asserting his cultural identity and the coming dominance of hip-hop. And in fact, the final confrontation that ends with Radio Raheem’s death and the destruction of the pizzeria escalates when Sal demands Radio Raheem turn down his music. This time, instead of ending with a laugh, Lee flips the script and has Sal smash the ghetto blaster to bits, bringing on the killing and the riot. Critics and scholars have been debating the film and its ultimate stance on race and racism since it was released. Film critic David Denby initially labeled the film incoherent and irresponsible. Political columnist Joe Klein even warned that the movie might spark actual riots. Roger Ebert, on the other hand, strongly disagreed, writing: “Thoughtless people have accused Lee … of being an angry filmmaker. He has much to be angry about, but I don't find it in his work. The wonder of “Do the Right Thing” is that he is so fair. Those who found this film an incitement to violence are saying much about themselves, and nothing useful about the movie. Whatever its stance, Do the Right Thing is an unapologetically political film. It wrestles very explicitly with two strands of black activism, and what those two approaches mean for the community as a whole. There’s peaceful direct action, as advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr., and a more militant strain, most often associated with Malcolm X. The film presents us with characters on all sides of this divide, from Buggin’ Out, who tries to organize a boycott of Sal’s pizzeria, to Mookie, who just wants to get through his day and get paid. Outside of the black community, we have everything from the obvious racial antagonism of the Italian-American in his convertible, to Sal, who begins the film with a kind gesture toward Da Mayor, despite the objections of his own son, Pino. By the end of the film, though, Sal is revealed to be a much less sympathetic character. His stubborn refusal to add photos of African-Americans to his “Wall of Fame” and his destruction of Radio Raheem’s boom box led directly to violence. Not only that, but Sal destroys the boom box with a worn baseball bat, itself a heavy symbol of violence against African-Americans, including in the incident with Michael Griffith. Some scholars point to this character as key to Spike Lee’s strategy for engaging with white audiences, especially when he’s tackling racism. In the journal Thinking Through Cinema: Film as Philosophy, Dan Flory writes: “Lee depicts sympathetic racist characters so that viewers may initially forge positive allegiances with them in spite of those characters’ anti-black beliefs and actions, which in earlier stages of the narrative seem trivial ... or may even go unnoticed. He then alienates viewers from such characters by revealing the harmfulness of these typically white beliefs and actions.” In other words, Lee’s choice to make Sal sympathetic early in the film forces non-black audiences to confront their own, perhaps deeply buried, notions of race and racism – especially as the story reaches its boiling point, and Sal is revealed to be a much more harmful character. During the film’s climax, Mookie finds himself sharing a shot with Sal and his sons as they face down Buggin’ Out, Radio Raheem, and Smiley. He’s on one side of the divide. Only after Radio Raheem has been killed by the police does he signal that he’s had enough, crossing the street, emptying a garbage can, and then hurling it through the window of Sal’s restaurant. Did Mookie do the right thing? A more traditional film about race may have ended there, suggesting triumph in his revenge. But Spike Lee isn’t interested in declaring right and wrong. Remember, he’s making a film about a community. And that community has to get up the next day, sweep up the ashes, and find a way to move forward. And that’s exactly what happens. It’s an uneasy ending, not traditionally satisfying, but it feels very real and immediate. These same difficult conversations about race, violence, and community are as relevant to our society today as they have ever been. For Mookie, Sal, Spike Lee, and the rest of us, the struggle continues. Next time, we’ll look at Lost in Translation. It’s a quieter, more contemplative film about a lost young woman who strikes up a friendship with an older, fading movie star in contemporary Japan. Crash Course Film Criticism is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. You can head over to their channel to check out a playlist of their latest amazing shows, like Eons, Origin of Everything, and Deep Look. This episode of Crash Course was filmed in the Doctor Cheryl C. Kinney Crash Course Studio with the help of these nice people and our amazing graphics team is Thought Cafe.



Mookie (Spike Lee) is a 25-year-old delivery man living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with his sister Jade (Joie Lee). He and his girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez) have a toddler son named Hector (Travell Toulson). He works at the local pizzeria, but lacks ambition. Sal (Danny Aiello), the pizzeria's Italian-American owner, has been in the neighborhood for 25 years. His older son Pino (John Turturro) intensely dislikes blacks, and does not get along with Mookie. Because of this, Pino is at odds with both his father, who refuses to leave the increasingly African-American neighborhood, and his younger brother Vito (Richard Edson), who is friendly with Mookie.

The neighborhood is full of distinct personalities, including Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), a friendly drunk; Mother Sister (Ruby Dee), who watches the neighborhood from her brownstone; Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), who blasts Public Enemy on his boombox wherever he goes; and Smiley (Roger Guenveur Smith), a mentally disabled man, who meanders around the neighborhood trying to sell hand-colored pictures of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

While at Sal's, Mookie's trouble-making b-boyish friend Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) questions Sal about his "Wall of Fame", a wall decorated with photos of famous Italian-Americans. Buggin' Out demands that Sal put up pictures of black celebrities since Sal's pizzeria is in a black neighborhood. Sal replies that it is his business, and that he can have whomever he wants on "The Wall of Fame". Buggin' Out attempts to start a protest over the Wall of Fame. Only Radio Raheem and Smiley support him.

During the day, the heat and tensions begin to rise. The local teenagers open a fire hydrant and douse the street, before police officers intervene. Mookie and Pino begin arguing over race. Mookie confronts Pino about his negative attitudes towards African Americans, even though his favorite celebrities are black. Various characters then spew flowery racial insults into the camera: Mookie against Italians, Pino against African Americans, Latino Stevie (Luis Antonio Ramos) against Koreans, white police officer Gary Long (Rick Aiello) against Puerto Ricans, and Korean store owner Sonny (Steve Park) against Jews. Pino and Sal talk about the neighborhood, with Pino expressing his contempt for African-Americans, and Sal insisting that he is not leaving. Sal almost fires Mookie, but Jade intervenes, before Mookie confronts her for being too close to Sal.

That night, Buggin' Out, Radio Raheem, and Smiley march into Sal's and demand that Sal change the Wall of Fame. Raheem's boombox is blaring and Sal demands that he turn it off, but he refuses. Buggin' Out calls Sal and sons "guineas", threatening to close down the pizzeria until they change the Wall of Fame. Sal, in a fit of frustration and after being called a guinea bastard, calls him a "nigger" and destroys the boombox with a baseball bat. Raheem attacks Sal, leading to a violent fight that spills out into the street, attracting a crowd. While Radio Raheem is choking Sal, the police arrive. They break up the fight and apprehend Radio Raheem and Buggin' Out. Despite the pleas of his fellow officers and the onlookers, one officer refuses to release his chokehold on Raheem, killing him. Realizing that Raheem has been killed in front of onlookers, the officers place his body in the back of a squad car and drive off, leaving Sal, Pino, and Vito unprotected.

The onlookers, enraged about Radio Raheem's death, blame Sal and his sons. Mookie grabs a trash can and throws it through the window of Sal's pizzeria, sparking the crowd to rush into the restaurant and destroy it, with Smiley finally setting it on fire, which actually diverts revenge away from Sal himself. Da Mayor pulls Sal, Pino, and Vito out of the mob's way. Firemen and riot patrols arrive to put out the fire and disperse the crowd. After police issue a warning, the firefighters turn their hoses on the rioters, leading to more fighting and arrests. Mookie and Jade sit on the curb, watching in disbelief. Smiley wanders back into the smoldering building and hangs one of his pictures on what is left of Sal's Wall of Fame.

The next day, after an argument with Tina, Mookie returns to Sal, who feels that Mookie betrayed him. Mookie demands his weekly pay, leading to an argument. They cautiously reconcile, and Sal finally pays Mookie. Mister Señor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson), a local DJ, dedicates a song to Raheem.

The film ends with two quotations expressing different views about violence, one from Martin Luther King and one from Malcolm X, before fading to a photograph of them shaking hands. Prior to the credits, Lee dedicates the film to the families of six victims of police brutality: Eleanor Bumpurs, Michael Griffith, Arthur Miller, Jr., Edmund Perry, Yvonne Smallwood, and Michael Stewart.



Spike Lee first got the idea for the film after watching the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Shopping for Death" where the main characters discuss their theory that hot weather increases violent tendencies. He was also inspired by the Howard Beach racial incident and the shooting of Eleanor Bumpurs.[9] Lee wrote the screenplay in two weeks.[10] The original script of Do the Right Thing ends with a stronger reconciliation between Mookie and Sal. Sal's comments to Mookie mirror Da Mayor's earlier comments in the film and hint at some common ground and perhaps Sal's understanding of why Mookie was motivated to destroy his restaurant. It is unclear why Lee changed the ending.[11]


Spike Lee campaigned for Robert De Niro as Sal the pizzeria owner, but De Niro had to decline due to prior commitments. Actor Danny Aiello eventually played Sal and his real-life son Rick Aiello played Gary Long, the police officer who kills Radio Raheem. The character of Smiley was not in the original script; he was created by Roger Guenveur Smith, who was pestering Spike Lee for a role in the film.[12] Four of the cast members were stand-up comedians: Martin Lawrence, Steve Park, Steve White, and Robin Harris. Lee originally wanted Bill Nunn to play the role of Mister Señor Love Daddy, but later recast him as Radio Raheem. Real-life husband and wife Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were friends of Spike Lee's father Bill Lee and were cast as Mother Sister and Da Mayor.[9] Rosie Perez was cast as Mookie's love interest Tina after Lee saw her dancing at a Los Angeles dance club. Perez decided to take the part because her sister lived four blocks from the set; however, she had never been in a film before and grew upset during the filming of Radio Raheem's death scene.[9]


The film was shot entirely on Stuyvesant Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The street's color scheme was heavily altered by the production designer, who used a great deal of red and orange paint in order to help convey the sense of a heatwave. The Korean grocery store and Sal's pizzeria were built from scratch on two empty lots. The pizzeria was fully functional and the actors actually cooked pizzas in the ovens. During filming, the neighborhood's crack dealers threatened the film crew for disturbing their business so Lee hired Fruit of Islam members to provide security.[9] Samuel L. Jackson later revealed that he spent most of his time on set sleeping as he has no scenes outside.[9]


The film was released to protests from many reviewers, and it was openly stated in several newspapers that the film could incite black audiences to riot.[13] Lee criticized white reviewers for implying that black audiences were incapable of restraining themselves while watching a fictional motion picture.[14] In a 2014 interview Lee stated "That still bugs the shit out of me," calling the remarks "outrageous, egregious and, I think, racist," and further elaborating, "I don't remember people saying people were going to come out of theatres killing people after they watched Arnold Schwarzenegger films." [15]

One of many questions at the end of the film is whether Mookie "does the right thing" when he throws the garbage can through the window, thus inciting the riot that destroys Sal's pizzeria. Critics have seen Mookie's action both as an action that saves Sal's life, by redirecting the crowd's anger away from Sal to his property, and as an "irresponsible encouragement to enact violence".[16] The question is directly raised by the contradictory quotations that end the film, one advocating nonviolence, the other advocating violent self-defense in response to oppression.[16]

Spike Lee has remarked that he has only ever been asked by white viewers whether Mookie did the right thing; black viewers do not ask the question.[17] Lee believes the key point is that Mookie was angry at the death of Radio Raheem, and that viewers who question the riot's justification are implicitly failing to see the difference between property and the life of a black man.[14]

In June 2006, Entertainment Weekly magazine placed Do the Right Thing at No. 22 on its list of The 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever.[18]

Critical reception

Do the Right Thing was met with acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 90%, based on 70 reviews, with an average rating of 8.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Smart, vibrant and urgent without being didactic, Do the Right Thing is one of Spike Lee's most fully realized efforts – and one of the most important films of the 1980s."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 91 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "universal acclaim", and placing it as the 68th highest film of all-time on the site.[20]

Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert ranked the film as the best of 1989 and later ranked it as one of the top 10 films of the decade (#6 for Siskel and #4 for Ebert).[21] Ebert later added the film to his list of The Great Movies.[22] According to online film resource They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?, Do the Right Thing is the most acclaimed film of 1989.[23]

Awards and nominations

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards March 28, 1990 Best Supporting Actor Danny Aiello Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Spike Lee
Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics 1990 Grand Prix
Boston Society of Film Critics 1990 Best Supporting Actor Danny Aiello Won
Cannes Film Festival[24] May 23, 1989 Palme d'Or Spike Lee Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association 1990 Best Picture Won
Best Director Spike Lee
Best Supporting Actor Danny Aiello
Golden Globe Awards January 20, 1990 Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Danny Aiello
Best Director – Motion Picture Spike Lee
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 16, 1989 Best Film Won
Best Supporting Actor Danny Aiello
Best Director Spike Lee
Best Screenplay 2nd place
Best Music Bill Lee Won
MTV Movie Awards June 6, 2006 Silver Bucket of Excellence
NAACP Image Awards December 11, 1989 Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Ruby Dee
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Ossie Davis
National Society of Film Critics Awards January 8, 1990 Best Director Spike Lee 3rd place
New York Film Critics Circle January 14, 1990 Best Film 5th place
Best Screenplay Spike Lee 4th place
Best Cinematography Ernest Dickerson Won
The 20/20 Awards 2010 Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Spike Lee Won
Best Supporting Actor Danny Aiello Nominated
John Turturro
Best Original Screenplay Spike Lee
Best Film Editing Barry Alexander Brown Won
Best Original Song "Fight the Power"
Music and Lyrics by Chuck D, Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler, and Keith Shocklee

American Film Institute lists


The film's score (composed and partially performed by jazz musician Bill Lee, father of Spike Lee) and soundtrack were both released in July 1989 on Columbia Records and Motown Records, respectively. The soundtrack was successful, reaching the number eleven spot on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and peaking at sixty-eight on the Billboard 200.[25] On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, the Perri track "Feel So Good" reached the fifty-first spot, while Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" reached number twenty, and Guy's "My Fantasy" went all the way to the top spot. "My Fantasy" also reached number six on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, and sixty-two on Billboard's Hot 100. "Fight the Power" also charted high on the Hot Dance Music chart, peaking at number three, and topped the Hot Rap Singles chart.[26][27]

Do the Right Thing: Original Motion Picture Score
Film score by
RecordedDecember 12, 1988 – December 16, 1988
GenreFilm score
ProducerSpike Lee (exec.)

Track listing

Do the Right Thing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
LabelMotown Records
ProducerGregory "Sugar Bear" Elliott (exec.), Ted Hopkins (exec.), Mark Kibble (exec.), Spike Lee (exec.), Johnny Mercer (exec.)
Singles from Do the Right Thing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Fight the Power"
    Released: June 1989
1."Fight the Power"Public EnemyHank Shocklee, Carl Ryder, Eric Sadler5:23
2."My Fantasy"Teddy Riley, GuyTeddy Riley, Gene Griffin4:57
3."Party Hearty"E.U.Kent Wood, JuJu House4:43
4."Can't Stand It"Steel PulseDavid R. Hinds, Sidney Mills5:06
5."Why Don't We Try?"Keith JohnVince Morris Raymond jones larry decarmine3:35
6."Feel So Good"PerriPaul Laurence, Jones5:39
7."Don't Shoot Me"Take 6Mervyn E. Warren4:08
8."Hard to Say"Lori Perry, Gerald AlstonLaurence3:21
9."Prove to Me"PerriJones, Sami McKinney5:24
10."Never Explain Love"Al JarreauJones5:58
11."Tu y Yo/We Love [Jingle]"Rubén BladesBlades5:12

In popular culture

In 1990, the film was parodied in a sketch on In Living Color.[28] Many television series have parodied the trash can scene, including Bob's Burgers.[29]

In 2016, Air Jordan released a special Radio Raheem sneaker based on the colors of the shirt that he wears in the film.[30]

In 2014, the 25th anniversary of the film, it was praised by Barack and Michelle Obama as being the film they watched on their first date.[31][32][33]

Related films

Mookie makes another appearance in the 2012 film Red Hook Summer, where he is shown delivering pizzas. According to Lee, Sal took the insurance money from his burned pizzeria and reopened the restaurant in Red Hook. He then rehired Mookie, agreeing to include black celebrities on his Wall of Fame.[34]


  1. ^ "Do the Right Thing (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "Do the Right Thing (1989) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  3. ^ "Do the Right Thing (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  4. ^ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Thompson, Anne. "Lists: 50 Best Movies of All Time, Again". Variety. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  6. ^ "100 Essential Films by the National Society of Film Critics". National Society of Film Critics. Published by AMC Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. April 29, 2003. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  9. ^ a b c d e Staskiewicz, Keith (October 25, 2013). "Do the Right Thing: 1989". Entertainment Weekly (1282/1283). p. 42.
  10. ^ Gavin Edwards (20 June 2014). "Fight the Power: Spike Lee on 'Do the Right Thing'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  11. ^ "'Do the Right Thing' Script (Archived)". Script-O-Rama. 28 April 2007. Archived from the original on April 28, 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  12. ^ Do The Right Thing DVD Audio Commentary
  13. ^ Klein, Joe. "Spiked?" New York June 26, 1989: 14–15.
  14. ^ a b 'Spike Lee's Last Word', special feature on the Criterion Collection DVD (2000)
  15. ^ Edwards, Gavin. "Fight the Power: Spike Lee on 'Do the Right Thing'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  16. ^ a b Mark A. Reid (1997). Spike Lee's Do the right thing. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-0-521-55954-6. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
  17. ^ Do The Right Thing DVD, Director's commentary
  18. ^ "The 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever," Entertainment Weekly (Retrieved 9 Apr 2016).
  19. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes 'Do the Right Thing' profile". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  20. ^ "'Do the Right Thing' Metacritic profile". Metacritic. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Siskel & Ebert 1989-Best of 1989 (2of2)". YouTube. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  22. ^ Roger Ebert. "The Great Movies". Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  23. ^ "The 1,000 Greatest Films (Full List)". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?.
  24. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Do the Right Thing". Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  25. ^ "Do the Right Thing (Soundtrack): Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  26. ^ "Do the Right Thing (Soundtrack): Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  27. ^ "Fear of a Black Planet: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  28. ^ Hastings, Deborah (April 15, 1990). "Fox's 'In Living Color' is Way, Way Out There". Deseret News.
  29. ^ Steve, Kandell (May 23, 2012). "Pleased to Meat Me: 'Bob's Burgers' Creators on the Finale and Season Two's High Points". Spin.
  30. ^ Johnson, Patrick (January 8, 2016). "Do The Right Thing And Cop The Air Jordan 2 "Radio Raheem" Tomorrow". Sneaker News.
  31. ^ Obamas Praise First Date Movie Do The Right Thing
  32. ^ Do The Right Thing Helped President Obama Impress Michelle On Their First Date
  33. ^ Obamas Interviewed Directly About Spike Lee
  34. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver (August 9, 2012). "Exclusive: Spike Lee Explains What Happened To Mookie & Sal After The End Of 'Do The Right Thing'". IndieWire.


  • Aftab, Kaleem. Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It. England: Faber and Faber Limited, 2005. ISBN 0-393-06153-1.
  • Spike Lee's Last Word. Documentary on the Criterion Collection DVD of Do the Right Thing. 2000.
  • Spike Lee et al. Commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD of Do the Right Thing. 2000.

Further reading

External links

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