Do the right thing

United States, 1989

Image via TMDb

Possibly the most significant English-language release of the 1980’s, “Do the Right Thing” is a powerful, explosive and rigorously damning exploration of American racism. In a hot Brooklyn summer, tensions between the various inhabitants of the suburb of Bedford-Stuyvesant increase due to the escalating amount of race violence and poverty in the city. A largely African-American community, the young people hang out at the local Pizzeria run by an Italian family. As the heat of the summer increases the minor insults and rivalry between the black and white people in the suburbs escalate into barely contained rage which is unleashed when a young black man is bashed by the police. The film ends with quotes by Martin Luther King Jr., and by Malcolm X. Spike Lee’s furious indictment of racism finally is more in the spirit of the latter man. With Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Danny Aiello, John Turturro and John Savage.



Spike Lee

production company

Universal Pictures

40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks



Production places
United States
Production dates

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier




Audience classification

R (18+)

Subject categories

Advertising, Film, Journalism, Mass Media & TV → African Americans in motion pictures

Advertising, Film, Journalism, Mass Media & TV → Black films and programs

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → Italian Americans

Courtroom, Crime, Espionage & Thrillers

Courtroom, Crime, Espionage & Thrillers → Police films

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → African Americans in motion pictures

Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Sociology → United States - Race relations

Feature films

Feature films → Feature films - United States






VHS; Access Print (Section 1)

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