Criterion Collection: Do the Right Thing (Region A Blu-ray)

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Product Details

Movies & TV
23 Jul 2019
Age Restriction
Supply Source


Do the Right Thing
Release Year
Running Time
120 min
Dramas / African American Cinema / Essential Cinema / Race Relations / Recommended
Spike Lee's racial and political filmmaking bent is given the full treatment with this simmering exposé of racial tensions in a New York City neighborhood one scorching summer day. The film, written by Lee (and nominated for an Oscar), follows a group of racially diverse inhabitants from Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood as they spend their day trying to avoid the oppressive heat. These include African American pizza deliveryman Mookie (Lee), the racially sensitive Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito), and the silent, boom-box-blasting Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn). Also thrown into the mix are Sal (an Oscar-nominated Danny Aiello), the Italian-American proprietor of Sal's Pizzeria, as well as his two sons, Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson), who hold completely opposing attitudes when it comes to race. After Buggin' Out tries to organize a boycott of Sal's because of the lack of racial diversity on his shop's Wall of Fame, the tensions explode in an act of senseless violence. Lee's film is an electric work of political entertainment that confronts sensitive racial issues head-on. He deftly blends humor and drama as well as using specific music to further amplify his theme (Public Enemy's song "Fight the Power" actually becomes the film's main catalyst for action). Boldly closing the film with opposing quotes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King on the nature of race relations, Lee leaves it up to the viewer to decide if Mookie's actions were the correct ones. Aiello and Esposito are standouts in an all-star cast that includes Lee himself, his sister Joie, "discovery" Rosie Perez, and the married team of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Always one to spark controversy, Lee's summer drama finds the filmmaker at the peak of his craft.
Theatrical release: June 30, 1989.

Shot on location in Brooklyn, New York.

DO THE RIGHT THING was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1999.

Originally, Spike Lee wrote the part of Sal for Robert De Niro, who was unable to shoot the picture.

After receiving a BA in Communication from Morehouse, one of the nation's few historically African American colleges, Lee attended New York University's Institute of Film and Television, where he received his MFA and distinguished himself with his work, winning a Student Academy Award for his film JOE'S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP: WE CUT HEADS.

Lee went on to win critical acclaim for his independent feature SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT--one of the first of its kind from an African American director, and the film that marked his commercial debut. Between film projects Lee has directed videos and commercials, notably, Nike Air Jordan ads. He occasionally teaches at Harvard University, and, like Woody Allen, he continues to make distinctive, provocative, and uniquely personal films. Lee formed his own production company, Forty Acres and a Mule.
Release Notes
DVD Features:
  • Region [unknown]
Cast & Crew
Spike Lee
Danny Aiello / Ossie Davis / Ruby Dee / Giancarlo Esposito / Spike Lee / Bill Nunn / Rosie Perez / John Turturro
Spike Lee
Spike Lee
Director of Photography
Ernest R. Dickerson
Monty Ross
Score Composer
Bill Lee
Movie Critics
Chicago Sun-Times
"...Assured, confident....[Lee] takes this story, which sounds like grim social realism, and tells it with music, humor, color and exuberant invention. A lot of it is just plain fun..."
Roger Ebert (1 Jun 2001, p.33)
Film Comment
"...DO THE RIGHT THING has furious drive and muscle..."
Harlan Jacobson (1 Jul 1989, p.67-9)
Los Angeles Times
"...DO THE RIGHT THING announces the coming-of-age of an important filmmaker with something urgent and uncomfortable to say....A stunning entertainment..."
Sheila Benson (30 Jun 1989, p.C1)
4 stars out of 4 -- "Spike Lee's best film....It remains a beautifully shot, funny, smart, and thought-provoking masterpiece."
(30 Jun 2009, )
Rolling Stone
"...Lee's best and boldest film....[He] gives the audiences the most vigorous shake-up they've had in years..."
Peter Travers (29 Jun 1989, p.27)
Sight and Sound
"...DO THE RIGHT THING is aesthetically very sophisticated..."
Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (1 Sep 1989, p.281)
Total Film
"...A subtle and ambiguous work....The still undervalued Danny Aiello is superb..."
Daniel Webb (1 Jul 2003, p.137)
USA Today
"...Lee's film is stirring....It is floridly cinematic....This is a fascinating movie experience, confident in style..."
Mike Clark (30 Jun 1989, p.1D)