Do The Right Thing


(out of 5)

Spike Lee’s best film is this explosive examination of racism in America, whittled down to the microcosm of a street corner in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer. Lee plays a whimsical pizza delivery boy who spends time with friends and family between deliveries, infuriating his Italian-American boss (), whose son () isn’t nearly as lenient as he is. Among the other ensemble characters are Lee’s sister  (who is excellent) as his sister, as the neighbourhood’s unofficial mayor and  (in her breakthrough role) as Lee’s girlfriend. At first it plays like a fun multicharacter comedy, but then tension mounts at the pizza parlor when a highly strung member of the community () picks a fight with Aiello and the whole neighbourhood goes up in flames. Ernest Dickerson’s fantastic cinematography allows the viewer to feel the heat of the setting, while Lee’s superb screenplay and direction increase the suspense until the explosive climax.

USA, 1989

Directed by

Screenplay by Spike Lee

Cinematography by

Produced by Spike Lee

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Cannes 1989

The Criterion Collection

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Danny Aiello as “Sal”)
Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly For the Screen) (Spike Lee)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Danny Aiello)
Best Director (Spike Lee)
Best Screenplay (Spike Lee)

New York Film Critics Award
Best Cinematographer (Ernest R. Dickerson)

Best Film
Best Screenplay (Spike Lee)

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards
Best Picture
Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello)
Best Director (Spike Lee)
Best Music (Bill Lee)

Best Screenplay (Spike Lee)

National Society of Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Director (Spike Lee)

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello)



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