"Do The Right Thing" Is Released
Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American ensemble film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee.
The film deals with issues of racial conflict in the multi-ethnic community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, during the hottest day of the summer. Director Lee stars in the film, alongside Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, and John Turturro. The film is also notable in that it marks the feature film debuts of both Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez.
The film was a success at the box office, and received numerous accolades and awards. The film has grown in stature over time; in 1999, it was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, one of five films to do so in its first year of eligibility. In 2007, the American Film Institute listed the film as the ninety-sixth greatest American Movie in Film History.
The song "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy is a recurring aural motif in the film, as blasted from a huge boombox toted by Radio Raheem (Nunn). It appears 15 times in the film.
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. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide