This film looks at life in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn on a hot summer Sunday. As he does everyday, Sal Fragione opens the pizza parlor he’s owned for 25 years. The neighborhood has changed considerably in the time he’s been there and is now composed primarily of African-Americans and Hispanics. His son Pino hates it there and would like nothing better than to relocate the eatery to their own neighborhood.
For Sal however, the restaurant represents something that is part of his life and sees it as a part of the community. What begins as a simple complaint by one of his customers, Buggin Out – who wonders why he has only pictures of famous Italian-Americans on the wall when most of his customers are black – eventually disintegrates into violence as frustration seemingly brings out the worst in everyone.
Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, who also played the part of Mookie in the film. Other members of the cast include Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson. It is also notably the feature film debut of both Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez. The movie tells the story of a Brooklyn neighborhood’s simmering racial tension, which comes to a head and culminates in tragedy on the hottest day of summer.
The film was a critical and commercial success and received numerous accolades and awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Lee for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Supporting Actor for Aiello’s portrayal of Sal the pizzeria owner. It is often listed among the greatest films of all time. In 1999, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, one of just six films to have this honor in their first year of eligibility.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Spike Lee, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, John Savage
Screenplay by: Spike Lee
Production Design by: Wynn Thomas
Cinematography by: Ernest R. Dickerson
Film Editing by: Barry Alexander Brown
Costume Design by: Ruth E. Carter
Set Decoration by: Steve Rosse
Music by: Bill Lee
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: July 21, 1989