On the hottest day of the year on a street in Brooklyn, hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence in Spike Lee’s incendiary drama, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Salvatore "Sal" Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighbourhood local, Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito), becomes upset when he sees that the pizzeria's Wall of Fame exhibits only Italian actors. Buggin' Out believes a pizzeria in a black neighborhood should showcase black actors, but Sal disagrees. The wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to Buggin' Out and to other people in the neighborhood, and tensions soon rise to unimaginable heights.
Upon its initial release in the US, there were suggestions by some media outlets that Do The Right Thing could incite black people to riot, to which Spike Lee retorted, ‘I don't remember people saying people were going to come out of theatres killing people after they watched Arnold Schwarzenegger films.’ Sometimes controversy comes out of films being honest and clear-eyed about the inequalities at the heart of society, something Spike Lee has made a career out of. Do The Right Thing is still Lee’s most provocative work, and perhaps his finest.
Warning! Contains scenes of rioting and uncomfortable truths about racial inequality.
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