Do The Right Thing 1989

Critics score:
93 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune: This might sound like a depressing story, but the level of performance and filmmaking is so high that Do the Right Thing becomes a most entertaining warning. Read more

Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune: It's depressing to see how much credit Lee has been given simply for painting his characters in shades other than the purely good and the purely evil, as if the gesture reflected anything other than an appreciation for a basic human truth. Read more

Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times: Do the Right Thing is complex, bravura movie making. It is also hugely entertaining, since fortunately for us, Lee's seditious method is to use humor to carry his biting message. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: The movie has a tone and a perspective of its own. But all too often, the tone is tiresome and the perspective banal. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: [Do the Right Thing is] an exceptional film, a movie that wisely deprives you of the cozy resolutions and epiphanies so often manufactured by Hollywood. Like the film's principals, you are left feeling that you have been torched where you live. Read more

Vincent Canby, New York Times: Mr. Lee's movie is anything but minimalist. It is bursting with character, color, incident and music, including a militant rap number performed by Public Enemy. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: A powerful and persuasive look at an ethnic community and what makes it tick -- funky, entertaining, packed with insight, and political in the best, most responsible sense. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Its characters are often abrasive; its language is consistently foul; and it takes a complicated view of race-related violence. Yet it's an attractive and even beguiling film in many ways, too, with large resources of humor and intelligence. Read more

Kathleen Carroll, New York Daily News: In the final analysis, the best thing one can say for Lee is that he takes risks, like all true artists. For unlike most of today's film makers, he's not afraid to really challenge a movie audience to do some serious thinking. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The movie confronts racism head-on, with the kind of clear-eyed and unflinching attitude that is rarely seen in major motion pictures. Lee does not pander to political correctness, nor does he sermonize. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: There's only one way to do the wrong thing about Do the Right Thing: that would be to ignore it. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Lee cagily provides a litmus test for racial attitudes in 1989, but he does so by destroying the integrity of his characters, black and white. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: The film -- at once stylised and realistic -- buzzes throughout with the sheer, edgy bravado that comes from living one's life on the streets. It looks, sounds, and feels right. Read more

Variety Staff, Variety: Spike Lee combines a forceful statement on race relations with solid entertainment values. Read more

Hal Hinson, Washington Post: A movie made by filmmaker working in sync with his times -- an exciting, disturbing, provocative film. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Are you covering your soft parts? Spike Lee is about to drag you into a sizzling kitchen called "Do the Right Thing." Read more