Do The Right Thing
“Are we gonna live together, together are we gonna live? ”It's the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and tensions are growing there, with the only local businesses being a Korean grocery and Sal's Pizzeria. Mookie, Sal's delivery boy, manages to always be at the center of the action. This is a provocative exploration of racial tensions that transcends the “black community” to confront viewers with what it means to live together and “do the right thing”.
See Do The Right Thing 20th Anniversary Interview with Spike Lee
Read reviews by Indie Wire and Roger Ebert
Questions For Discussion
- What is the significance of the movie being set on the hottest day?
- What film techniques did director Spike Lee use to underscore his theme(s)?
- Which character did you like or identify with? Dislike?
- Why did Mookie throw the garbage can through the pizziera window?
- What do you make of Radio Raheem's soliloquy on "K.O.-d by Love"?
- In the theme song "Fight the Power", what is the Power? Is it just economic? Is it also about imagination?
- During this one day justice gets worked out (or not) in the day-to-day interactions. How do the "micro" and the "macro" come together?
- What functions do the 'Mister Senor Love Daddy' and the 'da Mayor' characters play?
- Was Sal primarily a racist or was he a compassionate entrepreneur who struggled with limitations?
- The Cain and Abel biblical story is mentioned in the movie. How is that story played out in 'Do the Right Thing'?
- What other biblical stories does the movie remind you of? Is there an interpretive scripture text that comes to mind?
- What do you make of the ambigious ending? How is it connected with the two strands represented by the views of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X?
- Is violence ever the right choice to solve interracial tensions?
- Does the movie's themes resonate in our own inner city neighbourhoods?