Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee


The film Do the Right Thing was released in 1989 and was directed and produced by Spike Lee. Spike Lee played a part in the film as Mookie alongside other characters like Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee among many others. The film set is within the Brooklyn neighborhood and revolves majorly around racial tension whereby the characters portray different aspects of prejudice and acts of racial superiority. The movie portrays the historical issues of racism as experienced in different parts of America as well as other parts of the world, thereby urging people to take action against injustices, oppression, or to attain satisfaction.

Film advocating for action

The film Do the Right Thing advocates for the people to take action in various ways when things seem not to be promoting fairness or equality. In the movie, Sal, who is the owner of the pizzeria, has been running his restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant for 25 years that is an African American dominated neighborhood. However, he does not have any pictures of blacks on the wall of fame rather there are only Italian American individuals. Bugging Out sets out to change the “wall of fame” situation through protests to win over other people to make Sal put up black pictures (Adinda). Bugging Out took action through forming a protest to create equality on Sal’s wall of fame to accommodate black people.

Another way the film advocates for action is like when Mookie went to Sal to demand his weekly pay. Mookie had worked for the previous week before Sal’s restaurant got burnt down, and he needed the payment for his family’s upkeep. Mookie took action by demanding his payment even though it resulted in an argument with Sal. Sal felt like Mookie had betrayed him during the destruction of his restaurant that is why he was reluctant to pay him. Mookie and Sal reconciled after the argument, and he eventually got paid (Adinda). Had Mookie not taken action to approach and demand payment from Sal he would not have gotten paid.

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In the movie, the events advocate for action as Sal gets into a fight with Radio Raheem because of the noise from his radio, and the fight ends up in the street. Police arrive and apprehend Raheem and Bugging Out but one police officer holds Raheem on a chokehold till he dies despite pleas from the people (Adinda). The death of Raheem angers the crowd and blame Sal resulting is Sal’s restaurant being destroyed and getting burnt by the enraged crowd. The crowd took action of avenging Raheem’s death by destroying Sal’s pizzeria because Raheem was seen as helpless and the crowd defended him.

Taking action involves taking part in an activity to change something you dislike or that affects you negatively. The film is advocating for more action whereby Mookie is not comfortable with her sister’s close relationship with Sal and makes an effort to change that. In an attempt to stop Jade and Sal close relationship, Mookie tells her sister to stop going to the pizzeria. Additionally, Mookie approached Sal who was his boss and tells him to stay away from his sister (Adinda). Sal and Jade’s friendship was disliked by Mookie, and he took it upon himself to stop it by warning both of them. Mookie’s action of telling the two characters to keep off each other shows that taking action can result in desired positive effects.

The movie portrays several aspects of taking action like in the case of Sal who is a successful pizzeria owner. Sal built his pizza enterprise in Brooklyn brick by brick that was very tasking (Adinda). This clearly shows that if an individual wants success, there is the need to invest in hard work and be dedicated. Had Sal not taken initiative towards growing his firm, he would not have realized many benefits. Currently, the pizza business is running smoothly with many customers, but initially, it faced difficult and rough times. For positive effects to be realized, there is the need for an individual to take action in activities that will result in positive output such as Sal and his pizza enterprise.


In conclusion, it is evident that the movie portrays more action rather than tolerance as many scenes capture the characters taking part in activities that result in change. Most of the actions that are portrayed in the movie Do the Right Thing are mostly connected with the aspect of race in one way or another. In Brooklyn where the movie was set up, there were many cases of racial bias or discrimination, and the people took action using various methods to try and eliminate the issues. The film is advocating for action as it shows positive outcomes resulting from initiatives made by the characters.


Work Cited

Adinda, Susan Ida. “Do the Right Thing (1989) Movie – Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee.” YouTube, 2017.