Analyzing The Film Shot Do The Right Thing

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 677 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 677|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Overview of the Film
  2. Analysis of the Film's Visual Style
  3. Exploration of Social and Cultural Issues
  4. Examination of Characters and Character Development
  5. Critique of the Film's Narrative Structure
  6. Reception and Impact
  7. Conclusion
  8. References:

The film "Do the Right Thing," directed by Spike Lee, is a powerful exploration of racial tensions and conflicts in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Released in 1989, the film remains relevant today, shedding light on the pervasive issues of racism and prejudice in society. This essay will provide an in-depth analysis of the film's visual style, portrayal of social and cultural issues, character development, narrative structure, reception, and lasting impact.

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Overview of the Film

"Do the Right Thing" is set in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer. The film follows a diverse cast of characters as they navigate racial tensions, police brutality, and personal conflicts. At the time of its release, the United States was experiencing heightened racial tensions, with incidents such as the Central Park jogger case and the growing prominence of hip-hop culture. These social and cultural events heavily influenced the context in which the film was released, making it a pertinent commentary on the state of the nation.

Analysis of the Film's Visual Style

The visual style of "Do the Right Thing" is crucial to its storytelling. Spike Lee's use of vivid colors, dynamic camera angles, and striking composition creates a visually engaging and thematically rich experience. For example, the use of red as a dominant color throughout the film symbolizes the rising heat and simmering tension in the neighborhood. In addition, the famous "double dolly" shot, in which characters are filmed moving towards the camera on a dolly, adds an intense and kinetic energy to pivotal moments in the narrative.

Exploration of Social and Cultural Issues

The film delves deeply into the portrayal of racial tensions and conflicts in a diverse urban environment. "Do the Right Thing" presents a nuanced view of racial and ethnic dynamics, capturing the complexity and humanity of its characters. Furthermore, the film reflects the sociopolitical climate of the late 1980s, offering a critical commentary on social justice, police brutality, and the immigrant experience. The representation of different racial and ethnic groups in the film is multifaceted, highlighting the unique struggles and perspectives of each community.

Examination of Characters and Character Development

The main characters in "Do the Right Thing" are compelling and multifaceted, each with their own motivations and arcs. From Radio Raheem's love for his boombox to Mookie's conflicts with his employer and the community, the characters drive the narrative forward with their dynamic relationships and interactions. The film paints a vivid portrait of a vibrant neighborhood, populated by individuals with their own dreams, fears, and flaws.

Critique of the Film's Narrative Structure

The narrative structure of "Do the Right Thing" is a key element of its storytelling effectiveness. Through the use of parallel storylines and multiple perspectives, the film weaves together a complex tapestry of urban life. This narrative approach allows for a rich exploration of the characters and their interconnected experiences, providing a panoramic view of the neighborhood and its social dynamics.

Reception and Impact

Upon its release, "Do the Right Thing" received critical acclaim and sparked widespread conversation about its themes and messages. The film's unflinching portrayal of racial tensions and the tragic climax left a lasting impact on audiences, spurring discussions about race, justice, and community. Furthermore, the film's influence can be seen in subsequent works of cinema, as it set a new standard for storytelling and representation in film.

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In conclusion, "Do the Right Thing" stands as a timeless and poignant exploration of race, community, and morality. Through its vibrant visual style, nuanced portrayal of social and cultural issues, compelling characters, narrative structure, and lasting impact, the film continues to resonate with audiences and provoke meaningful conversations about the state of society. "Do the Right Thing" remains a powerful and necessary work of art, challenging viewers to confront the complexities of race relations and the importance of doing the right thing.


  1. Siskel, G., & Ebert, R. (1989). Do The Right Thing [Film review]. At The Movies.
  2. Press, J. (2019). Spike Lee Reflects On His Career In The Shadow Of 'Do The Right Thing'. NPR.
  3. Sharrett, C. (2018). American Cinema in the Reagan Era: Do the Right Thing. Edinburgh University Press. doi:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424579.003.0012
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Analyzing the Film Shot Do the Right Thing. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from
“Analyzing the Film Shot Do the Right Thing.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024,
Analyzing the Film Shot Do the Right Thing. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2024].
Analyzing the Film Shot Do the Right Thing [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 May 29]. Available from:
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