Do the Right Thing (1989), directed by Spike Lee (VIDEO)

Watch the trailer for Do the Right Thing, directed by Spike Lee; No. 6 on our list of the 100 best New York movies.

New York movies: Do the Right Thing (1989)

Placing his thumb firmly on a contemporary sore spot, Spike Lee turned up the heat on New York’s melting pot and watched things boil over. Outraged over the 1986 Howard Beach incident, Lee responded with a 360-degree look at what happens when tempers flare and breaking points are reached. Spike’s magnum opus also doubles as a vivid expressionistic portrait of his native Brooklyn, playing out in a Bed-Stuy neighborhood as colorful as any Gauguin painting: Every stoop philosopher, prophet of antigentrification rage, nosy matriarch and beat-box-loving B-boy gets his or her moment in the spotlight. In short, Do the Right Thing captures the modern urban experience in a nutshell, a movie that threatens to tear itself apart. And that’s the double truth, Ruth.—David Fear

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