If you haven’t seen Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece “Do The Right Thing” then I strongly recommend it.
Maybe I should qualify that statement – if you want American racial tensions encapsulated within two hours of a powerful moving story which does a better job than most of putting a human face on senseless violence, then this is for you.
Excellent performances from Lee himself, Rosie Perez, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Samuel L Jackson and Richard Edson amongst others makes this a movie that has you gripped and keeps you thinking and teaches you things you didn’t even know you needed to learn, and what’s more you don’t even have to convert to the teachings of Malcolm X to do it.
Below is the dialogue from my favourite part of the movie. Five of the main characters go on a “Taunt-Off” with Samuel L Jackson’s character coming in at the end to try and make them see sense.
When I first found the script website I despaired because the whole movie was on one page, but I soon realized a quick “Find on this page” with the word “wop” would lead me where I wanted to go…
MOOKIE (African American, to Pino)
Dago, wop, garlic-breath, guinea,
Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano
Pavarotti, Sole Mio, nonsinging
PINO (Italian American, to Mookie)
You gold-teeth, gold-chain-wearing,
monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh,
STEVIE (Latino American, to Korean)
You slant-eyed, me-no-speak-
American, own every fruit and
vegetable stand in New York,
Reverend Moon, Summer Olympics '88,
Korean kick-boxing bastard.
OFFICER LONG (Caucasian, to Stevie)
Goya bean-eating, fifteen in a car,
thirty in an apartment, pointed
shoes, red-wearing, Menudo, meda-
meda Puerto Rican cocksucker.
KOREAN CLERK (to Officer Long)
It's cheap, I got a good price for
you, Mayor Koch, "How I'm doing,"
and lox, B'nai B'rith asshole.
MISTER SEÑOR LOVE DADDY (to everyone)
Yo! Hold up! Time out! Time out!
Y'all take a chill. Ya need to
cool that shit out... and that's
the truth, Ruth.
You said it, Mister Señor Love Daddy.
You know what, I’m actually a little disappointed the Irish didn’t get a mention!
"Guinness-drinkin, green-fields-havin, gun-smugglin, popular-people-begrudgin, names-that start-with-O-apostrophe-havin, British-hatin Paddies!!!!"