Netflix just added a throwback classic to its service. At the beginning of the month, Netflix added Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. The film is one of the director’s most famous projects and even garnered two Academy Award nominations.
Netflix added Do the Right Thing on September 1. Do the Right Thing was written and directed by Lee, who also appeared in the movie. It starred Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, and Samuel L. Jackson. As previously mentioned, the 1989 film sparked a great deal of awards attention and nabbed plenty of nominations and wins following its release.
Do the Right Thing was nominated for four Golden Globe awards, including a nod for Best Motion Picture in the drama category. It was also nominated for two Academy Awards — one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Aiello and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Lee. The classic film was even nominated for the esteemed Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Many critics have since said that Do the Right Thing deserved to win the lofty prize at the film festival. While the film did not win the Palme d’Or, Lee would go on to make history at the event in 2021.
For the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, which took place this past July, Lee became the first Black Competition jury president in the event’s 74-year history, per Deadline. During the film festival, Chaz Ebert, the wife of the late film critic Roger Ebert, told Lee that her husband had been disappointed that Do the Right Thing didn’t win any awards at the event years prior. In response, the director said that he has a “special place in [his] heart for Roger” and added that the United States-based press thought that Do the Right Thing “would start race riots all across America.”
Lee went on to reflect on the film’s legacy, noting that the events depicted in the film, which sees a Black character being killed by police officers, still hold relevance today. He cited the deaths of two Black men, George Floyd and Eric Garner, as he said, “You would think and hope that 30-something motherf*cking years later that Black people would have stopped being hunted down like animals.” Deadline noted that his comments drew a great deal of applause from the audience.