Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, starring Lee himself, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson, and is the feature film debut of Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez. The story explores a Brooklyn neighborhood’s simmering racial tension between its African-American residents and the Italian-American owners of a local pizzeria, culminating in tragedy and violence on one of the hottest of summer days.
Appearing on the 10th-anniversaryeditionof the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest American films, DO THE RIGHT THING (1989) explores racial tensions exacerbated by the summer heat in a New York neighborhood. An imperative work from iconic director and 2011 AFI Honorary Degree recipient Spike Lee, the film features Public Enemy’s powerful call to action – “Fight the Power” – which was since ranked #40 on AFI’s list of the greatest movie songs of all time.
The film ends with the following quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X: “‘Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys the community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in a monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers,’ – Martin Luther King”; and, “‘I think there are plenty of good people in America, but there are also plenty of bad people in America and the bad ones are the ones who seem to have all the power and be in these positions to block things that you and I need. Because this is the situation, you and I have to preserve the right to do what is necessary to bring an end to that situation, and it doesn’t mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t even call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence,’ – Malcolm X.”
Do the Right Thing was ranked 96th on AFI’s 2007 100 Years…100 Movies–10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1999, and won Best Picture and Best Director from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, in addition to Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello) from the Chicago Film Critics Association. The New York Film Critics awarded Ernest Dickerson with Best Cinematography, and the film received the following Academy Award nominations: Actor in a Supporting Role (Danny Aiello), and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). The Golden Globe Awards also nominated Do the Right Thing for Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Danny Aiello); Best Director – Motion Picture; and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!
About AFI Movie Club
AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating. AFI Movie Club was launched as a free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together. AFI shines a spotlight on an iconic movie each day. Audiences can “gather” at AFI.com/MovieClub to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. (Source: AFI News Release)
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Announces New Exhibitions
Scheduled for the 2022-2023 Season
Upcoming Exhibitions Will Include Galleries Devoted to The Godfather, Agnès Varda, BOYZ N THE HOOD, Lourdes Portillo, Casablanca, the history of Black Cinema from 1898–1971, and Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
Hollywoodland Will Become the Museum’s First Permanent Exhibition and Will Showcase the Founding and Founders of the Film Industry in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, March 21, 2022—The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced the first round of exhibition rotations, which are scheduled for the 2022–2023 season. These rotations further the museum’s mission to advance the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through dynamic and diverse exhibitions.
Beginning this summer, the Academy Museum will open the expansive exhibition Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971, which willexplore the history of Black cinema, from its earliest days to just after the civil rights movement. In the fall, the museum will open galleries devoted to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) and the influences of French filmmaker Agnès Varda. In early 2023, several new exhibitions will open, including spaces dedicated to BOYZ N THE HOOD(1991), Casablanca(1942), documentarian Lourdes Portillo, and the collaborative work of production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer. In late spring 2023, the Academy Museum will open its first permanent exhibition,Hollywoodland , chronicling the founding and the founders of the Hollywood studio system in Los Angeles. In addition, new objects, images, and interviews will be added to numerous galleries, including Gregory Peck’s Oscar for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), storyboards and scripts from Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) and The Birds (1963), costumes designed by Travis Banton, Edith Head, and Ann Roth, and interviews with film editors Maysie Hoy, Carol Littleton, and Sam Pollard, among others.
Concurrently, the Academy Museum’s public spaces—the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, the Ted Mann Lobby, the Netflix Lounge, the Walt Disney Company Piazza, the Dolby Family Terrace, the Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman Mezzanine, and the spine of the museum—will be refreshed by Kulapat Yantrasast and WHY Architecture. Incorporating cinematic elements and moments of digital engagement and connectivity, these spaces will be designed to more deeply enhance the visitor experience.
Bill Kramer, Director and President of the Academy Museum, said, “The history of film is endlessly rich and varied, which is why we envisioned the exhibitions of the Academy Museum as a continually evolving set of installations and virtual content. We are delighted to present a new round of stories, explorations, moving images, props, and other objects that explore the many facets of moviemaking – from the founding of Hollywood to present day. These rotations give our visitors many wonderful reasons to come back, while offering an extraordinary invitation to others to engage with the museum.”
Jacqueline Stewart, Chief Artistic and Programming Officer of the Academy Museum, said, “In our core exhibition, we are excited to continue offering a multitude of perspectives on film and filmmaking, drawing on the unmatched resources of our collection. These new exhibitions contrast two different versions of a ‘classic’ film with Casablanca and BOYZ N THE HOOD. They highlight different ways in which directors can inspire others with Coppola’s landmark The Godfather and the iconoclastic Agnès Varda. And they showcase two strikingly different approaches to the filmmaking process with the fierce independence of Lourdes Portillo and the deep collaboration of Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer. In addition, the epic exhibitionRegeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971 will invite visitors to explore the broad range of Black participation in filmmaking dating back to the beginning of cinema, while Hollywoodland will help visitors better understand how and why Hollywood’s studio system was created here in Los Angeles.”
Information on upcoming exhibition rotations follow below.
REGENERATION: BLACK CINEMA 1898–1971
In August, the Academy Museum will open Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971 —a research-driven, in-depth look at Black participation in American filmmaking. It will highlight the work of independent Black filmmakers from the dawn of cinema to the civil rights movement. The exhibition will elevate this underrepresented aspect of artistic production and present a more inclusive story about film history. Featured artists include Lena Horne, Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson, William Greaves, Josephine Baker, the Nicholas Brothers, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, and more. The exhibitionis co-organized by Doris Berger, Vice President of Curatorial Affairs for the Academy Museum and Rhea L. Combs, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the National Portrait Gallery. Additional details will be announced soon.
Opening in late Spring 2023,Hollywoodland will trace the history of filmmaking in Los Angeles back to its roots at the beginning of the 20th century, illustrating how and why the city became the world capital of cinema that it still is today. This immersive gallery will convey the evolving topography of Los Angeles along the timeline of the developing movie industry, allowing visitors to feel a tangible proximity to this rich history and encouraging further exploration of the city’s landmarks upon departing the Academy Museum. The exhibition will focus on the predominantly Jewish founders of the early Hollywood studio system, delving into how their personal narratives shaped the distinct characteristics of the movies their respective studios produced. It will foreground the ways in which the birth of the American film industry—and therefore the projected depiction of the American Dream—is truly an immigrant story. In addition to highlighting the origins of the studios commonly known as “The Majors,” the exhibition will also explore the independent producers working in Hollywood in the early 1900s. Among these studios and producers, there are high-stakes stories of ingenuity that will engage visitors and offer a deeper understanding of Hollywood history. The exhibition is organized by Associate Curator Dara Jaffe in collaboration with Associate Curator of Digital Presentations Gary Dauphin.
STORIES OF CINEMA EXHIBITION ROTATIONS
Like cinema itself, thegalleries of the museum’s core exhibition Stories of Cinema will evolve and change over time to highlight different movies, artists, eras, genres, and more. Following are new rotations that will be presented in the 2022–2023 season in Stories of Cinema.
The Art of Moviemaking: The Godfather,will open on November 3, 2022 and will showcase the collaborative process of the making of this masterpiece through a wide array of original objects, images, and stories. In 1972, director Francis Ford Coppola’s interpretation of Mario Puzo’s popular novel provided an operatic and poignant reflection on the American Dream that not only radically transformed the moviegoing experience, but also the moviemaking process. Featured costumes, props, scripts, and equipment will highlight the contributions of each cinematic branch, exploring how they innovated amidst the limitations and freedoms of “New Hollywood.” Object highlights include Don Corleone’s desk and chair used in The GodfatherTrilogy, Coppola’s original “Godfather notebook,” and a costume worn by Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II. This exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator Sophia Serrano. Leading up to The Godfather gallery rotation, the Academy Museum Store will be releasing an exclusive limited-edition The Godfather LP in partnership with Amoeba Records. The album will feature music from The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and will include music from the trilogy. Pre-order your copy today at academymuseumstore.org.
Also opening on November 3 is Director’s Inspiration: Agnès Varda. Rather than drawing inspiration from other filmmakers or films, Varda was influenced by her life, experiences, and the world around her. As a result, her work is undeniably personal. This gallery will highlight her influences and films from her six-decade long career ranging from La Pointe Courte (1955) to Varda by Agnès (2019). A photographer prior to becoming a filmmaker, the gallery will explore Varda’s time behind the still camera including prints, contact sheets, and photography related production materials. From her years living in Los Angeles to her familial relationships, the autobiographical elements that permeate all aspects of Varda’s filmography will be represented using personal postcards, props, family photographs, and other production materials. Additionally, Varda’s career as a fine artist and her longstanding love of art history which influenced many of her films will be explored using production notebooks, posters, and a model for one of her cinema shack installations. This exhibition is organized by Vice President of Curatorial Affairs Doris Berger and Assistant Curator Ana Santiago.
In February 2023, the Significant Movies and Moviemakersgallery will reopen with a four-gallery experience that will showcase the classic drama Casablanca(1942), the groundbreaking film BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991), the collaboration between production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer, and documentarian Lourdes Portillo.
The museum’s celebration of Casablancawill feature original production objects highlighting beloved characters, settings, music, and the cinematic virtuosity that made the 1942 film one of Hollywood’s most enduring classics. The gallery will explore the influx of European émigrés who contributed their talents both in front of and behind the camera, echoing the narrative themes of the film itself. Though Casablanca is a timeless piece of cinema in its romance and artistry, it is also meaningfully and inextricably tied to the context of its war-time production during a refugee crisis—a context this gallery will seek to illustrate. This exhibition is organized by Associate Curator Dara Jaffe.
The BOYZ N THE HOODgallery will explore the 1991 movie’s groundbreaking depiction of Black life in South Los Angeles, as well as its lasting impact in popular culture. The space will highlight writer-director John Singleton’s unique vision for the film, for which he became both the first African American and the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Director. This gallery will also spotlight the larger cast and crew, including Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, and Angela Bassett, and show the pivotal role the film played, not only in their careers, but also in ushering in a new generation of Black talent in Hollywood. This gallery is organized by Research Assistants Esme Douglas and Manouchka Kelly Labouba.
Longtime collaboratorsproduction designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer have translated a diverse array of periods and locations to screen. From bringing to life Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel in Anna Karenina (2012), to depicting Winston Churchill’s war room in Darkest Hour (2017), this gallery will spotlight Greenwood and Spencer’s collaboration and give a glimpse into their design process. Objects such as research materials, production design drawings, and a set model will be featured in the gallery, organized by Ana Santiago.
A gallery devoted to Lourdes Portillowillhighlight the life and career of this vital documentarian, visual artist, journalist, and activist. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, Portillo’s documentaries blend experimental and traditional modes of storytelling to forefront issues of identity and social justice in the US and Latin America. This gallery focuses on key projects including Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (1985), La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (1988), The Devil Never Sleeps (1994), and Señorita Extraviada/Missing Young Woman (2001). This gallery is organized by Sophia Serrano.
STORIES OF CINEMA NEW COLLECTION ROTATIONS
Also during the 2022-2023 season, new objects and media selected from the vast collection of the Academy, as well as loans from private collections, will go on view throughout the Stories of Cinema galleries.
This spring, the Inventing Worlds and Characters galleries that are dedicated to animation and effects will feature: new works highlighting the independent animation of John and Faith Hubley including character animation, cel setup, and backgrounds from Moonbird (1959) and Cockaboody (1974); new cels from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira (1988); concept drawings by Ray Harryhausen for Jason and the Argonauts (1963); and concept drawings by Georges Méliès for The Conquest of the Pole (À la conquête du pôle, 1912).
In November, the Identity gallery will feature costumes worn by Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951) designed by Edith Head; Olivia Coleman as Queen Anne in The Favourite (2018), designed by Sandy Powell; Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc in Suspiria (2018) designed by Giulia Piersanti; and Richard Pryor as Charlie Snow in The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1973), designed by Bernard Johnson. The gallery will highlight renowned make-up artist Ken Diaz and legendary costume designer Ann Roth through in-depth case studies of their work.
In spring 2023, new additions to the gallery will include costumes worn by Anna May Wong as Tu Tuan in Limehouse Blues (1934), designed by Travis Banton; Carmen Miranda as Rosita Rivas in Weekend in Havana (1941), designed by Gwen Wakeling; Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946), designed by Leah Rhodes; Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce (1946), designed by Milo Anderson; and Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), designed by Moss Mabry.
In November, the Academy Awards History gallery will showcase Gregory Peck’s Oscar for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), the Elie Saab gown worn by Halle Berry to the 74th Academy Awards in 2002, the tuxedo worn by Francis Ford Coppola to the 45th Academy Awards in 1973, and the Swarovski-studded vegan leather jacket worn by costume designer Jenny Beavan to the 88th Academy Awards in 2016.
In November, the Story gallery, dedicated to showcasing the creation and development of story in cinema, will highlight case studies on Hitchcock’s adaptations of Daphne du Maurier’s writing: Rebecca (1940) and The Birds (1963). The Rebecca study will look at the role producer David O. Selznick played in bringing the film to the screen, as well as the importance of Kay Brown, Selznick’s East Coast Story Editor, and writer Joan Harrison. The Birds installation will focus on Evan Hunter’s script and Harold Michelson’s storyboards of the now iconic sequence outside the schoolhouse.
Additional new objects from films spanning the silent era to the present day include script pages from Stella Dallas (1925), written by Frances Marion; script pages from Adam’s Rib (1949), written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin; notebooks and script pages for Mosquita y Mari (2012), written and directed by Aurora Guerrero; and script notes and script pages from Queen and Slim (2019), written by Lena Waithe.
In spring 2023, the Image gallery—which already includes vital interviews and the works of many cinematographers, production designers, and set decorators—will be expanded to include conversations with film editors Carol Littleton, Maysie Hoy, and Sam Pollard. These important interviews are from the Academy Oral History Collection.
Visiting the Academy Museum
Tickets to the Academy Museum are available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website and mobile app. General admission tickets for the museum’s exhibitions are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62+), and $15 for students. Admission for visitors ages 17 and younger, and for California residents with an EBT, card is free.