->''"Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!"''
-->-- '''Mister Señor Love Daddy'''

A 1989 Creator/SpikeLee [[InsistentTerminology joint]] about bigotry and racism.

Mookie (Spike Lee) is a delivery man for Sal (Danny Aiello), the Italian-American owner of a Brooklyn pizza joint. One hot summer day, a friend of Mookie's, Buggin' Out (Creator/GiancarloEsposito) notices that Sal's "Wall of Fame" has only Italian celebrities, with no blacks; since Sal's income is coming from the many black people of the neighborhood, Buggin' Out feels that they deserve a place on the wall. Sal feels that it's his right as the owner of the restaurant to put up whoever he likes on the wall. This is one of many incidents of racial tension that play out in the neighborhood, but today is the hottest day of the summer, and by the end of the day the tension will build up to violence and tragedy.

There was controversy about it when it came out, with some even warning that the film might incite people to riot (which did not happen). The ambiguous nature of the ending was also controversial. The movie was nominated for two UsefulNotes/{{Academy Award}}s: Best Original Screenplay and Danny Aiello as Sal for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
!!This film contains examples of:

* TheEighties: Like you wouldn't believe.
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Radio Raheem.
* AmbiguousDisorder: It is unclear (and ultimately irrelevant) whether Smiley is autistic or mentally disabled.
* AngryBlackMan: One could say that there are a few (particularly Buggin' Out), but the trope is somewhat inverted when one black man tells another whom is spouting ABM language that he "doesn't want to hear that horseshit." In the commentary track for the DVD release, Spike Lee specifically notes that when Buggin' Out begins ranting about the pictures in the pizzeria, that he disagrees with the character, saying that it's Sal's place, so it's his right to put whatever pictures he likes on the walls.
* AuthorAvatar: Harsher criticism labels Buggin' Out as a self-insert character for Lee. Considering Lee's outspoken contempt for mixed-race couples and his 2014 rant against gentrification, and it's not too much of an impossibility.
* AuthorFilibuster: Lee's views on racism (or at least what he considers racism) aren't particularly subtle anywhere, and this film is no exception.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Creator/SamuelLJackson gets one--Mister Señor Love Daddy--as is his due.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Radio Raheem.]]
* BigApplesauce: Bed-Stuy edition.
* BigBrotherBully: Pino to Vito.
* TheBigGuy: Radio Raheem towers over everyone in the movie, and the camera shots during his conversations with Sal and the Korean grocers always show him from low angles, make him look even more like a giant.
* BigGuyLittleGuy: The tall and quietly imposing Radio Raheem contrasts the comparatively short and hyper-aggressive Buggin' Out pretty nicely. The two are shown to be good friends, [[spoiler: and eventually join together to protest Sal's pizzeria]].
* BigNo:
** [[spoiler: Done by Mother-Sister repeatedly during the riot, specifically when the white firefighters are turning their hoses on the black rioters for failure to disperse.]]
** [[spoiler: Also done by an off-screen resident when the police are choking Radio Raheem to death.]]
* BrooklynRage: Sal and Pino when agitated. Buggin' Out could be considered a black version of it.
* ButNotTooBlack: Mookie gets Pino to admit that 1) his favorite basketball player is Magic Johnson, 2) his favorite actor is Creator/EddieMurphy, and 3) his favorite musician is Music/{{Prince}}. When Mookie calls him out on his hypocrisy of referring to every black person he encounters as a "Nigger", Pino [[OpinionFlipflop backtracks]] and says "They're different".
* ChekhovsGun: Smiley's photos.
* ClusterFBomb: Particularly the argument scenes.
* CultSoundtrack: Music/PublicEnemy's "Fight The Power" is used as a {{Leitmotif}} throughout the film. It would later appear on their album ''Music/FearOfABlackPlanet'' (1990).
* DancingIsSeriousBusiness: In the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U35MvblI4og&hd=1 somewhat abstract]] opening sequence, Rosie Perez (as Tina) dances to "Fight the Power" by Music/PublicEnemy, at times while wearing a sports bra and boxing gloves. She even directly responds to the lyrics "[[Music/ElvisPresley Elvis]] was a hero to most but [[ValuesDissonance he never meant shit to me, sucker was straight-out racist, simple and plain]]" by mimicking Elvis's "Hound Dog" dance. The sequence is obviously meant to illustrate the anger in the community, the theme of "fighting" in the song, and the racially-motivated hatred on all sides in the neighborhood.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Buggin' Out attempts to start a boycott on Sal's pizzeria because Sal won't put up pictures of black people on his Wall of Fame. [[spoiler: He succeeds in getting [[TheBigGuy Radio]] [[AwesomeMcCoolname Raheem]] and [[InspirationallyDisabled Smiley]] on the protest, [[BerserkButton and they begin protesting Sal,]] which led to Sal breaking Radio Raheem's radio, which led to Raheem's attack on Sal, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero which led to the cops showing up and killing Radio Raheem,]] which led to Mookie starting a riot by throwing a trash can at Sal's pizzeria, which led to the pizzeria being burnt down...over some pictures]]. Everything that happened in the spoilered part was bad, but none of it would've happened if Buggin' Out wasn't so [[MinorInsultMeltdown insistent]] on the pictures.
** [[spoiler: Raheem being murdered in cold blood by the NYPD officer for his assault on Sal]].
* DiesWideOpen: [[spoiler:Radio Raheem]].
* DivingSave: Made by Da Mayor, when a kid runs in front of a car while chasing an ice cream truck.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: Radio Raheem's killed by the cops, a riot breaks out and Sal's Pizzeria is burned down. Though WordOfGod via Mookie's cameo in Spike Lee's film ''Red Hook Summer'' confirms that Sal did eventually re-open his pizzeria, Mookie still works as a delivery man and the two reconciled.]]
* EntitledBastard: Mookie starts [[spoiler:a riot that burns down his employer's place of business,]] then has the gall to go back the next day and demand his paycheck.
* EverythingIsRacist: An Italian man hanging pictures of famous Italian men in his Italian Restaurant? RACIST!
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: Takes place over the course of a single summer day (and a little bit of the following morning).
* FirstLawOfTragicomedies: While not a straight comedy, it does feature some slice of life comedic moments... until the last 20 minutes.
* FloweryInsults:
-->'''Mookie:''' You dago-wop, guinea, garlic-breath, pizza-slingin', spaghetti-bendin', Vic Damone, Perry Como, LucianoPavarotti, Sole Mio, nonsingin' motherfucker.\\
'''Pino:''' You gold-teeth-gold-chain-wearin', fried-chicken-and-biscuit-eatin', monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast-runnin', high-jumpin', spear-chuckin', three-hundred-sixty-degree-basketball-dunkin' titsun spade Moulan Yan. Take your fuckin' piece o' pizza and go the fuck back to Africa.\\
'''Stevie:''' You little slanty-eyed, me-no-speaky-American, own-every-fruit-and-vegetable-stand-in-New-York, bullshit, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Summer Olympics '88, Korean kick-boxing son of a bitch.\\
'''Officer Long:''' You Goya bean-eating, fifteen in a car, thirty in an apartment, pointed shoes, red-wearing, Menudo, mire-mire Puerto Rican cocksucker. Yeah, you!\\
'''Sonny:''' It's cheap, I got a good price for you, Mayor Koch, "How I'm doing," chocolate-egg-cream-drinking, bagel-and-lox, B'nai B'rith Jew asshole.
* ForWantOfANail: A petty argument about a character's choice of decoration snowballs into [[spoiler:a full-blown race riot]].
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: When Mookie and Vito are talking about Pino, you can see [[Creator/SamuelLJackson Mister Señor Love Daddy]] gesturing wildly from the radio station to try and get their attention (as Mookie is supposed to be delivering his lunch).
* GreyAndGreyMorality: Many of the main characters are of questionable morals [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation and their actions can be interpreted one way or another.]] Mookie is not a hard worker but clearly cares for his son and is respected in the community, Pino is a {{jerkass}} whose own friends don't respect him, Buggin' Out is a black militant [[MalcolmXerox Malcolm X wannabe]] who could be a good character but misdirects his ideals of black justice at Sal, who never did anything wrong to anyone, and Sal himself is a decent man who canít control his temper and has some latent racist tendencies.
* HeatWave: The film takes place during the biggest one of the year, and the rising temperature is frequently used as a metaphor for the rising tensions between the various racial groups of the neighborhood.
* HotBlooded: Buggin' Out is incredibly loud, angry and driven.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Buggin' Out accuses Sal of being racist for featuring famous Italian Americans on the wall of his Italian Pizzaria, then later verbally assaults a white bicycler, saying that he doesn't have any right to live or be in a black neighborhood, all because the cycler got dirt on Buggin's shoes.
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: Smiley.
* IResembleThatRemark:
-->'''Mookie:''' Why are you always cursing?\\
'''Tina:''' I don't [[HypocriticalHumor fuckin']] curse that much!
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Pino. He is a racist who barely bothers hiding his racism, and hates working in his dad's pizzeria to the point where he outright refuses to sweep up front and constantly asks someone else to do so. He's very disrespectful to even his own brother, and especially to the people in the neighborhood (Mookie, Smiley, etc.). In a [[HypocriticalHumor twist]] of {{irony}} though, his favorite celebrities are Creator/EddieMurphy, Magic Johnson and Prince, only so liked because according to Pino, they're [[ButNotTooBlack 'different']]. Also, his racism might be explained away by his [[WithFriendsLikeThese 'friends']] barely tolerating him because he's the son of Sal and otherwise hating on him, though not excused.
** Buggin' Out as well due to his bigotry, hypocrisy, and self righteous attitude.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: A large number of the cast are either bigoted, ignorant, or short-tempered, but most of them are shown to have softer sides. The most notable examples are Mookie, who is generally a decent guy who is popular with just about everyone in the neighborhood despite his LazyBum tendencies, and Sal, who, while curmudgeonly, still tends to be reasonable and even kind to others. The fact that almost everyone has some redeeming qualities makes the eventual DownerEnding all the more depressing.
* KarmaHoudini:
** Mookie, who [[spoiler: seemingly suffers no punishment for starting the riot that led to the destruction of Sal's Famous. Considering his reason for starting the riot in the first place was the death of his close friend, though, it's still hard to call the end of his story a happy one.]]
** The police who [[spoiler:choked Radio Raheem to death]].
* KnuckleTattoos: Subverted in that the typical LOVE/HATE tattoos are replaced by Radio Raheem's gold-knuckle jewelry.
* MagicalNegro: Da Mayor tries to be this, but no one seems to show any respect to him these days.
* MalcolmXerox: Buggin Out' borders on this.
* MeaningfulName: Buggin' Out, who spends almost all of his screen time ranting and raving about ultimately trivial things.
* MinorInjuryOverreaction: Buggin' Out overreacting when a guy accidentally scuffs his new shoes. When the guy apologizes he still makes it a big deal. Of course, the guy being white might've had something to do with it.
* MistakenForRacist: Sal, though few of his mannerisms do exhibit a slightly concealed racism, such as when he [[WhatTheHellHero threatens to bust Buggin' Out's head in]] for provoking him over [[MinorInsultMeltdown the pictures on the wall]]. Buggin' Out even looked offended at the bat gesture and being called "a troublemaker." [[spoiler: This is particularly displayed when Raheem, Buggin' and Smiley enter his store at the end to confront him. Of course, that could be just because they keep getting on his case.]] It's a very ambiguous case, indeed, but screaming racial slurs at his customers sorta tips the scale.
* MsFanservice: Rosie Perez in the intro, although Spike Lee may not have intended it that way. Not to mention her topless scene... The reason you never see her face during her nude scene was because she felt she was being exploited and was crying while the scenes were being filmed.
* NiceGuy: Da Mayor and Jade are two of the kindest and most open-minded people in the neighborhood. Sadly, no one listens to either very often.
* OnlySaneMan: Da Mayor. Following [[spoiler:Radio's death,]] the former tries to dissuade the mob from doing something they'll later regret. [[spoiler: They don't listen]].
* PoliceBrutality: One of the most controversial examples in cinema.
* PoliceAreUseless: An Italian guy's car is soaked by some black kids messing with a fire hydrant. What do New York's finest do? Put the cap back on the hydrant, mock the guy's attempts to make a report for vandalization, and suggest he take off before the locals decide to strip his car clean.
* PowderKegCrowd: Which explodes into a riot after Mookie tosses the trashcan through Sal's window.
* TheRichHaveWhiteStuff: Sal's white corvette shows the separation between him and the locals.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: This film was inspired by an actual incident in New York where some black youths were chased out of a pizzeria by some white youths in a section of New York known as Howard Beach.
* SassyBlackWoman: Mother Sister
* ScaryBlackMan: Radio Raheem.
* ShoutOut:
** Radio's description of his LOVE and HATE jewelery is a reference to ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter''.
** There's also a sequence of speeches (see FloweryInsults above) which reference an old Pepsi Cola ad. ("Lip smacking, thirst quenching, ace-tasting, motivating, good buzzing, cool talking, high walking, fast living, ever-giving, cool fizzing...")
** At one point during his radio show, Mister Señor Love Daddy does a "roll call" wherein he name-checks a veritable Who's Who of racially black musicians.
* SchmuckBait: "My car is an antique, you better not spray it with water!" [[SarcasmMode Yeah, you're totally not begging for it.]]
* SpicyLatina: Tina.
* TheStoic: Mookie confronts pretty much all of the moments in his life, happy or sad, good or bad, with the same sleepy expression and slightly annoyed tone of voice. During more intense scenes, however, his expression, while unchanging, comes off as being one of quiet intensity rather than tiredness.
* TitleDrop: Da Mayor advises Mookie using the name of this film.
* TorchesAndPitchforks: At least the former is used.
* YankTheDogsChain: Right as Sal, the kindly old man who's one of the few genuinely kind people, is about to let in some customers even though he's closed, because he just loves his community, [[spoiler:a riot breaks out ending up with Sal being attacked on the street, Radio Raheem dead, the pizzeria that he built and ran all his life looted and burnt to the ground,]] all by the people who he just moments ago happily mentioned grew up on his pizza.
''Always [[TitleDrop do the right thing]].''