Watch: Spike Lee's BTS Footage for 'Do the Right Thing'

Go behind the scenes of Spike Lee's masterpiece.

Some awesome relics from the past continue to float to the internet's surface, and this series of videos goes behind the scenes on Spike Lee's 1989 breakout film Do the Right Thing, which constitutes a day (the hottest day) in the life of a community in Brooklyn.

Spike brought a small camera along to document the development of the actors, and provides a candid look into the heart of the independent filmmaking process. Hit the jump to watch the video below.

Video is no longer available:

It's fascinating to see everybody working together in the thick of the creative process, and watching Spike Lee direct from early on. Films are platforms for ideas, and it takes a lot of people to bring these ideas to life. If you're directing a film, I think it's essential to sit down and discuss the ideas behind the work you're preparing to do, and getting your actors on the same page with you. For a script that Spike Lee penned in only two weeks, the relationship with the actors becomes even more important, and he's quoted as saying "Do the Right Thing was like the first film where I really felt comfortable working with actors."

Do the Right Thing helped launch a lot of careers, namely that of Rosie Perez, and it's cool to see some of the hesitations and struggles she expresses during that time. As you can see in the third video, she talks about having trouble getting into it, being that she never intended on acting or being a part of a film at all. As always, join the discussion in the comments below.

You Might Also Like

Your Comment


this is gold. thanks for posting!

May 2, 2013 at 7:53AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Matt B

"You got D's motherf**ker, D's, Rosie Perez." - Kanye West. This has Nothing to do with anything but it's the first thing that came to mind on reading Rosie Perez name.

Good rare videos though. Thank you Micah!

May 2, 2013 at 7:56AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Spike and Ernest Dickerson, ASC are HUGE inspirations to me. You guys have NO idea how much this hits home for me as a 34yr old, Black American filmmaker here in New York City. Thank you so damn much for posting this.

May 2, 2013 at 9:04AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


GOOD stuff, this post really hits home and brings back memories.

One because as an indie film maker, people often forget that "Do THE righ thing" went up against JURASSIC PARK on the same opening weekend and did well compared to a film that cost 10x times as much

Second, it introuduced us to an array of amazing actors and actresses

May 2, 2013 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



Just curious, which country are you referring to that opened DTRT in 1993? That's four years after the original release in the States and the UK.

I'm not being coy, I sincerely want to know what international release strategies Universal Pictures were using.

May 2, 2013 at 11:31AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



May 2, 2013 at 11:31AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Great insight. One of my favorites. It's no wonder the actors in this film all delivered such great performances, Spike is a gifted filmmaker through and through.

May 2, 2013 at 11:51AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Anthony Marino

This is amazing! You should check out the BTS' from the Evil Dead films (I remember many years ago absolutely LOVING the Evil Dead 2 BTS - Behind The Screams). They are all easily discoverable on YouTube. Love stuff like this - it's amazingly inspiring.

May 2, 2013 at 12:21PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I love how Giancarlo Esposito (Gus) schools Bill Nunn 1:40 mins into the last video.
He created this elaborate back story for his character and Nunn is just like, "Damn."
Working with talented people definitely makes you better.

Radio Raheem is one of my favorite characters in film.

May 2, 2013 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"20 D Energizers"

May 2, 2013 at 2:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Watching Danny Aiello rehearsing those lines was awesome.

May 2, 2013 at 5:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



May 3, 2013 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Ryan Koo

I have n't been checking my emails frequently, but when i saw this post it wowed me.Spike and Ernest are inspiring great admiration. I could not stop watching this movie over and over again this reminds me when Spike was in South Africa to film the last segment of MalcomX with Nelson Mandela and i was invited by Spike to come over to New York and cover the Premier opening of the movie at Zigfield Theatre. that was eye opening for me as a Video Cameraman, and would like to specialize in my country from this experience. i am late to watch this post, but thanks i damn loveit.

May 4, 2013 at 9:13AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Ben Montsho