Directors: Spike Lee


BIOGRAPHY (from Wikipedia)

Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, writer, actor, and professor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films since 1983.

He made his directorial debut with She’s Gotta Have It (1986). He has since written and directed such films as Do the Right Thing (1989), Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X and BlacKkKlansman (2018). Lee also acted in ten of his films.

Lee’s films have explored race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. He has won numerous accolades for his work, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a Student Academy Award, a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, two Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and the Cannes Grand Prix. He has also received an Academy Honorary Award, an Honorary BAFTA Award, an Honorary César, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.


DIRECTOGRAPHY

  • 1983 – Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads
  • 1986 – She’s Gotta Have It
  • 1988 – School Daze
  • 1989 – Do the Right Thing
  • 1990 – Mo’ Better Blues
  • 1991 – Jungle Fever
  • 1992 – Malcolm X
  • 1994 – Crooklyn
  • 1995 – Clockers
  • 1996 – Girl 6
  • 1996 – Get on the Bus
  • 1998 – He Got Game
  • 1999 – Summer of Sam
  • 2000 – Bamboozled
  • 2002 – 25th Hour
  • 2004 – She Hate Me
  • 2006 – Inside Man
  • 2008 – Miracle at St. Anna
  • 2012 – Red Hook Summer
  • 2013 – Oldboy
  • 2014 – Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
  • 2015 – Chi-Raq
  • 2018 – Pass Over
  • 2018 – BlacKkKlansman
  • 2020 – Da 5 Bloods

Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRatingReviewer
Do The Right Thing 1989 The rising temperatures on the hottest day also raises racial tensions as the film descends from feel-good comedy to a tragic and brutal crescendo. A Spike Lee masterpiece. 4.5 Gordon
Crooklyn 1994 Spike Lee's semi-autobiographical family drama is a stunningly presented look at 70s Brooklyn and the people that inhabit it. Though the story doesn't hit as hard as you might hope. 3.5 Gordon
Summer of Sam 1999 Click to see our detailed review. 3.5 Gordon
Inside Man 2006 Even when you know the brilliant twist ending this is still a great heist thriller which shines most when Owen and Washington share scenes. Only the odd subplot involving Jodie Foster's character brings it down a little. 4 Mat
Inside Man 2006 An interesting twist, but just a little too generic. 3.5 Gordon
Chi-Raq 2016 Powerful stuff. Some amazing monologues tear the American gun lobby and street gang culture to shreds. 4 Gordon
BlackKKlansman 2018 As funny as it is powerful, as thrilling as it is harrowing, Spike Lee's film delivers an incredibly strong message in the most entertaining way possible, with an ending that is both shocking and necessary. A film the whole world should see. 5 Mat
BlackKklansman 2018 Despite its wewighty subject matter Spike Lee has crafted an engaging film that works as both history and entertainment. 4 Gordon
Da 5 Bloods 2020 Another fine Spike Lee joint that showcases his versatility and his single-mindedness. The journey of black Vietnam vets returning to find hidden gold is almost superfluous to the mental scars that the war and subsequent treatment back home left them with 3.5 Gordon

The Verdict

  • Do the Right Thing
  • Crooklyn
  • Summer of Sam
  • Inside Man
  • Chi-Raq
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Da 5 Bloods
3.9

Summary

Despite being ostensibly known for his hard hitting racial and social commentaries, Spike Lee’s career is far more wide ranging. However it is clear that his love of New York, African-American culture and challenging convention brings out the absolute best in his film making abilities. Everyone should see Do The Right Thing and BlackKklannsman before they die, but don’t let that be your only foray into the world of Spike. And that’s the truth, Ruth!

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DIRECTORS LEAGUE

This page will be updated as we watch more Spike Lee films and therefore his overall rating will change over time. You can see where Spike sits in the Directors League here.

 

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