What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Spike Lee film is an intense study of racism as it existed in an urban U.S. neighborhood during the late 1980s. There are many angry racial confrontations using provocative, coarse language and highly-charged racial taunts, including constant use of "n----r." Violence realistically depicted includes: a riot, fistfights, a crowd setting fire to a restaurant, a man being choked by police using a baton. One sexual scene shows a couple during foreplay and uses extreme close-ups of a woman's body parts: her legs, her breasts, her neck. A leading character drinks beer continuously.
- Families can talk about how Spike Lee shaped his unique vision. Why does the story take place over one day? Why do you think Lee made the weather such an important part of the story?
- Some scenes have characters talking directly into the camera... how does that help tell the story?
- Take a look at the different characters' relationships with music: Sal's Italian heroes, Radio Raheem's obsession with hip-hop. How does the music represent the characters' view of the world?
- Since this movie was made (1989), do you think there's more or less racial prejudice in the U.S.? What has changed? What hasn't changed? Are there new and/or different groups facing such bigotry?