Spike Lee - Rotten Tomatoes

Spike Lee

Highest Rated:   100% Rodney King (2017)
Lowest Rated:   14% Drop Squad (1994)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Atlanta, Georgia, USA
While African-American filmmakers have been a staple of the cinematic landscape since the pioneering work of Oscar Micheaux during the '20s, none have had the same cultural or artistic impact as Spike Lee. As a writer, director, actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur, Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in Hollywood, tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals to establish a new arena for African-American voices to be heard. His movies -- a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques informed by an unwavering commitment toward challenging cultural assumptions not only about race but also class and gender identity -- both solidified his own standing as one of contemporary cinema's most influential figures and furthered the careers of actors including Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne. Along the way, Lee even cleared a path for up-and-coming black filmmakers such as John Singleton, Matty Rich, Darnell Martin, Ernest Dickerson (Lee's one-time cinematographer), and Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes.Born Shelton Jackson Lee in Atlanta, GA, on March 20, 1957, he was raised in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. The son of jazz musician Bill Lee, his first love was sports; an obsessive fan of the New York Knicks basketball club, his initial goal was to become a major-league baseball player. Only while attending Atlanta's prestigious Morehouse College did Lee's affection for film begin to surface, and while earning a degree in mass communications he returned to New York to make his first movie, 1977's Last Hustle in Brooklyn, a portrait of the area's Black and Puerto Rican communities shot with a Super-8 camera during the height of the disco craze. Upon graduating from Morehouse, he enrolled in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, earning his Master of Fine Arts Degree in film production. His senior feature, 1982's Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, was the first student effort ever showcased in Lincoln Center's "New Directors, New Films" series, and also garnered the Student Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The success of Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop encouraged Lee to hire representation at the William Morris Agency, but when no studio contracts were forthcoming, he began exploring alternate means of independent financing. After a series of setbacks, he managed to secure 125,000 dollars to produce the stylish and sexy 1986 comedy She's Gotta Have It, which took the Prix de Jeunesse award at Cannes and earned close to 9 million dollars at the box office. Hollywood soon came calling, and in 1988, he released his major studio debut School Daze; however, it was his third film, 1989's Do the Right Thing, which launched Lee to the forefront of the American filmmaking community. A provocative, insightful meditation on simmering racial tension, it was among the year's most controversial and talked-about films and went on to net an Oscar nomination for "Best Screenplay" (although not a nod for "Best Picture," a slight in and of itself the subject of much outcry). The jazz world was the subject of '90s Mo' Better Blues, which opened to lukewarm press; however, with his next effort, the following year's Jungle Fever, Lee was again at the center of controversy over the picture's subject matter, interracial romance. Upon the movie's completion, he began work on his long-awaited dream project, 1992's Malcolm X. Shot at various points across the globe (including Mecca), the three-hour biopic of the slain civil-rights leader reached theaters in its intended form only after celebrities including Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and Prince helped defray financing costs in the wake of Warner Bros.' mandate that Lee trim the film's running time by half an hour. After so many politically charged pictures, Lee next shot the change-of-pace Crooklyn, a relatively light serio-comedy based largely on h

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
100% Rodney King
  • Director
2017
70% Touched With Fire
  • Executive Producer
2016
93% Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2016
80% Chi-Raq
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
$2.7M 2015
57% The Girl Is In Trouble
  • Executive Producer
2015
53% Champs
  • Actor
2015
43% Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2015
80% Cronies
  • Executive Producer
2015
No Score Yet Pavarotti & Friends
  • Director
2015
41% Oldboy
  • Director
$1.3M 2013
No Score Yet Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Brooklyn Boheme
  • Actor
2013
31% A Man's Story
  • Actor
2012
91% Bad 25
  • Director
2012
58% Red Hook Summer
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Mr. Mookie
$0.4M 2012
No Score Yet You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Kills You
  • Executive Producer
2012
No Score Yet Bring Your 'A' Game
  • Actor
2012
93% Pariah
  • Executive Producer
$0.8M 2011
No Score Yet Doubles With Slight Pepper
  • Executive Producer
2011
No Score Yet On The Shoulders Of Giants
  • Actor
2011
24% Saint John of Las Vegas
  • Executive Producer
$72.7k 2010
No Score Yet If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise
  • Director
  • Producer
2010
100% Passing Strange
  • Director
  • Producer
2009
No Score Yet Kobe Doin' Work
  • Producer
  • Director
2009
No Score Yet Poliwood
  • Actor
2009
34% Miracle at St. Anna
  • Producer
  • Director
$7.8M 2008
No Score Yet 40 X 15
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Lights, Action, Music
  • Actor
2007
97% When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
  • Producer
  • Director
2006
87% Inside Man
  • Director
$88.5M 2006
No Score Yet All the Invisible Children
  • Director
2006
No Score Yet All the Invisible Children
  • Director
  • Producer
2005
92% How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It)
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Miracle's Boys
  • Director
2005
19% She Hate Me
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
$81.9k 2004
No Score Yet Sucker Free City
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
2004
No Score Yet Good Fences
  • Producer
  • Executive Producer
2003
78% 25th Hour
  • Director
  • Producer
2003
86% Ten Minutes Older
  • Producer
  • Director
2002
57% Jim Brown: All-American
  • Director
  • Producer
2002
43% Lisa Picard Is Famous
  • Himself
2001
No Score Yet 3 A.M.
  • Producer
  • Filmmaker
2001
100% A Huey P. Newton Story
  • Director
2001
48% Bamboozled
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
$1.9M 2000
86% The Original Kings of Comedy
  • Director
  • Producer
$37.7M 2000
82% Love and Basketball
  • Producer
2000
No Score Yet Afrocentricity
  • Executive Producer
2000
72% The Best Man
  • Producer
1999
51% Summer of Sam
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • John JeffriesJohn
1999
No Score Yet It's Black Entertainment
  • Actor
1999
No Score Yet Freak
  • Director
1998
80% He Got Game
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
1998
100% 4 Little Girls
  • Director
  • Producer
1997
No Score Yet Century of Black Cinema
  • Actor
1997
88% Get on the Bus
  • Executive Producer
  • Director
1996
100% Lumière and Company
  • Actor
1996
33% Girl 6
  • Director
  • Jimmy
  • Producer
1996
No Score Yet The Fine Art of Separating People From Their Money
  • Interviewee
1996
68% Clockers
  • Chucky
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1995
44% Tales From the Hood
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
1995
56% New Jersey Drive
  • Executive Producer
1995
14% Drop Squad
  • Producer
1994
98% Hoop Dreams
  • Himself (Film director)
1994
76% Crooklyn
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Snuffy
1994
No Score Yet The Last Party
  • Actor
1993
91% Malcolm X
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Shorty
1992
81% Jungle Fever
  • Screenwriter
  • Cyrus
  • Director
  • Producer
1991
No Score Yet Lonely in America
  • Himself
1990
73% Mo' Better Blues
  • Giant
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Producer
1990
No Score Yet Mandela in America
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet First Works
  • Actor
1989
93% Do the Right Thing
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Mookie
  • Producer
1989
60% School Daze
  • Half-Pint
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1988
93% She's Gotta Have It
  • Mars BlackmonMars Blackman
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1986
No Score Yet Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
1983

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • 2015
91% The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
2015
  • Guest
  • 2015
100% The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore
2015-2016
  • Panelist
  • 2015
No Score Yet The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2014
  • Guest
  • Director
  • 2015
  • 2014
No Score Yet Inside the Actors Studio
1994
  • Guest
  • 2013
No Score Yet CBS This Morning
2012
  • Guest
  • 2012
No Score Yet Voces on PBS
2006-2015
  • Appearing
  • 2012
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Director
  • Actor
  • Producer
  • 2010
No Score Yet Who Do You Think You Are?
2010
  • Appearing
  • 2010
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
  • Guest
  • Panelist
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
1999-2015
  • Guest
  • 2004
No Score Yet Sesame Street
1969
  • Guest
  • 2000
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Actor
  • 1991

Quotes from Spike Lee's Characters