On Friday (Mar. 20), Academy award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee turned 63-years-old. Amid the coronavirus scare while people globally are quarantining, many are turning to streaming services to stay entertained by watching films. To honor Lee, we’ve compiled a list of 11 films that the Brooklyn native has directed that are currently streaming.
She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix)
She’s Gotta Have It, Lee’s 1986 first feature-length film that the Netflix series is based upon is currently streaming on Netflix. The movie is centered around its main character Nola Darling who is a sex-positive young artist dating three suitors. Darling doesn’t conform to society’s notion that a woman should commit to one man.
He Got Game (Prime)
Lee’s He Got Game is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Starring Denzel Washington, the drama revolves around Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington) and his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen), a top-ranked basketball prospect. Jake is in prison for the accidental murder of his wife and is given one shot to shorten his prison sentence when the Governor and the Warden take a special interest in Jesus’ fate. If Jake can convince Jesus to sign with the hometown school, Big U, his prison term will be shortened.
Do The Right Thing (Prime)
Released in 1989, Do The Right Thing is one of Lee’s most notable films starring Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie was also the feature film debut of Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez. It explores the racial tension of a neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Malcolm X (Prime)
Starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett, Malcolm X is the biopic centered around key events that took place in human rights activist Malcolm X’s life. The film is largely based on Alex Haley’s 1965 book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Prime)
Released in 2006, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, is a documentary about the atrocity of New Orleans, Louisiana following the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina. The film is based on footage of news video and still photos of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, intertwined with interviews from politicians, journalists, historians, and NOLA residents.
Based in Chicago, specifically the Windy city’s south side, CHI-RAQ is based on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a Classical Greek comedy play in which women withhold sex from their husbands to punish them for fighting in the Peloponnesian War. The film stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Blackkklansman is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. The film garnered Lee his first Academy Award in 2019. Set in the 1970s in Colorado Springs, the movie is centered on a black detective in the city’s police department who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan chapter.
School Daze (Prime)
The 1988 film which Lee directed stars Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell-Martin. The movie is loosely based on Lee’s experiences while attending Morehouse University during the 1970s. It highlights a fraternity and sorority who clash with some of their fellow classmates at another historically black college during homecoming weekend. The film touches upon social justice issues such as classism, colorism, elitism, hazing, and political activism within the black community.
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (Prime)
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is a horror film that was released in 2014. Referred to by Lee as “a new kind of love story,” Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is about a wealthy anthropologist who was stabbed by an ancient African dagger, turning him into a vampire.
Mo’ Betta Blues (Prime)
Mo’ Betta Blues is another film starring Lee, Denzel Washington, and Wesley Snipes about a jazz player’s series of bad decisions that end up jeopardizing his career as well as some of his personal relationships. The Branford Marsalis Quartet and Terence Blanchard (on trumpet) are featured in the movie.
Red Hook Summer (Prime)
Red Hook Summer is about a 13-year old Atlanta native who is sent to reside with this grandfather who is a preacher in Red Hook, Brooklyn. During one sermon, a random man enters the church from the back and accuses the boy’s grandfather of molestation that allegedly took place 15 years ago. The incident causes the preacher’s flock to turn on him.