Walt Disney Studios courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios courtesy Everett Collection)

All Spike Lee Movies Ranked

Since making his feature debut with She’s Gotta Have It in 1986, Spike Lee has blazed a trail for himself as one of Hollywood’s most vibrant — and defiantly original — filmmakers. Lee has challenged audiences to confront their expectations, assumptions, and prejudices while delivering some of the most memorable films of the last several decades. Even when critics don’t warm to his movies, they still acknowledge his work is thoughtful, ambitious, and bold. With comedies (Do the Right Thing), dramas (Malcolm X), and documentaries (When the Levees Broke) to choose from, there’s something for everybody here, especially if you like your pictures full of energy and attitude. With his latest films, (BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods, David Byrne’s American Utopia) among his most vital and celebrated, we’re ranking all Spike Lee movies by Tomatometer!

#31

She Hate Me (2004)
19%

#31
Adjusted Score: 21783%
Critics Consensus: She Hate Me can't decide if it wants to be a commentary on corporate greed or a sex farce.
Synopsis: Fired from his corporate job, a man (Anthony Mackie) agrees to impregnate his ex-fiancee (Kerry Washington) and a slew of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#30

Girl 6 (1996)
33%

#30
Adjusted Score: 34615%
Critics Consensus: Girl 6 has a compelling star, a Prince soundtrack, and Spike Lee's vivid style - and, unfortunately, a story that's never as compelling or insightful as it needs to be.
Synopsis: An aspiring actress unexpectedly becomes addicted to her work as a phone-sex operator. Directed by Spike Lee.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 37782%
Critics Consensus: Miracle at St. Anna is a well-intentioned but overlong, disjointed affair that hits few of the right notes.
Synopsis: During World War II, members (Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso) of an all-black unit become trapped behind enemy lines... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#28

Oldboy (2013)
39%

#28
Adjusted Score: 45787%
Critics Consensus: Suitably grim and bloody yet disappointingly safe and shallow, Spike Lee's Oldboy remake neither surpasses the original nor adds anything new to its impressive legacy.
Synopsis: An advertising executive (Josh Brolin) is kidnapped and held in solitary confinement for 20 years. After his release, he sets... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 46232%
Critics Consensus: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus has no shortage of style, but it isn't enough to make this horror-tinged Spike Lee joint one of his best -- or worth recommending.
Synopsis: An anthropologist (Stephen Tyrone Williams) awakes with a thirst for blood after an assistant stabs him with a cursed dagger.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#26

Summer of Sam (1999)
51%

#26
Adjusted Score: 54869%
Critics Consensus: Spike Lee offers intense visuals but his storytelling feels crowded and overambitious.
Synopsis: Working-class people (John Alberto Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino) live in terror as the Son of Sam killer, David Berkowitz,... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#25

Bamboozled (2000)
52%

#25
Adjusted Score: 56166%
Critics Consensus: Bamboozled is too heavy-handed in its satire and comes across as more messy and overwrought than biting.
Synopsis: A Harvard-educated black man (Damon Wayans), the only minority representative at a foundering TV network, must create a hit urban... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#24

School Daze (1988)
56%

#24
Adjusted Score: 56829%
Critics Consensus: School Daze is undeniably messy, but thought-provoking themes, strong performances, and Spike Lee's ingratiating energy help tie it all together.
Synopsis: Musical numbers underscore Spike Lee's account of tensions erupting among the student body at an all-black university.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 31270%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Spike Lee directed this portrait of pro football Hall of Famer, actor and civil rights activist Jim Brown.... [More]
Starring: Jim Brown
Directed By: Spike Lee

#22

Red Hook Summer (2012)
58%

#22
Adjusted Score: 59306%
Critics Consensus: Red Hook Summer is just as bold and energetic as Spike Lee's best work, but its story is undermined by a jarring plot twist in the final act.
Synopsis: A well-to-do Atlanta teen (Jules Brown) documents a summer spent in the Brooklyn housing projects with his devout grandfather (Clarke... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#21

Mo' Better Blues (1990)
71%

#21
Adjusted Score: 72364%
Critics Consensus: Mo' Better Blues is rich with vibrant hues and Denzel Washington's impassioned performance, although its straightforward telling lacks the political punch fans expect from a Spike Lee joint.
Synopsis: Music comes first for a Manhattan jazzman (Denzel Washington) with one too many lovers and a manager (Spike Lee) who... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#20

Clockers (1995)
72%

#20
Adjusted Score: 75231%
Critics Consensus: A work of mournful maturity that sacrifices little of its director's signature energy, Clockers is an admittedly flawed drama with a powerfully urgent message.
Synopsis: A Brooklyn man confesses to a drug dealer's murder, but a veteran detective (Harvey Keitel) instead harasses the suspect's crack-dealer... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#19

Crooklyn (1994)
77%

#19
Adjusted Score: 78780%
Critics Consensus: A personal project that warmly reflects on director Spike Lee's childhood, Crooklyn is an episodic celebration of family and the indelible facets of one's hometown.
Synopsis: The wife (Alfre Woodard) and children of a jobless jazz musician (Delroy Lindo) deal with everyday life in 1970s Brooklyn.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#18

25th Hour (2002)
79%

#18
Adjusted Score: 83820%
Critics Consensus: An intelligent and well-acted film despite the usual Spike Lee excesses.
Synopsis: The day before he begins a prison sentence, a New York drug dealer (Edward Norton) spends time with his father... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#17

Jungle Fever (1991)
81%

#17
Adjusted Score: 84906%
Critics Consensus: Jungle Fever finds Spike Lee tackling timely sociopolitical themes in typically provocative style, even if the result is sometimes ambitious to a fault.
Synopsis: Trouble follows an architect's (Wesley Snipes) biracial affair with a woman (Annabella Sciorra) in New York.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#16

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#16
Adjusted Score: 83696%
Critics Consensus: Though not without its flaws, He Got Game finds Spike Lee near the top of his game, combining trenchant commentary with his signature visuals and a strong performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: A convict's (Denzel Washington) freedom depends upon convincing his estranged son (Ray Allen), a basketball star, to attend the governor's... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#15

Chi-Raq (2015)
82%

#15
Adjusted Score: 88611%
Critics Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
Synopsis: The girlfriend (Teyonah Parris) of a Chicago gang leader (Nick Cannon) persuades other frustrated women to abstain from sex until... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#14

Inside Man (2006)
86%

#14
Adjusted Score: 94138%
Critics Consensus: Spike Lee's energetic and clever bank-heist thriller is a smart genre film that is not only rewarding on its own terms, but manages to subvert its pulpy trappings with wit and skill.
Synopsis: An enigmatic woman (Jodie Foster) threatens to push past the breaking point a volatile game between a bank robber (Clive... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#13

Get on the Bus (1996)
89%

#13
Adjusted Score: 90487%
Critics Consensus: Get on the Bus finds Spike Lee pulling a page from history with fervor and flair, offering a strong, stirring fact-based drama further elevated by an array of solid performances.
Synopsis: Black Los Angeleans tell their stories during a bus trip to Washington, D.C., and the Million Man March.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#12

Malcolm X (1992)
89%

#12
Adjusted Score: 93702%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by a powerful performance from Denzel Washington, Spike Lee's biopic of legendary civil rights leader Malcolm X brings his autobiography to life with an epic sweep and a nuanced message.
Synopsis: The civil-rights leader (Denzel Washington) rises from criminal to crusader, undergoing a religious conversion while jailed.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 93092%
Critics Consensus: With She's Gotta Have It, Spike Lee delivered his bracing first shot across Hollywood's bow -- and set the template for the groundbreaking act to follow.
Synopsis: Spike Lee won wide acclaim for this portrait of a black woman who shares an unconventional relationship with three men.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#10

Bad 25 (2012)
92%

#10
Adjusted Score: 54707%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Spike Lee examines the legacy of Michael Jackson's 1987 album "Bad."... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#9

Da 5 Bloods (2020)
92%

#9
Adjusted Score: 108154%
Critics Consensus: Fierce energy and ambition course through Da 5 Bloods, coming together to fuel one of Spike Lee's most urgent and impactful films.
Synopsis: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 101566%
Critics Consensus: Smart, vibrant, and urgent without being didactic, Do the Right Thing is one of Spike Lee's most fully realized efforts -- and one of the most important films of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Spike Lee's account of erupting racial tensions on a summer afternoon in a predominantly black Brooklyn neighborhood.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#7

Pass Over (2018)
93%

#7
Adjusted Score: 72699%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Moses and Kitch, two young black men, pass the time on a Chicago street corner by talking trash and dreaming... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#6
Adjusted Score: 66513%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#5
Adjusted Score: 94538%
Critics Consensus: When the Levees Broke offers a heart-rending elegy for an American city overflowing with culture, beset by natural disaster, and betrayed by institutional indifference.
Synopsis: A look into the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#4

BlacKkKlansman (2018)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 119231%
Critics Consensus: BlacKkKlansman uses history to offer bitingly trenchant commentary on current events -- and brings out some of Spike Lee's hardest-hitting work in decades along the way.
Synopsis: Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs, Colo., works under cover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#3
Adjusted Score: 103434%
Critics Consensus: Helmed in elegant and exhilarating style by Spike Lee, David Byrne's American Utopia is a concert film that doubles as a joyously cathartic celebration.
Synopsis: Singer David Byrne and a group of international musicians perform songs from the hit Broadway musical "American Utopia."... [More]
Starring: David Byrne
Directed By: Spike Lee

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 40437%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A radical (Roger Guenveur Smith) from Oakland, Calif., establishes the Black Panther Party based on his 10-point program for social... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#1

4 Little Girls (1997)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101210%
Critics Consensus: 4 Little Girls finds Spike Lee moving into documentary filmmaking with his signature style intact -- and all the palpable fury the subject requires.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Spike Lee examines racism and segregation as he documents a fatal 1963 Alabama church-bombing.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

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