Walt Disney Studios courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios courtesy Everett Collection)

Spike Lee Movies and Series 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. His latest films (BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods, David Byrne’s American Utopia) are among his most vital and celebrated, and he most recently helmed his TV adaptation of She’s Gotta Have It. We’re ranking them all with Spike Lee movies and series by Tomatometer!

#32

4 Little Girls (1997)
100%

#32
Adjusted Score: 100906%
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: On Sunday, September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed by four members of a... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 61459%
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

#30
Adjusted Score: 106399%
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

#29

BlacKkKlansman (2018)
96%

#29
Adjusted Score: 123187%
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 is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#28
Adjusted Score: 94711%
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: Spike Lee documents life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city's anti-flooding safeguards in 2005. In the film,... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 93508%
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: Beautiful Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) can't decide what kind of man she wants to date, so she decides to... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 100423%
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: Salvatore "Sal" Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin' Out (Giancarlo... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#25

Pass Over (2018)
93%

#25
Adjusted Score: 83726%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Moses and Kitch, two young black men, chat their way through a long, aimless day on a Chicago street corner.... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#24
Adjusted Score: 87965%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#23

Da 5 Bloods (2020)
92%

#23
Adjusted Score: 113452%
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

#22

Bad 25 (2012)
92%

#22
Adjusted Score: 87695%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Spike Lee examines the legacy of Michael Jackson's 1987 album "Bad."... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#21

Malcolm X (1992)
89%

#21
Adjusted Score: 94228%
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: A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#20

Get on the Bus (1996)
89%

#20
Adjusted Score: 90201%
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: A disparate group of African-American men climb on a bus bound for the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. --... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#19

Inside Man (2006)
86%

#19
Adjusted Score: 95171%
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: A tough detective (Denzel Washington) matches wits with a cunning bank robber (Clive Owen), as a tense hostage crisis is... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#18

Chi-Raq (2015)
82%

#18
Adjusted Score: 91312%
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

#17

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#17
Adjusted Score: 81644%
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: Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has spent the last six years in prison after accidentally killing his wife during a violent... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#16

Jungle Fever (1991)
81%

#16
Adjusted Score: 84122%
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: A married black lawyer named Flipper (Wesley Snipes) begins an affair with Angie (Annabella Sciorra), his white secretary. When the... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#15

25th Hour (2002)
79%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83918%
Critics Consensus: An intelligent and well-acted film despite the usual Spike Lee excesses.
Synopsis: In New York City in the days following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) steels himself... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

She's Gotta Have It (2017)
78%

#14
Synopsis: Iconic filmmaker Spike Lee revisits his first feature film with this Netflix original series of the same name. Brooklyn-based artist... [More]

#13

Crooklyn (1994)
78%

#13
Adjusted Score: 78564%
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: As her teacher mother, Carolyn (Alfre Woodard), and her jazz musician father, Woody (Delroy Lindo), worry over monthly bills, grade-schooler... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#12

Clockers (1995)
72%

#12
Adjusted Score: 73983%
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: Nineteen-year-old "Strike" Dunham (Mekhi Phifer) is a small-time street drug dealer for Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo), who wants Strike to... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#11

Mo' Better Blues (1990)
71%

#11
Adjusted Score: 71806%
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: Financially irresponsible Giant (Spike Lee) manages a jazz group, but his sax player, Shadow (Wesley Snipes), wants to replace him... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#10

Red Hook Summer (2012)
58%

#10
Adjusted Score: 59229%
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

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 31545%
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

#8

School Daze (1988)
57%

#8
Adjusted Score: 58259%
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: At historically black Mission College, the activist-minded Dap (Larry Fishburne) immerses himself in a world of political rhetoric and social... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#7

Bamboozled (2000)
53%

#7
Adjusted Score: 55539%
Critics Consensus: Bamboozled is too heavy-handed in its satire and comes across as more messy and overwrought than biting.
Synopsis: A blistering satire of network television's pitfalls and prejudices, a humorous look at how race, ratings and the pursuit of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#6

Summer of Sam (1999)
51%

#6
Adjusted Score: 54112%
Critics Consensus: Spike Lee offers intense visuals but his storytelling feels crowded and overambitious.
Synopsis: During the summer of 1977, a killer known as the Son of Sam keeps all of New York City on... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 46013%
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

#4

Oldboy (2013)
39%

#4
Adjusted Score: 45001%
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: Although his life is already in a downward spiral, things get much worse for advertising executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin)... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#3

Girl 6 (1996)
37%

#3
Adjusted Score: 37712%
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: Trying to make it in the acting world, a young black woman (Theresa Randle) resorts to working as a phone... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 37699%
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 of the U.S. Army's all-black division are stationed in the Tuscany region of Italy. Four... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#1

She Hate Me (2004)
19%

#1
Adjusted Score: 22731%
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

Tag Cloud

HBO Max 2017 miniseries Endgame christmas movies Apple TV Plus japan book adaptation Disney Sundance TV National Geographic A24 disaster joker Paramount Plus Shondaland supernatural A&E Turner Classic Movies Spring TV Music reviews Winter TV Interview MGM SundanceTV black comedy child's play japanese nbcuniversal scary movies mutant Best Actress Paramount Pictures Cannes spanish all-time President Tubi Paramount Network Teen screen actors guild Sneak Peek Mindy Kaling target scene in color BET social media streaming movies 2020 NBA CBS heist movie lord of the rings dark know your critic Musicals Comics on TV Grammys news Captain marvel 4/20 Box Office 79th Golden Globes Awards based on movie Sci-Fi Pet Sematary anthology PBS chucky natural history Martial Arts American Society of Cinematographers black canceled mission: impossible Fantasy RT History Pixar new zealand zombie 1990s Best Actor Baby Yoda VH1 police drama Creative Arts Emmys a nightmare on elm street Universal Pictures Thanksgiving razzies romance feel good Horror 2015 spanish language Black Mirror venice indie The Academy comedies Marvel Studios BET Awards international VOD Rock Mary poppins Dark Horse Comics cancelled television Masterpiece football dramedy Fall TV Video Games Ovation parents YouTube Red movie Showtime 2019 golden globes halloween tv Marvel french Star Wars Celebration YouTube Premium Certified Fresh 94th Oscars Marathons Freeform Arrowverse CNN screenings Musical Fargo Pride Month Pop popular best Mary Tyler Moore cults Native Spike WarnerMedia TCA Sundance See It Skip It franchise Anna Paquin Winners young adult Lionsgate singing competition IFC independent spy thriller zero dark thirty Peacock Polls and Games Marvel Television TBS boxing live event DC Comics Infographic ESPN Nominations SDCC Superheroes MSNBC Tags: Comedy adventure Discovery Channel 72 Emmy Awards 2018 cancelled TV shows casting critics diversity asian-american Syfy 20th Century Fox comic books satire game of thrones boxoffice Amazon Emmy Nominations documentary TCA 2017 travel Family Best Picture Hear Us Out USA Podcast Song of Ice and Fire streaming scorecard docuseries historical drama Stephen King Schedule superman stand-up comedy Television Academy hispanic heritage month South by Southwest Film Festival trophy strong female leads BBC One Hollywood Foreign Press Association target The CW blockbuster 2021 Election Neflix king arthur Lucasfilm Film Pop TV posters mockumentary sequels Walt Disney Pictures X-Men dogs teaser justice league DC Universe comiccon high school marvel comics zombies films Binge Guide spain PaleyFest Tokyo Olympics Adult Swim nature IMDb TV telelvision ITV spider-verse TV renewals Hulu spider-man hist Watching Series classics anime BAFTA theme song richard e. Grant The Walt Disney Company slashers canceled TV shows Rom-Com TIFF Kids & Family streamig summer preview medical drama Countdown hidden camera jamie lee curtis Apple doctor who toy story Country cops Cartoon Network comic book movies Super Bowl jurassic park australia criterion ViacomCBS Rocky Vudu laika name the review Superheroe The Arrangement TLC scary Awards Tour space Netflix Christmas movies binge First Look 93rd Oscars rt labs Logo Holiday Film Festival Sundance Now king kong critic resources festivals CBS All Access TV One foreign Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Women's History Month video on demand rotten movies we love CW Seed debate DGA The Purge PlayStation Action what to watch aliens facebook cooking science fiction SXSW award winner dreamworks Hallmark Hallmark Christmas movies NYCC video hispanic Chilling Adventures of Sabrina RT21 ratings aapi Apple TV+ crime Amazon Prime Video Emmys Comedy Central cartoon Writers Guild of America Drama concert Acorn TV cats Trivia politics First Reviews Extras Christmas ghosts tv talk Star Trek Photos emmy awards Britbox Tarantino Awards game show GoT directors comic AMC Plus Pirates summer TV sag awards Best and Worst archives 24 frames 21st Century Fox mcc royal family TruTV superhero nfl blockbusters FX hollywood versus TV movies Chernobyl Comic Book ABC Signature Valentine's Day vs. suspense Black History Month sopranos south america Exclusive Video Premiere Dates Year in Review Tumblr unscripted APB Amazon Studios psycho Lifetime action-comedy latino Esquire reboot crossover Wes Anderson wonder woman Opinion trailers Set visit Holidays ABC Family YouTube Alien sports DirecTV kaiju The Walking Dead thriller SXSW 2022 Universal adaptation TCA Winter 2020 Crunchyroll Classic Film 73rd Emmy Awards godzilla Epix Red Carpet deadpool 71st Emmy Awards period drama women technology Character Guide children's TV basketball VICE Indigenous universal monsters Focus Features mob obituary sitcom art house elevated horror Disney Plus finale slasher remakes fresh Cosplay The Witch live action BBC America adenture new york docudrama 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Academy Awards 007 El Rey crime thriller History LGBTQ crime drama scene in color NBC television IFC Films Comic-Con@Home 2021 Amazon Prime OneApp New York Comic Con 90s animated die hard saw Disney streaming service rotten TNT series E! Starz interviews TV Land Oscar marvel cinematic universe kong serial killer Nat Geo Nickelodeon Warner Bros. book blaxploitation stoner Instagram Live E3 discovery olympics Disney+ Disney Plus Prime Video war quibi stop motion Netflix broadcast sequel HBO Television Critics Association worst gangster Sony Pictures james bond scene in color film series Ellie Kemper TV Paramount 99% Spectrum Originals Tomatazos ABC robots werewolf Reality rt labs critics edition Biopics kids Best Director indiana jones rom-coms transformers TCA Awards cars 45 witnail Broadway CMT composers dexter OWN obi wan HBO Go Disney Channel MTV golden globe awards cinemax GLAAD true crime Oscars halloween talk show Ghostbusters Columbia Pictures Elton John political drama HFPA fast and furious Mudbound Trailer DC streaming service AMC Avengers biopic Star Wars Quiz FOX documentaries festival Western free movies renewed TV shows San Diego Comic-Con worst movies summer TV preview dc cancelled Food Network 2016 Turner Lifetime Christmas movies Legendary movies revenge USA Network Travel Channel Geeked Week Trophy Talk romantic comedy Calendar rt archives Reality Competition breaking bad biography Mary Poppins Returns FX on Hulu YA dceu italian Heroines Rocketman Image Comics leaderboard scene in color series batman prank Fox News new star wars movies genre Fox Searchlight Comedy green book Crackle GIFs harry potter Mystery Bravo Funimation spinoff legend Brie Larson TCM toronto Animation MCU pirates of the caribbean comics WGN comic book movie Summer dragons Toys Pacific Islander ID monster movies twilight LGBT vampires Sony Shudder cancelled TV series psychological thriller FXX BBC