Filmmaker Spike Lee has virtually 100 credits to his name. From documentaries to movies to short films (“don’t speak to them music videos”), Lee has covered it all.

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And via his movies, he tackles worries of race, course, and background. Lee who started as an independent filmmaker burst onto the scene with 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It” and in 1988 he made his initially studio film, “School Daze.” From the get-go, Lee’s arrelaxing opening crmodify sequences have end up being a signature. It’s a authorize that audiences deserve to expect a funny, provocative ride, one typically collection to some killer music. In various other words, a typical Spike Lee Joint.

Here, Lee breaks dvery own his favorites and also tells the story behind some of his a lot of memorable opening credits, and he shares his favorite opening sequence of all-time. Watch the video over to watch some of the opening sequences and the conversation via Lee in complete.


“Da 5 Bloods” (2020)

Four African Amerideserve to veterans return to Vietnam to recuperate the body of their leader and the gold they hid.

“Da 5 Bloods” opens up via a speech yielded by Muhammad Ali in Chicearlier in 1978, interreduced with footage and also stills from the Vietnam War, Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk, and Civil Rights icons such as Malcolm X and also Angela Davis.

Lee:It’s around acquiring the audience in tune and letting them know that these events were happening when tbelow was a change going on in America via the Civil Rights Movement and also the Anti-war movement.

I was ten years old, and I was watching this on TV. At the Lee dinner table, news events were discussed.

I think it’s educational because I recognize from endure –yet there’s a huge populace of young world, and I’m not blasting them — yet the civilization didn’t start till they were born.

For the older generation, it’s a reminder of the stuff that they prospered up in.

“She’s Gotta Have It” (1986)

In Lee’s first film, Tracy Camilla Johns stars as Nola Darling, a sexually confident woman juggling 3 suitors. “She’s Gotta Have It” was a family members affair as Lee’s father, Bill appears in the film as Nola’s father, and added to the film’s score. In the opening,David Lee (Spike’s brother) gives black-and-white photographs of Brooklyn life.

Lee:Ercolony Dickerchild swarm all my films best up to “Malcolm X.” Ernest and Ang Lee were all in the same class at New York University Film School, class of ’82.

Randall Balsmeyer did the visuals and also the lettering. “She’s Gotta Have It” was swarm in 12 days. From July 1 to July 14 in the summer of ’85.

My brother David Lee is a unit photographer. That was the initially time we began using pictures. That montage is photographs of pre-gentrified Forte Greene and Bed-Stuy (Bedford–Stuyvesant) “carry out or die.”

My father scored that, he likewise did “School Daze” and also “Mo Better Blues.” After that, Terence Blanctough took over.

“Do the Right Thing” (1989)


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Lee’s 1989 film concentrates on racial tensions in Brooklyn on one unbearably hot summer day. Danny Aiello plays Sal, the pizzeria owner that decors his wall surfaces with photos of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and also Joe DiMaggio. Giancarlo Esposito plays Buggin’ Out, who walks in someday to ask, “Why aren’t tbelow any brothers on the wall?”Rosie Perez who stars as Tina appears in possibly Lee’s most iconic opening ever before, as she dances to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”


Lee:At certain times, tright here are two tracks of Branford Marsalis playing the saxophone. The very beginning is “Lift Every Voice and also Sing” our anthem, and also then it cuts into “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy, which is just one of the greatest protest songs ever before.

Michael Jackboy did the opening credit song for “Get on the Bus,” and also that was composed by Babychallenge. I never gained the story of exactly how Michael and Babyface got together. I don’t know if the song was written for the movie. The truth continues to be, we acquired it. “Get on the Bus” opens through imagery and slave chains and the horror of slaexceptionally.

My mommy was a cinephile. My mom took me to check out The Radio City Music Hall Easter Sunday present and a movie. The movie was “Bye Bye Birdie.” The opening credits of the song is Ann Margaret singing and dancing to the title song.

That came out in ’63 and also I was six years old. It wasn’t till a year after “Do the Right Thing” that Rosie Perez dancing came from Ann Margaret dancing. That was locked in the back of – as my mother would say “Peehead.”

Amazingly, I experienced that and also it was the catalyst for the opening number to “Do the Right Thing.”

Rosie Perez dancing. People were not ready for the opening of that film. That opening is a component of cinematic background.

“School Daze” (1988)


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Lee returns to the montage opening sequence, thanalysis the Civil Rights Movement to college life. The lettering is in burgundy varsity font, a nodto the style favored by establishments of better learning.The film is collection at the fictional Mission College where Lee examined the conflicts and also tensions between Black college students.

Lee: The opening of “Get on the Bus” is a reimagining of “School Daze.” That film had actually the good Morehome College Glee Club singing the Negro spiritual “I’m Building Me a Home.”

That is background. I wouldn’t even say Afrideserve to Amerihave the right to History, it is a background of America because we developed this motherfucker, together with the genocide of Native world and also the stealing of land, that’s the foundation of the United States of America.

So, the opening credit sequence of “School Daze” is a visual background from the servant ships to Jackie Rouse and Willie Mays. They are the civilization that have made a great influence on the human being.

“Malcolm X” (1992)A three-hour epic about Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam leader and also activist, was one of Lee’s many ambitious movies. In the opening,Denzel Washington reads Malcolm X’s speeches as video of Rodney King being attacked by the police plays.

Lee:Three points are happening here: Denzel is offering one of Malcolm’s speeches word for word. You have actually the horrific beating of Rodney King, however what brings it together is Terence Blanchard’s cue for that via the trumpet. People were not all set for that. Especially as soon as Denzel claims, “I charged the white man” and also goes down the litany.

We framed the burned Amerideserve to structure on my wall, right here in the office at the civilization headquarters of Four Acres and Mule in Fort Greene, the People’s Republic of Brooklyn, New York.

“25th Hour.” (2002)

Lee sets the scene, plunging viewers into post-9/11 America. Edward Norton plays Monty Brogan, a convicted drug dealer that is about to go to priboy for his crimes.

Lee:The novel is created by David Benioff, Mr. “Game of Thrones, and it was written before 9/11.Edward Norton and I sassist we necessary to make this a write-up 9/11 film. Not so much that’s a story, yet it’s the backdrop of a wounded New York City, grieving but coming together as New Yorkers.

Tright here was a tribute referred to as the tower of lights wbelow 2 lights were swarm up right into the skies as a representation of the 2 towers that dropped. We were in pre-production for “2fifth Hour” and I thought it was going to run forever before, and also I read the paper. I experienced tbelow were two days left.We had actually to scramble.

It was swarm by wonderful DP Rodrigo Pietro. Powerful imagery. Aobtain, it was supported by a great cue by Terence Blanctough. Very sober, sad and also there’s a vocalization on that track.

“4 Little Girls” (1997)


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Lee’s documentary recounts the 1963 battle of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a shocking act of violence that killed four Black girls: Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Rosamond Robertboy. Lee supplies interviews, house movies and also photos to share a photo of what can have actually been had these children lived.

Lee: One of my favorites is the opening credit sequence for “Four Little Girls” wbelow Joan Baez is singing via her beautiful voice. Just Joan and also her guitar.

J. Edgar Hoover was not a frifinish to Dr. King, to Malcolm or any type of Black perkid that was trying to enlighten not just Black civilization, yet the human being.The FBI knew within a week who these males were, but they didn’t perform anypoint. One of the nicknames of the murderers was dubbed Dynamite Bob. The FBI are f—— idiots. The motherf—–’s name is Dynamite Bob and you can’t put 2 and also two together?


Here’s the factor why this film was exceptionally important to me. Up to that allude, even though tbelow had actually been a trial, they were never before sent out to prison.Now, to qualify for the Academy Awards your film has to run for a week in New York and a week in LA. So, we opened.

That week, I obtained a call from the FBI. I believed, ‘Why is the FBI calling me?’ They wanted a print of the film, and also ideal after the film opened, the FBI reopened the situation. That tops anypoint I’ve ever done.

They referred to as me. It was never before my intention or the agenda. I wanted to intercheck out the parental fees, loved ones and friends of these beautiful Black girls that were blvery own acomponent by dynamite.

By doing these interviews through these witnesses, they would certainly tell us, if they had been permitted to live, what beautiful, intelligent, Amerihave the right to citizens they can have been.

“Mo Better Blues” (1990)

Denzel Washington stars in this story of loyalty, friendship and also honesty collection in the jazz civilization.

Lee: You can’t leave out “Mo Better Blues” bereason the mo better renders it mo much better. The catalyst for that opening was jazz album covers. Simple as that. The music was created by my father, Bill Lee.

In “Mo Better Blues,” as soon as you hear Denzel playing the trumpet, that’s Terence Blancdifficult. When you hear Wesley Snipes playing the tenor sax, that’s Branford Marsalis.

“Jungle Fever” (1991)


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An interracial love affair in between Flipper (Wesley Snipes) and also Angie (Annabella Sciorra) serves as the springboard for an examination of explicit racism, race, class, family members and also area divide.

The opening credits map out Brooklyn neighborhoods as Stevie Wonder’s “Jungle Fever” plays.

Lee:I love me some Stevie Wonder. I visited Stevie and also said, ‘Stevie, I have this film and also I want it to be your next album.’ He sassist, ‘Okay.’ Everybody in the human being and also their mommy told me Stevie would not be able to do it in time. Stevie came via.

The opening sequence for “Jungle Fever” is the title song. What we’re trying to perform through that opening sequence is attend to the 2 areas.

The anchor for this film is primarily Babsence Harlem, before gentrification, and the primarily Italian American Bensonhurst. Black folks did not poke roughly in Bensonhurst.

This film was dedicated to Yusuf Hawkins who was murdered in Bensonhurst. We have actually maps that go back and also forth between the two areas.

among my all-time sequences in all my joints wright here I pick a song that goes through the imagery.

Do me a favor, go out and watch “Jungle Fever.”

Lee breaks dvery own his all-time Favorite Opening Sequences:

I have always loved the opening credits of James Bond movies, 007.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t thinking I’d be a filmmaker. I known something was distinct about the opening credits of the James Bond films.

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My mom was taking me to movies, Broadmethod plays and also libraries. When I became a filmmaker, those impacts came out. I know for certain it was my mother exposing me to most stuff. She wasn’t doing it thinking I was going to be a filmmaker. She simply wanted her kids to be well-rounded. And that’s the reality, Ruth.