07/06/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT
>Twenty years later Spike Lee looks back at Do the Right Thing, his scorching take on race
From the opening Public Enemy anthem "Fight The Power" to the riot that ends the movie, 1989's Do the Right Thing (now available on a 20th-anniversary DVD) provoked controversy—and conversations. "Sometimes people would be in the lobby afterward for hours just talking," recalls director Spike Lee, who also starred. When he was running for the Senate, Barack Obama told Lee he saw the movie on his first date with Michelle. At the time "I didn't even know who he was," says Lee, 52. Today he's proud of the film's legacy: "People are still fighting the power."