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She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Spike Lee  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Spike Lee
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XJD34S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,296 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "She's Gotta Have It" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT formally introduced the name Spike Lee to audiences all over the world. The film, an intelligent comedy shot in black-and-white with one sequence of color, places--for among the first time--a young, bright African-American woman in the cinematic spotlight. Nola Darling (Tracy Camila Johns) is an attractive young woman with a problem--three problems to be exact. She is simultaneously being wooed by three hopeful, but hopeless, male suitors: Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks), a sensitive type who wants to settle down with her; Greer (John Canada Terrell), a narcissistic model who sees her as his trophy; and Mars Blackmon (Lee himself), an aggressive and funny bike messenger who makes her laugh. Nola is attracted to the best in each of them, but is unable to make up her mind as to whom she likes best. She even entertains the notion that something may be wrong with her, thinking perhaps she's oversexed. When a visit to a therapist fails to clear her mind, Nola finally comes

Spike Lee made a splash in the independent film world with his debut feature, an inventive low-budget romance with a strong-willed heroine. Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) can't decide among her three boyfriends: serious but sweet Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks), self-centered clotheshorse Greer (John Canada Terrell), and goofy, wisecracking bike messenger Mars Blackmon (Lee). Within this loose story line Lee launches into a character study of Darling and offers a slice of black urban life rarely seen on the screen. According to Lee's published diary, he interviewed dozens of women and gathered feedback on screenplay from female friends, and his efforts show. Nola is an unapologetic, sexually independent character who resists the efforts of the men in her life to change who she is to please them--the wonderful concluding twist thumbs its nose at romantic conventions and gives Nola her due. Lee combines direct address and documentary techniques with a simple, often elegant narrative style to create a multilayered portrait of Nola and her men and question perceptions and conventions of sex, sexuality, and relationships in the modern world. Though somewhat primitive in the light of his more accomplished works, this first feature introduces Lee as a fresh voice and a creative force to be reckoned with. --Sean Axmaker

Beyond She's Gotta Have It

Essentials by Director: Spike Lee

More African American Cinema

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the first Spike Lee joint on DVD! December 12, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's been WAYYYY too long, but finally Spike Lee's debut, "She's Gotta Have It" has made it to DVD! It has always astounded me that Spike's other films have made it to DVD long before this one, but in January 2008, those of us who are fans of his work will get our wish. The ripple effect of this movie in the twenty-plus years since its release has been an abundance of films made for and by black folks - some of them good, some bad - but the main thing is that "She's Gotta Have It" proved that movies starring black actors do indeed have an audience and inspired many others to step out and attempt to make the same impact.

In case you may be one of the few who are unaware of the plot behind this deliciously brash and sexy comedy, it focuses on the lead character Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), a young Brooklyn print artist that has not one, but three lovers, all who feel that they are the right man for her. Nola makes no apologies for the type of woman she is...a virile, independent being who enjoys sex and enjoys giving it to whomever she is dealing with. She makes it known what it is she wants from a man, and the three that she juggles here are all sprung by her charms. She is the inattainable prize of these men who each want to have her to themselves. Of course, as the film progresses, they each are pushing her to make a choice between them, and she is unable to - and wondering just why she has to.

Nola's men are as different as day is from night: Jamie (Tommy Hicks), who is sweet, sensitive but possessive; Greer (John Canada Terrell), a narcissistic pretty-boy model who believes the world revolves around him and the loony offbeat homeboy on a bike, Mars (Spike Lee himself).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please baby please baby please baby please! February 15, 2008
One of director Spike Lee's earlier, funny films (his debut, actually). A sexy, hip, and fiercely independent young woman (Tracy Camilla Johns) juggles relationships with three men (who are all quite aware of each other's existence). Lee steals his own movie by casting himself as the goofiest and most memorable of the three suitors- "Mars", a hilarious trash-talking Brooklyn version of the classic Woody Allen nebbish. Lee milks maximum laughs from the huffing and puffing by the competing paramours, as they each jockey for the alpha position (and makes keen observations about sexist machismo and male vanity along the way). Spike's dad Bill Lee composed a lovely jazz-pop score. Despite being a little rough around the edges (due to low budget constraints) it was still a groundbreaking film in the context of modern independent cinema, and an empowering milestone for an exciting new wave of talented African-American filmmakers who followed in its wake.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PUT THIS MOVIE ON DVD NOW February 12, 2004
This is the film that gave Spike Lee his rise. It is a brilliant first film. Why is the movie viewing public having to wait for the release of this historical film on DVD and for that matter why is Girl 6 not on DVD. Every Spike Lee film ever made should now be available on DVD. She's Got to Have It on DVD NOW!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On DVD At Long Last!!!! - Loooooooong Overdue!!!! December 13, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When reviewing all of Spike's work, this is hands down, probably my all-time favorite. This project introduced us to the incomparable Mars Blackman, Spike's oh so charming alter ego. "She's Gotta Have It" is a wonderful treatise on the art of love and war from interesting perspectives. On top of that, it is quite hilarious.

It is a refreshing look at a black woman who insists on taking control of her sexuality rather than allowing it to be defined by men. There are general male observations, general female observations, and specific cultural outlooks on the art of love and war from an African-American perspective.

Tracy Camilla Johns, beautifully portraying the wonderfully developed character, Nola Darling, is perfectly cast as the independent black woman who, in her quest to be sexually independent, realizes this is an uphill journey when dealing with men who still have traditional ideas about women and their roles. She was actively dating more than one man simply because she had adapted the attitude that no one man can provide everything she wanted/needed and furthermore, it was terribly unfair to label her promiscuous for doing so. Interestingly enough, Nola also found that her own reactions when coming up against the same attitude in men, were amazingly traditional.

This was a very well-written statement on the ups and downs of love. It also introduces us to Law & Order's Divine Epatha Merkerson in a short but pivotal role as a sex therapist.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeexcellent movie!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHERE IS THE DVD??!! February 21, 2005
This movie started an entire era of Black cinema! It won best film award at the Independent Film Awards! Without this movie there wouldnt have been a Hollywood Shuffle, House Party, New Jack City, Menace To Society, Boyz In The Hood..the list goes on! This is a travesty! One of the best movies I ever seen.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've gotta have it June 29, 2004
By Ron
Yo Spike, you've gotta be kidding what's the hold up. Can ya help a brother out and see what you can do to put your (baby) on DVD. This is a high crime. This movie was (is) a straigh-up winner. I heard that you didn't particularly like it, but we your fans think it's great. Sometimes the man in the mirror is blinded by the new kids on his block. Your other films are great also, but this one has its own place in history. Great script, great acting, the whole enchilada. Please do the right thing and help me and others complete or DVD collection. Thanks
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great comment on human relations which like all classics rewards...
How come no one mentions the Opal aspect much, just the three goofy guys?

This GUERRILLA film (see Lee's manual on the making of it) blasts all of the high falutin... Read more
Published 14 days ago by C. Scanlon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Spike Lee's now classic take on relationships....
Published 15 days ago by Richard H. Gobeille
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
It was broken when it arrived
Published 2 months ago by Lovery Goowin
5.0 out of 5 stars Spike movies are unique
One of My favorite movies of Spikes because it was his first! Love you Spike!
Unique, reflective, sincere, and real
Published 5 months ago by L. Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film
This is where it all bean for many of us. This was my first Spike Lee film. Like many I was captivated and mesmerized by the mastery of dialogue and the visual sense of this great... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Caglevision
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Spike Lee's first movie with a wonderful vocal by Ronnie Dyson during the dancing scene in the Park. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Musicisme
4.0 out of 5 stars SPIKE LEE SHE'S GOTTA TO HAVE IT


GLAD I FOUND IT... Read more
Published 9 months ago by cedric ferguson
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful lady wanted to have sex with multiple guys on her terms
Most of the guys didn't want to have seconds or thirds with a woman; they wanted to be exclusive. Low budget, mostly B & W with some color (which could have been eliminated). Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rick from Columbus
5.0 out of 5 stars Very beautiful, different, gifted filmmaking...
What a fascinating, sensual, visually beautiful movie. I liked this much more than any of Spike's other movies. Highly recommended but the amount of sexuality is not for kids.
Published 11 months ago by Ranj the Man
5.0 out of 5 stars "Brilliant"
One of the guys, could have won the prize but even so, his coming out party was great and, it proved that black people were good for all types of things, even movies!
Published 11 months ago by Marion T Barnwell
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