1. 25th Hour
    The best movie about 9/11 ever because it's not really about 9/11. It's shocking how good and nuanced it is considering how soon after the attacks it was shot. One of the best New York movies ever, as well.
  2. Do The Right Thing
    Self-explanatory. Simultaneously entertaining as hell and difficult to wrap your arms around. Would be his masterpiece if it weren't for the underrated brilliance of 25th Hour. One of the most important movies of the last 30 years.
  3. Inside Man
    Spike Lee needs to make more studio movies. This is just a tremendous thriller/heist movie. Has interesting things to say about race sprinkled through but otherwise you'd never know it's a Spike Lee movie. Denzel hasn't been this good since (parts of Flight, maybe excepted).
  4. Bamboozled
    Blistering satire of television. Continues to be relevant as the years pass.
  5. Malcolm X
    Spike and Denzel at the height of their powers. Shows how much better biopics are when the filmmaker is an auteur who is telling a story in his or her own unique style.