A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.


Spike Lee
4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Cannon ... Chi-Raq
Teyonah Parris ... Lysistrata
Wesley Snipes ... Cyclops
Angela Bassett ... Miss Helen
Samuel L. Jackson ... Dolmedes
John Cusack ... Father Mike Corridan
Jennifer Hudson ... Irene
David Patrick Kelly ... General King Kong
D.B. Sweeney ... Mayor McCloud
Dave Chappelle ... Morris
Steve Harris ... Old Duke
Harry Lennix ... Commissioner Blades
Tony Fitzpatrick ... Chief Riptide
Anya Engel-Adams Anya Engel-Adams ... Rasheeda
Ebony Joy ... Marcy


After the shooting death of a child hit by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago's Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is an Emergency!!! See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, nudity, language, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


"Wake up" is a popular tagline used throughout many of Spike Lee's films, including School Daze (1988). Samuel L. Jackson repeats "wake up" at the end of this movie similarly to Laurence Fishburne in School Daze (1988), another film in which Jackson made an appearance. See more »


At the end when the peace signing ceremony is being conducted all the parties involved are on one side of the signing table which is in front of them between the seats of the amphitheater with all the visible seats empty. See more »


Father Mike Corridan: Guns have become part of America's wardrobe.
See more »


References 300 (2006) See more »


Oh Girl
Written by Eugene Record
Published by Unichappell Music, Inc. (BMI)
Performed by The Chi-Lites
Courtesy of Brunswick Record Corporation
See more »

User Reviews

a big disappointment
7 February 2016 | by dmuelSee all my reviews

I'm a fan of Spike Lee's movies and was expecting to be cajoled into deep thought on today's urban problems by this film. Mr Lee has directed some very good films. Do the Right Thing is still one of my favorites. However, in Chi-raq Mr Lee has taken a highly stylized approach to his subject, and this becomes evident early in the film when every character is speaking in rhyming couplets. This continues nearly unbroken throughout the movie. I must say I found urban poetry in Do the Right Thing, but none in this film. The rhyming began to feel artificial, not conducive to either the mood or the setting, and it quickly wore thin.

Additionally, Mr Lee gave the film a strongly burlesque quality, at times extremely so, and this was clearly meant to be comic. The humor was so exaggerated, however, that it seemed ill- suited to the very serious problem it was trying to address: the murder rate of young African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans in urban America.

Some reviewers on IMDb have asserted that Mr Lee failed to address the real problem, the "war on drugs", but the topic of the film is more complicated than simple bad law enforcement policy. Lee gave the film a hard sexually charged theme, focusing on reducing violence through female induced sexual abstinence. But he reduces the focus of responsibility in the broader society to white racism, which is likely partially true but not completely so, and even this aspect of the film is presented as burlesque.

The film's principle faults: It is not good drama, it is not good comedy, and it is not a film which provokes much thought on a problem that truly deserves attention.

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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

2 December 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Chi-Raq See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,198,453, 6 December 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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