Purple Rain (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Albert Magnoli|
|Produced by||Robert Cavallo
|Written by||Albert Magnoli
Clarence Williams III
John L. Nelson
|Cinematography||Donald E. Thorin|
|Editing by||Albert Magnoli
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Purple Rain is a 1984 American rock musical drama film directed by Albert Magnoli and written by Magnoli and William Blinn. Prince makes his film debut, which was developed to showcase his particular talents, hence, the film contains several extended concert sequences. The film grossed more than US$80 million at the box office and became a cult classic. This film was the only feature film starring Prince that he did not direct. The film was nominated for two Razzie Awards including Worst New Star for Kotero and Worst Original Song for Sex Shooter.
A sequel, Graffiti Bridge, was released in 1990.
"The Kid" is an aspiring and talented, but troubled Minneapolis musician with a difficult home life in which he avoids his house every chance he gets by spending his time rehearsing with his band, The Revolution, during the day and performing at night. His main antagonist is fellow musician Morris Day and his group The Time who are seeking a way to expel Kid from the First Avenue nightclub where both bands perform on a nightly basis. Morris knows that the Kid's guitarist, Wendy, and keyboardist, Lisa, are growing disgruntled with his leadership of the band. Wendy and Lisa cut an instrumental demo called "Slow Groove" which they give to the Kid, asking him to consider playing it with the band. His reluctance to listen to it makes Wendy and Lisa furious, but throughout the course of the film, the Kid listens to the tape several times in private.
Morris convinces the club's owner to form a more commercial girl group to replace The Revolution. He targets the Kid's girlfriend Apollonia for the group, which makes the Kid jealous and constantly suspicious. He even begins to physically abuse Apollonia, imitating his father's pattern of abuse towards his mother. When the Kid comes home once to find his mother badly beaten outside, he rushes inside to confront his father, who is downstairs playing a melancholy song on the piano. His father warns the Kid never to get married.
At the club, the Kid responds to the internal band strife and pressure to draw more crowds with an uncomfortably edgy performance of "Computer Blue", which only makes his problems worse. Everyone warns him that he is headed down the same unsuccessful path that ruined his father's career as a musician. The Kid returns home again to find it a mess. His father is down in the basement with a gun and appears to commit suicide just as the Kid turns on the light. After a night of torment, the Kid sits at the piano and fleshes out "Slow Groove".
That night at the club, everyone walks on eggshells around the Kid, not sure of how to handle the situation. When he climbs onstage, no one knows what to expect. After an uncomfortably long silence, he announces that the band is going to play a new song by Wendy & Lisa. The finished song turns out to be "Purple Rain". The crowd responds positively to the performance. As the Kid seems to be about to run away, he hears the cheering of the crowd and returns to the stage to perform two encores. We see a series of scenes intercut with the concert performance. One shows the kid organizing his father's sheet music. Another shows the Kid visiting his father in the hospital bed, the father's head wrapped in a heavy bandage, the mother asleep draped across the bed her hand on her husband's hand. And finally we see the Kid has been joined by Apollonia in the basement. They smile and kiss. Cut back to the performance and the film closes with the crowd cheering on Prince.
- Prince as The Kid
- Apollonia Kotero as Apollonia
- Morris Day as Morris
- Clarence Williams III as Father
- Olga Karlatos as Mother
- Jerome Benton as Jerome
- Jill Jones as Jill
- Dez Dickerson as Dez
- The Revolution as themselves
- The Time as themselves
- Lisa Coleman as Lisa
- Wendy Melvoin as Wendy
The idea was apparently developed by Prince during his "Triple Threat" tour. Initially the script was to be darker and more coherent. Prince intended to cast Vanity, leader of the girl group Vanity 6, but she left the group before filming began. Her role was initially offered to Jennifer Beals (who turned it down because she wanted to concentrate on college) before going to Apollonia Kotero, a virtual unknown at the time. Excluding Prince and his on-screen parents, almost every character in the movie is named after the actor who plays him or her.
Filmed almost entirely in Minneapolis, the film features many local landmarks, including the Crystal Court of the IDS Center (also shown in segments of the opening credits to The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and the legendary First Avenue nightclub. First Avenue was paid $100,000 for use of the club in filming; it was closed for 25 days. A notable error, either geographic or taxi fare related, shows Apollonia running up (and bailing on) a $37.75 cab fare going from the Greyhound Station to the nightclub. In reality, they were just across the street from each other.
The Huntington Hotel which Apollonia stayed in is located at 752 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014. This was a late pickup shot and is shown in the movie to be across the street from First Avenue though it clearly is not. The motorcycle Prince rides in the film is a customized Hondamatic Honda CB400A.
The film is tied into the album of the same name, which spawned two chart-topping singles: "When Doves Cry" and the opening number "Let's Go Crazy", while "Purple Rain" reached #2. The film won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. The soundtrack sold over 10 million copies in America alone, and 20 million worldwide.
- "PURPLE RAIN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1984-07-05. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
- Purple Rain (1984) at Box Office Mojo
- Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
- The Park Slope man who saved ‘Purple Rain’! By Jacob Kleinman (for The Brooklyn Paper)
- Purple Rain/First Avenue Agreement
- Purple Rain at the Internet Movie Database
- Purple Rain at the TCM Movie Database
- Purple Rain at Box Office Mojo
- Purple Rain at Rotten Tomatoes
- Purple Rain at Metacritic