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Purple Haze (1982)

R | | Drama | October 1982 (USA)
The film opens in Princeton University, 1968, where Matt Caulfield and his friends are watching television. There, they witness President Lyndon B. Johnson inform us of his plans not to ... See full summary »


(story), (screenplay)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Nelson ...
Matt Caulfield
Chuck McQuary ...
Jeff Maley
Bernard Baldan ...
Derek Savage
Susanna Lack ...
Kitty Armstrong
Bob Breuler ...
Walter Caulfield
Joanne Bauman ...
Margaret Caulfield
Katy Horsch ...
Phoebe Caulfield
Tommy O'Brien ...
Dan Jones ...
Dorm Snitch
Don Bakke ...
NCO #1
James Craven ...
NCO #2
John Speckhardt ...
Oath Officer
Jean Ashley ...
Mrs. Maley
Sara Hennessy ...

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The film opens in Princeton University, 1968, where Matt Caulfield and his friends are watching television. There, they witness President Lyndon B. Johnson inform us of his plans not to rerun in the upcoming election. Upon hearing of his plans, Matt and the rest of the students celebrate by smoking marijuana. An uncool student from next door is disturbed by the boys' racket, and upon being pelted with junk food by the boys for telling them to be quiet, he calls the police. Within minutes, Matt and his roommates are caught smoking, and are banned from college campus. Matt returns home to his family, where he is faced with various issues before being shipped off to Vietnam. Source: Wikipedia (no source cited).. please someone update this!!. Written by Unknown source

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It's dynamite stuff. See more »








Release Date:

October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bíborköd  »

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Did You Know?


Features The Graduate (1967) See more »


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Written by Roger McGuinn (as Jim McGuinn) and Chris Hillman
Performed by The Byrds
Courtesy of CBS Records
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User Reviews

17 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure why this film so completely slipped through the cracks--I don't remember it coming out at the time, and it seems to have evaded all conventional release to VHS, DVD, etc. (Maybe there were legal issues--the soundtrack is wall-to-wall famous late 60s "oldies," and perhaps the filmmakers didn't pay for the music rights beyond theatrical release.) In any case, it has a good reputation from the few who've seen it. But it doesn't hold up particularly well.

Perhaps its typical coming-of-age story of a young man worrying about the draft, what his parents think of his long hair, etc. has been done too many times by now. But the problem is how routinely "Purple Haze" tells that story, with rote characterizations from fairly colorless lead actors and variably amateurish support ones. You could forgive that and other clumsy aspects from a firsttime filmmaker, but the director/coscenarist had made a few features before (including the truly awful horror movie "The Meateater;" I'd like to see 1976's "Loose Ends," which got some critical acclaim at the time), and what appears to be a pretty pedestrian later career of TV movies (including lame biopics about Sonny & Cher, the Partridge Family and Jackie Onassis).

I imagine this was a more personal project for him (it was shot in his native Minnesota, and some of the actors have a very "local talent" feel), and in some ways it's pretty ambitious for an indie feature of the era. But it just doesn't have the spark of personality in terms of writing, performance or direction to make a memorable impression. A later movie (by another prolific TV-movie director) that likewise fails to make anything distinctive of a clearly autobiographical late-60s-young-manhood tale (and likewise shows practically no interest in women as anything but interchangeable sex partners) is Bobby Roth's 2005 "Berkeley."

I'm sure anyone who came of age circa 1969 thinks their experience of the era was unique and unforgettable. Sure it was--to them. Trouble is, too many of those stories all begin to seem generically alike when they're dramatized. It takes a savvier dramatist than this movie has to recapture what seems exciting in nostalgic recall and actually make it interesting for viewers.

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