An early, simpler version of the unpronounceable symbol that Prince changed his name to during his dispute with Warner Bros. Records is painted on the side of his motorcycle's gas tank. It also appears on a wall of the overpass his motorcycle rides under during "When Doves Cry."
In the original script, The Kid takes Vanity to a barn, and they make love during "When Doves Cry.' Rain patters strongly against the barn, and deep thunder rolls, the lyrical inspiration for the song "Raspberry Beret." The song is found on "Around the World In A Day," which was released after "Purple Rain."
Purple Rain was shopped around to numerous production companies, including Indigo Films, which was owned by Jim Brown and Richard Pryor. Brown himself expressed his disappointment about not acquiring the project in the Spike Lee documentary Jim Brown: All American (2002).
Two takes of "The matter with this house..." sequence were filmed. According to the director's commentary, the film lab lost the camera negative for the scenes and had to use footage from a work print to include in the film. This explains the loss of picture quality during the scene.
Morris' pick-up lines to Apollonia, before the Revolution performs "The Beautiful Ones", are paraphrased lines from "Chili Sauce", the third track from The Time's third album "Ice Cream Castle". The album also contains "Jungle Love" and "The Bird", which are featured in this film. He also says, "What time is it," the title of the Time's second album.
Three different Honda motorcycles portray Prince's motorcycle. He rides is a highly stylized 1981 Hondamatic CB400A automatic with spoked wheels and custom faring, handlebars, seats, and sissy bar. Stunt riders rode 2 manual CB400s made to look like his bike. Sometimes when The Kid does crazy bike tricks the clutch is visible, indicating a stunt rider on a manual bike.
Albert Magnoli filmed a second love scene that wasn't included in the final cut of the film. It contains the illusion of purple rain. A snippet of this scene is included in the theatrical trailer and the "When Doves Cry" montage. This scene, and other deleted footage, are outlined in the film's screenplay found on various websites.
The success of this project benefitted just about every division of Warner Brothers. The box office grosses helped the film division, the soundtrack sales helped the record division, the home video release helped that division, and the promotional videos aired on MTV constantly helped the music video division.
The original screenplay, found on various websites, contained an extremely explicit sex scene between Vanity and The Kid during the "ride of rage" sequence. It's unknown if the scene was actually filmed when Apollonia replaced Vanity as the leading lady. This adds to the mystery of a long-rumored early edit of Purple Rain that was given an X rating by the MPAA.
While shooting the Lake Minnetonka scene, Apollonia Kotero actually jumped into freezing cold water. It snowed an hour after filming. Four takes in she developed hypothermia. Prince was afraid she would freeze to death, but she wanted to keep going. Her takes were moved to Los Angeles, California.
The audio from the three songs in the final concert, which included "I Would Die 4U", "Baby I'm A Star", and the title song "Purple Rain," were recorded live on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, as part of a fund raiser for the Minnesota Dance Theater. It also marked the official debut of Prince's new band The Revolution. The concert scenes were re-enacted later.
Although Albert Magnoli and William Blinn shared the writing credits, it is not known how much of Blinn's material was used. Magnoli estimates that only two or three of Blinn's scenes are in the final cut of the film.
A few days before the premiere, Prince had a nightmare that Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert despised the film, with Ebert ripping the film apart. He said, "I dreamed those two guys on the TV were reviewing the movie and that fat guy was tearing me up!" Siskel and Ebert both loved the film in their reviews.
A dance group known as Game Boyz dance on the balcony during the Time's "Jungle Love" performance. Three of the group's members, Tony Mosley, Kirk Johnson, and Damon Dickson, became members of Prince's band the New Power Generation. They were also background dancers in Graffiti Bridge (1990).