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The Color Purple (1985)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  7 February 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 57,688 users  
Reviews: 191 user | 66 critic

A black Southern woman (Whoopi Goldberg) struggles to find her identity after suffering years of abuse from her father and others over 40 years.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 11 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harpo Johnson (as Willard Pugh)
Leonard Jackson ...
John Patton Jr. ...
Carl Anderson ...


This film follows the life of Celie, a young black girl growing up in the early 1900's. The first time we see Celie, she is 14 - and pregnant - by her father. We stay with her for the next 30 years of her tough life... Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize Winning Story. See more »




PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Moon Song  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$94,175,854 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alice Walker (author of the novel) attended the rushes at the end of filming each day, yet she was horrified with the final cut of the film, especially what she referred to as the "Oklahoma"-type opening scene. However, at the premiere, when she watched the movie with an enthusiastic audience, she changed her mind. She now says she likes the film very much, but thinks of it as being very different from her book. See more »


The Johnsons' mailbox, featured as early as 1906, is a Joroleman mailbox. This style mailbox was not available until 1915 when it was designed by U.S. Post Office employee Roy J. Joroleman. See more »


Celie: The jail you planned for me is the one you're gonna rot in.
See more »


Referenced in Precious (2009) See more »


Don't Make Me No Never Mind (Slow Drag)
Written by Quincy Jones, James Ingram and Roy Gaines
See more »

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User Reviews

huge achievement from Spielberg
14 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The film version of Alice Walker's hugely emotive and influential 1983 novel (written largely as letters from the central character Celie to God) was a massive Oscar success, and rightly so.

In the role of the abused and awakened Celie, Whoopi Goldberg gave her best screen performance by miles. Not far behind her was Oprah Winfrey as Sofia, the fiery woman tamed by fate. Others in the cast fleshed out the characters Walker had introduced so clearly on the page - Danny Glover as Albert, Celie's abusive husband; Margaret Avery as Shug, a force of change for the good; Willard Pugh and Rae Dawn Chong as Harpo and Squeak; Susan Beaubian as Corrine, the preacher's wife; and the much-missed Carl Anderson (otherwise best known as Judas in the 1973 film of Jesus Christ Superstar) as preacher Samuel.

Beautifully paced and sensitively written, 'The Color Purple' does justice to its source while opening out the story to involve viewers of a feature-length drama.

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