The Color Purple (1985) Poster


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Whoopi Goldberg's first feature film. Her name is even listed last in the opening credits, as "And Introducing: Whoopi Goldberg".
Before production, Steven Spielberg felt very insecure about being director of the film. In fact, his initial response to Quincy Jones' request was no. Spielberg felt that his knowledge of the deep South was inadequate and that the film should've been directed by someone of color, who could've at least related to the struggles faced by many blacks living in the old south. Jones then argued, "No, I want you to do it. And besides, did you have to be an alien to direct E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)?" Spielberg appreciated his friend's logic and decided to take the role as director of the film.
Caused one of the most controversial moments in the history of the Academy Awards when it received eleven nominations but did not include Steven Spielberg as Best Director. In the end, it won none of them.
Steven Spielberg's baby was born during the filming of this movie, and in the scene where young Celie gives birth to the baby, the sound of the baby crying is the actual sound of the Spielberg's baby crying.
At the dinner scene, Oprah Winfrey ad-libbed all her lines when she was talking to Whoopi Goldberg. After the scene, Goldberg walked over to Winfrey, gave her a hug, and told her that she now became an actress.
Sofia's speech at the dinner table was an ad lib prompted by Steven Spielberg, in the middle of filming the scene. He asked Winfrey to express to Celie how she felt that day when she saw Celie in the store, as Sofia was shopping for Miss Millie.
In the Turner Classic Special "Spielberg on Spielberg," Steven Spielberg cites The Color Purple (1985) as his first "serious" film, and that he would have not been able to do Empire of the Sun (1987) and Schindler's List (1993) without the stepping stone that was this film.
Whoopi Goldberg won the part of Celie in her audition for Steven Spielberg, by doing a comedy act she had developed about a stoned E.T. getting arrested in Oakland for possession. The audition was attended by many of Spielberg's famous friends, including Producer Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson.
Oprah Winfrey's first movie.
Steven Spielberg heavily pursued Chaka Khan to take the role of Shug Avery. However, Khan admitted to being too afraid to take the role at the time.
Steven Spielberg had producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters banned from the set. He did this because of their history of offering "suggestions" during production.
Steven Spielberg admits that his greatest mistake in directing this film was his lack of courage portraying the lesbian relationship between Celie and Shug. At the time of filming, Spielberg feared that overt sexuality between the two characters would alienate audiences, a decision he now regrets.
Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey were both nominated for an Oscar for their feature film acting debuts in this film.
Patti LaBelle auditioned for the role of Shug Avery.
The first PG-13-rated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Alfre Woodard was considered for the role of Celie Johnson.
Jointly holds the record (with The Turning Point (1977)) for the film with most Oscar nominations without a single win (11).
Alice Walker, author of the source 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.
Author Alice Walker was uneasy about Steven Spielberg's appointment to direct the film. However, she was confident in a then-unknown Whoopi Goldberg, after seeing her San Francisco stand-up routine in which she portrayed many different characters.
Alice Walker (author of the novel) may have had doubts about Steven Spielberg directing, but was at least partially convinced when she saw E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). After seeing the film, she felt that E.T. was treated like "a person of color."
Oprah Winfrey was at a "fat farm" to lose weight when she learned she got the part of Sofia. She had to leave immediately, as the role required her to be heavy.
Director Steven Spielberg is the one whistling (on the soundtrack, along with the music), as Harpo sits whistling while his children are taken from him one by one.
Producers Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy cast Margaret Avery as Shug Avery after Tina Turner turned it down.
The town scenes in the movie were filmed in Marshville, North Carolina. A key electrical pole could not be taken down in the middle of the street, so a tree was built to hide it.
Lola Falana and Diana Ross turned down the role of Shug Avery.
Although Quincy Jones is the sole music credit during the opening titles, a dispute arose regarding much of the music in the film. As a result, when the score was nominated for Best Original Score at the Oscars, twelve musicians (including Jones) were listed as contributors to the score.
Nell Carter and Jennifer Holliday turned down the role of Sofia.
Phyllis Hyman was the original choice for the role of Shug Avery.
Harpo's name is actually Oprah spelled backwards and is the name of Oprah Winfrey's production company.
As of 2015, this is one of three theatrical films directed by Steven Spielberg that was not scored by John Williams, the others being the anthology film Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), scored by Jerry Goldsmith, and Bridge of Spies (2015), scored by Thomas Newman.
Shooting for town scenes frequently had to be put on hold due to freight trains passing by the edge of the set.
A film adaptation of Alice Walker's novel was so highly anticipated, auditions for the film had to be held under the code "Moon Song."
Sheryl Lee Ralph tested for the role of Shug Avery.
The stage musical adaption of the movie opened at the Broadway Theater in New York on December 1, 2005, ran for 910 performances and was nominated for the 2006 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score.
Included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
The film cast includes one Oscar winner, Whoopi Goldberg, and four Oscar nominees: Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery, Laurence Fishburne and Oprah Winfrey.
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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Second of only three Amblin Entertainment productions where the production house's logo is played to music composed by John Williams, with the others being The Money Pit (1986) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985).
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Some critics, especially those in the black community, slammed this as "male bashing and racist". Still others slammed Spielberg, a white male director, as being out of touch with the themes of racism and sexism in the novel and for soft-pedalling the lesbian relationship between Celie and Shug in the novel.
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Steven Spielberg and producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber have both have ties to director John Landis. Peters and Guber had executive produced An American Werewolf in London (1981) for Landis when they were running PolyGram Pictures. Spielberg and Landis have worked together three times. Spielberg had given Landis a cameo in 1941 (1979). In return, Landis would give Spielberg a cameo in The Blues Brothers (1980). Both Landis and Spielberg would co-direct and co-produce Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).
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Director Trademark 

Steven Spielberg: [father] Nettie's father.
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