Purple Rain (1984) Poster

(1984)

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Eau-de-Eighties!
cchase18 December 2000
It's no use. Arguments about the potato-chip thin script, the haphazard direction and some of the most laughable non-acting ever photographed for a film, will prove ineffectual. Such conditions have existed in the realm of film vehicles for music stars since the genre began, (with some mind-boggling examples of the worst of the lot offered by every star from Elvis, to Frankie Avalon, to Vanilla Ice.) What you watch these movies for is not the deep plots, solid writing or impeccable direction. It's for those moments of electricity that leap off the screen, strike you right in the butt and have you dancing in your theater seat, as the magic of a performer at his or her peak, in their heyday, turns a few minutes of film into a literal celebration of life.

Such is the case with PURPLE RAIN, the one film that, as far as I'm concerned, effectively captured the raw essence of the good ol' "ME" Decade.

In a thinly-disguised version of the events that shaped his career and his life, The Purple One starred as a brilliant songwriter and musician simply known in Minnesota music circles as "The Kid." There are three distinct storylines, all of which have been around since Mickey and Judy put on shows for the neighborhood. One documents the intensive rivalry existing between Prince's band and the Time, fronted by the charismatic poseur and self-described "Lay-deez Man" Morris Day, (who in a satirical and self-effacing performance, manages to effectively steal every scene he is in.) The battle is waged nightly at Minneapolis' legendary First Avenue Club, (where Prince really did get his start with other leading lights like Andre Cymone, Jesse Johnson and Morris).

In the second, the two frontmen battle even harder for the affections of new-girl-in-town Appolonia (Appolonia Kotero, in her debut, and biggest screen role to date.)

The third reflects "The Kid's" struggle with his inner demons and the source of his problems dealing with his career and his personal relationships: the volatile, strained marriage between his equally brilliant but tragically broken father, Francis L. (Clarence Williams III) and headstrong mother (Olga Karlatos). The scenes between the three of them have provoked uncontrollable snickers with their over-the-top hystrionics, but those few moments they work, they do carry an undeniable power, and a window into "The Kid's" tortured psyche that fans were only privy to before through the music.

And ultimately, that is what PURPLE RAIN is all about: the power of music to transcend, transform and uplift everything it touches for good or for ill, though good is ultimately the strongest influence it exudes. Prince's chart-topping, Oscar winning song score found The Artist at his dazzling best, and director Magnoli made a wise call including as much scintillating concert footage as possible.

The Battle of the Bands sequences are wondrous to behold, with both The Revolution and The Time at their tightest, loosest and funkiest all at once. Even the vocally-deficient, amply-augmented Appolonia 6 (formerly Vanity 6) sparkles.

The remaining cast all do the best they can with what moments they're given, the standouts besides Williams III and Karlatos being the hysterical rapport between Day and Time mascot Jerome Benton, and some refreshingly confrontational moments between "The Kid" and former bandmates Wendy and Lisa, which threaten at times to edge into the territory of cinema verite, rather than just popcorn-driven melodrama.

But capturing one of the decade's defining cultural touchstones is the true purpose of PURPLE RAIN, and to this day, you can talk to people who can still remember where they were and what day and time it was the first time they heard "When Doves Cry." With "1999" running a close second, this was Prince's masterwork, and even though he still produces material with flashes of profane, profound, funk-fueled brilliance, he still has yet to top the creative bar he raised for himself and everybody else back in 1984.
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That's not Lake Minnetonka...
pooch-823 June 1999
Not terribly different from many of the 1930s-era "backstage musicals," Purple Rain sports a contrived plotline that sees Prince (in the film referred to only as The Kid) battling rival musician Morris Day for the affections of new-in-town beauty Apollonia and a shot at stardom through a secure spot on the bill at legendary Minneapolis club First Avenue. A secondary narrative thread concerns The Kid's violent home life and his attempts to protect his mother from his raging, abusive father. Anyone looking for nuance and subtlety won't find it in the acting or the direction, but Prince's stage presence is commanding, and the musical numbers are electrifying. The Academy Award winning song score (irrefutably one of the best rock albums of the 1980s) and Prince's enigmatic, magnetic personality are undoubtedly the chief components in Purple Rain's sturdy cult, but for viewers of the right age, the youthful angst, flip attitude, and bold sexuality of the film will prove to be irresistibly attractive.
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5/10
Much undervalued film
The_Movie_Cat29 October 2005
A much undervalued film that tells the story of a young musician caught in an ever-declining spiral of domestic violence.

At times difficult to watch, while Morris Day is portrayed as the misogynist, Prince as the knight on (motorcycle) steed, he is still called upon to twice beat a woman as part of the screenplay. That he can do this and still emerge as a flawed but vindicated hero is credit to the writing. Prince is so free of ego in this film that not only does he portray himself as a narcissistic megalomaniac who beats women, but his most famous song is fictionalised as being written by his father and Wendy & Lisa. Even further, two of his compositions - Computer Blue (admittedly the album's weakest track) and Darling Nikki - are shown as being songs that kill off an audience. Perhaps the only concession to the Princely ego is a card that lists the (slightly shorter than Prince) Apollonia as 5'6.

The nearly complete-amateur cast are mainly band members playing themselves (and reviewers who slate the actors on the terms that they've never appeared in other movies are completely missing the point), and do perfectly well under the direction. Morris Day gets most of the plaudits for his likable ham, though Jerome Benton must also get credit for bouncing off him well, particularly their stage act, which is hilarious. Day and Benton even go so far as to make an Abbott and Costello routine funny, which takes some doing.

Lastly, there's Prince. While I admit to bias, I do actually think he's a pretty good actor in terms of being able to portray a low-key version of himself. Acting ISN'T his profession, this was a film made for entertainment, so anyone pointing out that the guy in the lead role isn't Robert DeNiro and thinking they're making a point is sadly deluded. I don't want this review to be a derisory attack of other people's comments, but I've even this film slated as having a low budget and being darkly lit. How would a film about domestic violence be shot, then? With full overhead spotlights and a CGI dinosaur walking into frame?

The film acts almost as a perfect snapshot of the neon light and skinny tie era… until you remember that it was actually made in a world of curly perms and tinny synths, and this isn't some retro-recreation. Prince's best film with Oscar-winning music, it sees him at his zenith, and it's saddening to realise that, even though he would make some fine albums, he would never again capture this high.

Post-Script, July 2016: Seeing this film again, it was clear that I'd been watching it through Purple-tinted glasses. My original score was 7/10, which is ridiculously high. My revised score of 5/10 stands as generosity by itself. A genius on record, perhaps... but on film, definitely not.
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10/10
Prince is the man! Minneapolis funk 80s style!
heisenberg839 January 2006
As a big-time Prince fan of the last three to four years, I really can't believe I've only just got round to watching "Purple Rain". The brand new 2-disc anniversary Special Edition led me to buy it. Wow, I was really looking forward to watching it, but I wasn't prepared for just how electric it actually is. Prince's musical performances throughout the movie are nothing short of astounding - he REALLY has the moves in this one. I am very familiar (from repeated listens) with the classic "Purple Rain" album and all its songs, but to see them in the context of the movie completely alters your perception of the tunes and lyrics - like COMPUTER BLUE, THE BEAUTIFUL ONES, WHEN DOVES CRY and PURPLE RAIN itself. There is something indescribably hypnotising about the scenes where Prince and The Revolution perform. The closing songs BABY I'M A STAR and I WOULD DIE FOR U show how much energy and sheer talent Prince was brimming with in his mid-20s (he's overflowing!), it blew me away. It even makes Michael Jackson seem inanimate even in his peak years.

Prince shows you how to win the girl of your dreams - drive her to a lake, make her jump in, then drive off - absolutely hilarious stuff in hindsight.

Some of the scenes are very 1980s and unintentionally hilarious but this adds to the film's overall charm. Morris Day is the coolest cat on the block (and hilarious), and when his group The Time perform THE BIRD you get to see Morris Day and Jerome Benton light up the stage Minneapolis funk style - I love their dancing in this bit, and how Benton provides Morris with a mirror mid-performance.

I already can't wait to watch it again, I really can't! Extras are terrific - particularly seeing a young Eddie Murphy pre-Beverly Hills Cop admit he is a "Prince groupie".
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6/10
Prince has gained 4 new fans!!
LnineB1 September 2008
My girlfriends and I went out last night to our local theater's retro night. They show movies like pulp fiction, blade runner, and others for five dollars.

We went out to have dinner and some drinks and caught the 8:00 pm showing of Purple Rain. Never been much of a Prince fan, but little by little WE ALL got sucked into the quirky and freaky world that he painted in this movie. We absolutely enjoyed it and came out of the movie singing Baby I'm a Star and Take me with you,,,etc. etc.

We went to another dance/bar because we were hyped up to dance after this movie but we were quickly reminded that that quality of music doesn't exist within our generation so we made a made dash to some local stores to try to find the DVD. We were going to literally get it and go home and PARTY with the movie again. No stores were open but WALMART so we step in their and didn't find the DVD but found the soundtrack. We stayed out til 3:00 am driving around downtown in my girlfriends convertible blasting that whole soundtrack to whoever would listen.

All I have to say is that the movie made Prince 4 new 20 year old fans! We all wished we were teens during that era. My god you 30 somethings are so lucky. Prince, Madonna, U2, Sting, The Police. The music was so good back then.

Well I just want to share this story to all the original fans out there. I found the DVD @ borders and will be buying more of his music SOON.

Might Not Know it Now, But Baby I tell ya I'm A STAR!
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9/10
Excellent soundtrack!
supertom-326 February 2004
This electrifying musical has more than a whiff of egotism from it's star, the musical genius that is Prince. The film is 90 or so minutes of posing but in truth it is easy to see why it is such a cult classic.

Much like other films that centre around the struggling young musician trying to be big, this has a hint of drama in it to add a dimension to the musical numbers. While this film isn't as good as 8 mile as a recent example, this is entertaining none the less and the soundtrack is much better. On the dramatic side of things the story centres around the Kid (Prince) a young artist and regular spot at a club. The owner of the club is frustrated with the Kid's arrogance and little does the Kid know that he could soon be fired and replaced by a rival. One the side the Kid's parents are having trouble, with his dad abusing her violently. During the course of the film the Kid learns a few lessons in life, and learns to appreciate his friends more. It's all stuff we have seen in coming of age dramas of course, but this is combined as a musical, a very stylised musical.

The cast are good. Prince is actually quite good on the drama side, when he's not striking a pose. He seems human and relatable. Clarence Williams is very good as the abusive father as well. Appollonia Kotero makes a good debut as Princes sexy love interest.

The main strength of the movie however is the superb soundtrack. The musical numbers are well staged and electrifying. Prince is no doubt a musical maestro, albeit very eccentric. When he is inspired he is great but on the flip side he will often do songs that are solely for his own taste, and occasionally his experimentation can miss-fire, but that is the same for many musical geniuses. The soundtrack for this film is excellent though, with only Sexshooter being a weak point. The show-stopping performance of Purple Rain is the standout though. It is one of my all time favourite songs. ***
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A Fun Film
The Doomite17 August 2001
When I first saw this video in the video store, I didn't know what to make of it, being from Prince and all. Being an adventurous soul, I rented it anyway. Good decision! From the very first synthesizer-soaked note of "Let's Go Crazy," this movie takes hold of your attention, and doesn't let go until the ending credits. All the music has that '80s new-wave synthesizer sound goin' for it, but hey, it's an '80s movie! Besides, Prince's songs have a timeless quality that cannot be ignored. Some people may have their opinions of the Purple One, and I understand, but as for me, I think he's awesome! The movie as a whole is cool, with great performances by Morris Day and the Time, Apollonia (Sex Shooter) 6, and of course, Prince and The Revolution. Check this one out on a rainy afternoon!
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10/10
Purple Eighties!!
dataconflossmoor11 February 2008
It seemed as though the year 1984 was anything but the Orwellian nightmare it was calculated to be with George Orwell's science fiction novel!! 1984 turned out to be one of the happiest times in American history!! The upsurge in the economy, and a reemergence in basic American values, cultivated an idealistic aura of resumed innocence which was viewed by the American people with a very auspicious disposition!! There have been many ersatz renditions of classic movies in the past, but, the originals are almost always considered superior!! "Purple Rain" is such a movie in this category!! Made in 1984, "Purple Rain" provided a doggerel of eighties, happy-go-lucky quality music, which they incorporated into the making of this excellent film!! Certain artifacts indicative of the eighties are indeed classics!! Screwball comedies, neon accented clothing, and of course, the music!! Eighties music is considered by experts to be the best decade for music in American history!! Set in Minneapolis, "Purple Rain" accommodated the use of naive entertainment with the changing times of the city. When I was a little kid, I lived in Minneapolis for about eight months, back then, the non-white population was under 3%!! By 1984, African Americans had made some in roads into Minneapolis, and, thus, they established a firmly embedded culture of their own as well!! The movie "Purple Rain" evokes an eighties style clothing, and music ensemble, which effortlessly captivated the movie audience!! I loved the music to "Purple Rain", and, the innovative approach this film takes to confrontational success, is indeed, brilliant!! See this movie if you have not seen it already!! Prince became an eighties icon with this masterpiece!! For a short time, he dated Kim Bassinger, he must be doing something right!! "Purple Rain" put Prince on the map!! This film gets my emphatically assertive verdict of THUMBS UP!!!!
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7/10
I love this movie!
Henrik79-219 July 1999
Ok, so it may not be the award-winning "movie of the year" type-film (apart from the brilliant soundtrack that I think won a few awards), but it is a really great film about 'The Kid' (Prince / O( take your pick) and the happenings around him living in Minneapolis, playing his music. The music is absolutely superb, in my opinion you HAVE to own this soundtrack, it is truly a classic and sums up the eighties sounds and feel in a wonderful fashion. And the movie itself plays out a nice plot, it's worth seeing over and over again, espeically if you like Prince / O (which I do) of course.
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1/10
Absolutely utter tripe.
ConStar87884 April 2010
There are good movies, there are bad movies and then there is this, which makes "Grease 2" look like "West Side Story" and should be the go-to movie critics use when explaining to musicians with overactive egos why it's a bad idea to pretend to be an actor when one is not.

Finding a starting place for criticism is as hard as limiting the criticism to an amount that would fit into a single review. As a lead, Prince only is believable when on stage -- which is, of course, where he belongs, not trying to play the part of a tortured musical savant.

Prince's method of walking deserves its own special criticism, as he seems to move from step to step as if trying to plan the next flip of his hair or fluff of his coat. Never mind the fact that he is not likable in his role as protagonist.

The supporting cast is plenty awful in their own right. Poor Clarence Williams III almost buckles under the weight of trying to carry this collection of drama school dropouts from scene to scene. Things get so bad that some reviewers actually seem to think Morris Day and Jerome Benton can act; more accurately, they simply stink less than what surrounds them.

This movie is clearly just a vehicle for the ego-absorbed Prince to preen and sneer his way through badly-written, badly-directed and poorly-lit material. The best part of the movie are clearly the songs, and if you take this movie as one long music video, perhaps it works. But unless you like watching a good musician who happens to be a hack actor spend a couple of hours trying to overcome Short Man's Syndrome on film, skip this and watch something else.
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8/10
An invaluable piece of eighties culture
cpbraun8 September 2007
You can debate Prince's acting talent, or even his choice to parody his own life in this film. There is no debate about his musical talent either then or now. He seems like a shadowy has-been twenty years later, but the music remains relevant and fantastic.

Having lived through the hype of this movie (graduated high school in'85) I can tell you that there was nothing bigger at the time. From Tipper Gore (Al's wife) trying to censor "Little Nikki" and every thing else under the sun via the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) to every "Air Band" at the time impersonating Prince, it was the absolute hottest thing out. For a few weeks at least, Prince was bigger than Madonna and Michael Jackson.

We all waited for the film and were soooooo excited when it premiered. It didn't disappoint. EVERYONE was caught up. I was an MTV junkie at the time(they actually played music then....all the time)Prince played at least once or twice an hour. I must qualify this commentary by saying that, at that time, my favorites were Billy Idol, Oingo Boingo, The Fixx, Flock of Seagulls and others in the Punk/ New Wave genre' The music of Prince at the time transcended all types and styles. One of the reasons that some of it seems so cheesy and contrite now is that it was SOOOOOOOO big then. All the things that remind you of the 80's were iconic then. It was mainstream and it seems like a cliché' now. It got so popular that it became ridiculous. It's like the rappin' Granny commercial for Wendy's Hamburgers.

It looks stupid now because EVERYONE was caught up in it (sadly, kind of like a bizarre purple macarena or something. Anyway, I hope this gave you all a little insight.
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4/10
"You think you scared me. You didn't."
stjones0129 March 2012
The above quote is quite possibly the most uncomfortably awkward line in any movie I've seen, and just about sums up this film. Prince's musical ability and swagger is undeniable, but those who are unfamiliar with Prince's music and concert presence won't receive the purest essence of what the movie tries to accomplish.

The concert footage in the film is hindered in certain spots--you can tell that he's not completely in his element as he goes for certain poses while playing his songs. There are parts though, where his true form shines through his performances on stage, and that's when he ceases to be an actor--he's simply being Prince. As the storyline develops Prince stumbles along, muttering the atrocious dialogue provided for him in a monotonous low tone. His confidence is nowhere to be found, and that's one of his defining characteristics.

Without spoiling anything, the storyline has a lot to do with Prince's relationship with his dad (or lack thereof). However, this is where the movie struggles the most. The relationship they have is very one-dimensional, and never really goes anywhere. The lackluster screenplay and acting make it nearly impossible to care about his daddy problems, and half the time, the moments of the plot that are supposed to be really heavy just don't provoke any feelings at all. You might catch yourself laughing during a scene, and then say: "Oh, right. That was supposed to be sad".

I can't say I recommend this to anyone, not even Prince fans. If you're a Prince fan, then you'd be better off re-watching his half-time show at the Superbowl. If you're unfamiliar with Prince, this movie would just put a bad taste in your mouth, and that would be a damn shame. 2/5
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10/10
one of the greatest musicals ever made...seriously
movieman_kev23 June 2005
Prince stars as 'the Kid' in this semi-autobiographical film of a talented, but narcissistic young musician who has a less then stellar home life. True the acting leaves a tad to be desired (barring Morris Day and especially Clarence Williams who are both pitch perfect), but the movie is still great and among the best to come out of the 1980s. It has the best soundtrack of ANY movie of the last 50 years at least, highly quotable lines, and the dumpster scene is HILARIOUS!! Plus Apollonia is just simply STUNNING. On an unrelated not, when I saw Prince in concert in 2004 he blew down the stadium. He is an expert showman and it was one of the best concerts that I've experienced.

My Grade: A

DVD Extras: Disc 1) Commentary with Director Albert Magnoli, Producer Robert Cavallo, & Director of Photography Donald Thorin; Theatrical Trailer; Trailers for "Under the Cherry Moon" and "Grafitti Bridge" Disc 2) A 12 minute featurette on the First Avenue Club; "Purple Rain: Bachstage Pass (a half hour featurette on the movie which i'll review later on it's page); "Riffs, Raffs, and Revolution: the Impact and Influence of Purple Rain" 10 minute featurette; 30 minutes of MTV's Premiere Footage (when MTV didn't suck donkey balls); 5 Prince music videos (Let's Go Crazy, Take Me With You, When Doves Cry, I Would Die 4 U/ Baby I'm a Star, and Purple Rain); 2 Videos by The Time (Jungle Love and The Bird); and a music video for "Sex Shooter" by Apollonia 6

Eye Candy: Apollonia shows her fine ass titties
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1/10
Comically Horrible!
coljam2115 November 2013
I was 4 years old when this movie premiered. Fast-forward 29 years, I've seen listed on the channel guide a bunch of times while channel surfing but was never interested in watching it. I love Prince's music (or Symbol or wherever he's choosing to call himself these days). I also love the 80's. I think it was the most awesome era with the most awesome music and fashion. OK now that I got my disclaimer out of the way I can say I thought this movie was terrible.

The thing is, they tried to make this movie into a serious biopic using a main cast that never took an acting class (save Clarence Williams III). Prince's performance was comical. I couldn't help but chuckle at his lack of screen presence and the feeble attempt he made to incite emotion from the viewers by staring blankly into the camera every chance he got. The only reaction he got from me was a few laughs.

There was one part of the movie where he jumped on his purple pony puff princess bike and drove around aimlessly then stopped near a lake and jumped onto a berm with his high heels then squatted down (I guess into the thinking man's pose) and gazed at the lake as if deep in thought. Bwahaha! I was thinking to myself he must have strained a few blood vessels in his brain trying to pull off that look.

Alas I had to switch the channel when the love making scene between him and Apollonia in the barn came on. As if the atrocious acting and man high heels were not enough now I have to suffer through a stiff, love making scene in a barn in the middle of the city. Yeah I'll pass.
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9/10
Love it, Love it, LOVE IT!
triple817 August 2003
I don't care how many bad reviews purple rain gets, this movie rocks! Excellent movie, has it all, great music(Prince of coarse!), romance, and drama.

This is really a very sad movie, very moving. I don't want to say TO much more, I;m not into giving away the plot, but I will say this-the film is VERY realistic, there are so many romantic relationships that go through these problems, so many familys similiar to the one depicted in the film. I see this as being very realistic and being so real, makes the movie that much more moving. My generation loved this movie growing up, so many of us loved Prince and there is alot to relate to for any teenager who has gone through similiar problems.

That said, it's definetly NOT just a movie for teens, Id recomend it to all age groups. And it's not all so dark, the movie has some great music, band performance scenes, and sexy fun scenes between Prince and Appelonia.
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8/10
Not as bad as some reviewers say, GREAT music!
jmh235021 March 2003
This is NOT as bad a movie as some reviewers, and as the summary at the IMDB page for this movie, say it is. Why? First is the fact that in 1984 the movie makers were daring enough to confront, as one of the plot elements, the issue of domestic violence -- so reviewers who complain about the plot are sadly missing one of the main points! Second, without the plot element of Prince's movie relationship with his abusive father, the musical climax wouldn't work as well as it does -- so those reviewers who say that only the music is good have, once again, missed one of the points -- specifically, WHY it is so good...because all of the music in this film has a plot element backdrop that makes the music more effective. Third, give this movie a break! For first-time movie producers and director, this is just not that bad! There are far worse movies out there by accomplished movie people!! And last, the reviewers who say that the music is "good" have also missed the point -- check out the range of stylistic musical treatments, the variety, the musicianship, and the stage performance of Prince -- truly one of a kind, going musically where no one else was going during the 1980's, and with a style seen in the work of other artists (clothes and movement: which costuming elements came first, Michael Jackson's or Prince's? Also, see if you can spot the splayed fingers sweeping in front of the eyes that Prince does in this movie, long before Quentin Tarentino's "Pulp Fiction"). As the sum of its parts, not a bad movie at all.
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2/10
Great soundtrack........
jonsplec19 May 2004
Oh dear,this film is so bad I had to laugh

Now I haven't come on here to slate this film I'm just giving my opinion but this film sucked big time.

The story line is pathetic and the acting isn't much better,Prince's acting is OK but still leaves a lot to be desired.His supporting cast are terrible and strangely enough I've not seen them in anything else decent since.

the only reason i bought this film was for the performance of purple rain itself and if i ever watch it again i'll skip straight to that chapter.the song purple rain would be in my top 5 ever shame about the movie.

Granted its not as bad as Spice World thats a minus 1000 but this film left me feeling empty and screwed of 8 English pounds!
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Still My Favorite Movie Of All Time
TomBenet14 June 1999
No movie has ever has as much impact on me as Purple Rain. And isn't that one of the signs of a great movie? I remember a colorless year of what I considered very boring music. Then Prince came along with his music & movie and painted the world purple for a brief moment in time. I don't care how feminine Prince was, he was getting the best looking girls and he was my hero. I saw the movie in the theatres four times that year & I still long for the days when it was seen in widescreen format on the big screen being played LOUD. To me, a guy who normally marvels at the cinematography of Hitchcock and has a video collection of over 600 movies, Purple Rain is flawless. It is a movie that can be screened 20 years from now and will still survive the test of time. Prince, today, is too serious & strange to be fun anymore, but there was a time when he was alot of fun & this movie documents that time. From the very second the movie starts, it creates a mood with flashes of images that stay in the mind as much as the images of Citizen Caine do. Prince takes us on a journey & gives us a peek at what it was like to be around that great Minneapolis sound at it's birth. Morris Day & Jerome Benton were as good a comedy team as any. And they, with The Time, add two really good songs as well. But it is Prince's music that completes the movie & makes it what it is: a movie I can pull out every five years and really enjoy.
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Forget the Film, Get the Soundtrack
Sargebri22 November 2003
When this film first came out, a lot of people were very excited about the fact that it was Prince's big screen debut. However, when I first saw this film I didn't see what the big deal was. The story (or what passed off for a story) was rather thin and Prince really showed that he was a much better musician than an actor. The only performance that really stood out was Morris Day. Day really showed that he was a good comic actor and this led to several jobs after this film. But the real strength of this film was the soundtrack, which happens to be one of the greatest albums ever. Too bad the movie didn't hold up as well as the phenomenal album that resulted from it.
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1/10
Purple, schmurple. Chop this up into guitar picks, and give 'em to 'Prince'.
Hup234!13 June 2000
Or whatever his name is this month.

I was forced to see this schlock in '84, when I ran a movie theatre, and we found the place trashed every night after the last showing.

Adults and intelligent youth beware.
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A towering achievement.
dg-72 November 1998
In PURPLE RAIN, the movie's star appears in front of the screen in a cloud of mystery. His character, called simply The Kid has kind of a svengali effect on everybody he meets. The club he plays in is the First Avenue which we learn has been the starting point for many up and coming superstars. The movie's set in Minnesota, Prince's hometown and it doesn't seem like the kind of place people want to end up in.

There's other characters in this semi-biographical , semi performance movie. The rival act in the club(led by Morris Day of the time), and a young girl, straight out of a cab who wants to make it big and steal the Kid's heart. This isn't easy, because just when it seems like Prince is putting himself above the material(his own band walk egg shells around him) we go home and meet his parents. In the movie's powerful dramatic scenes we see the father(Clarence Williams III) beating up his wife. This happens a lot, and since The Kid gets beat up by his father everytime he tries to intercede, he stays down in the basement and turns up the volume sky high.

PURPLE RAIN is a towering achievement, one of the best musicals I've seen. The music is fantastic. At the end of the movie on stage, Prince sings "I will die 4 U" and it's intercut with his father laying in a hospital bed with the mother beside him. It's electric. The whole movie is like that. This is a movie that not only has great music but the performances are good and dramatically compelling. You see, the father was a musician himself, and very bitter that he didn't make it out of Minneapolis. In a harrowing scene, after The Kid's mother has shot the father, he discovers a chest full of his father's music. The movie wisely never tells us whether any of the songs at the end were the old man's songs.

I mentioned how Prince is like a svengali figure. You see that in the forced scenes with his band mates, The Revolution. Everyone seems scared of this guy, like he'll fire them or something. In the end credits, all of the songs except one are credited to Prince. There's a subplot involving two female band members who urge him to perfom their song, "Purple Rain." He does and it's the crescendo of the movie, but that's a Prince song. PURPLE RAIN is a wonderful movie and Prince is electric, but he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'll take orders.

DG

STAR STAR STAR STAR (out of four)
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3/10
Really Bad with a Couple of Minor Redemptions
DanB-421 September 1999
OK, I hate Prince. In the two dozen or so albums he has released, there are a total of about 4 good songs. So, keep that in mind when I tell you that this movie stinks.

This is a self-serving, ego-maniacal extended music video, and a bad one at that. Prince can't act, Appolonia can barely stand up on the screen. Most every element of the movie is grossly inferior, plain and simple.

There are two redeeming qualities - Morris Day's self parody role as Prince's rival is wonderful, especially since the real "The Time" was a far better band than Prince ever put together. Also, the song "When Doves Cry" as much as I hate Prince is a great piece of music and a defining song of the 80's.

I despise movies with no real importance that take themselves too seriously - this is the pinnacle of that description. If you want to hear Prince's music, his score for the first "Batman" is infinitely superior.

I will never understand why Prince - oh sorry, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince - is so popular and dredging through this entertainment black hole brings me no closer to an explanation.

*1/2 out of ****.
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10/10
Purple Rain is a Movie Far Ahead of it's time
jasonlammons23 November 2005
I own this movie and have watched it several times throughout the years since it was released. Prince doesn't stun us with his phenomenal acting style or anything, he's a musician and I feel like that is what he displayed here, he's just the best one to tell this story through influence. Most of this movie is straightforward and teenish but that is the directors/writers fault, still it is a great movie with even better music. The principals and moral convictions in Purple Rain are quite strong and if more movies would rely on the basics we are taught as young children we would have a better all around environment seeing that art reflects life which reflects art.
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10/10
The greatest movie ever made!
aquateenhungerforce1019 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Purple Rain... what else can i say, the title speaks for itself. But i think all the actors were well picked. The movie had a great story. I loved it! Ever since i watched that movie, i've been stuck in the eighties, and I'm only 13! My favorite part of the movie was when his father died and he was picking up all of his music compositions, and the Apollonia was sitting on the stairwell with his earing in her hand. Critics say that its a drama but i think its more of a romance. Murphy Brown also did a great job in the movie, he actually acted like himself. I'm so glad I've seen this movie. The song Purple Rain, beautifully sung, was so heartfelt. I cried more than once.
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10/10
Prince's fame erupted with Purple Rain ...now his legacy will forever remain
Ed-Shullivan23 April 2016
It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who first said "art is long and time is fleeting". Then oh so quickly we heard the drums were beating….. "Prince has died".

It was 1984 when Purple Rain was first released. Only 32 years later we hear that Prince is now deceased.

So we watch the film Purple Rain in his memory once ...than twice. Regardless how many times we hit replay, we realize it will no longer suffice.

For Prince was, and will forever remain larger than life itself. But we grow to understand through Purple Rain that the unselfish Prince gave most of himself.

The film outlines his troubled young life, his abusive father, and most importantly his love for music. Purple Rain sings out loudly and beautifully that the young Prince is a true Virtuosic.

We relish the life of the 26 year old Prince the singer, songwriter, and stage performer, a free spirit flying oh so high. Because this is what it sounds like when doves cry.

Rest In Peace Prince as your star will forever shine oh so gloriously bright

10/10
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