The Color Purple

Still of Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover in The Color PurpleStill of Oprah Winfrey in The Color PurpleStill of Whoopi Goldberg in The Color PurpleStill of Adolph Caesar in The Color PurpleStill of Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover in The Color PurpleStill of Whoopi Goldberg and Margaret Avery in The Color Purple


The life and trials of a young African American woman.

Release Year: 1985

Rating: 7.6/10 (33,735 voted)

Steven Spielberg

Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey

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…

Writers: Alice Walker, Menno Meyjes


Danny Glover


Whoopi Goldberg

Celie Johnson

Margaret Avery

Shug Avery

Oprah Winfrey


Willard E. Pugh

Harpo Johnson

(as Willard Pugh)

Akosua Busia

Nettie Harris

Desreta Jackson

Young Celie Harris

Adolph Caesar

Old Mister Johnson

Rae Dawn Chong


Dana Ivey

Miss Millie

Leonard Jackson

Pa Harris

Bennet Guillory


John Patton Jr.


Carl Anderson

Reverend Samuel

Susan Beaubian


Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize Winning Story.

Release Date: 18 December 1985

Filming Locations: Anson County, North Carolina, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000


Opening Weekend: $1,710,333
(22 December 1985)
(192 Screens)

Gross: $98,467,863

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Sheryl Lee Ralph tested for the role of Shug Avery.


In the confrontation between Squeak and Sofia, Shug Avery can be clearly seen behind Squeak (wearing a red sequin dress), but changes position, and even disappears in one shot, then reappears.


Who this, Pa? Who this?

The woman that shoulda been yo' mammy.

User Review

Spielberg's 1st "Serious" Film Is Beautiful and Powerful…

Rating: 10/10

A film that can make you shed tears of sadness and tears of joy would
be considered quite a step in the career of a common filmmaker. The
fact is, Steven Spielberg, probably our greatest story-teller, has been
doing this in various movie formats for years. THE COLOR PURPLE, at the
time, was considered risky, especially after action classics like JAWS
and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. In hindsight, this film should have come
as no surprise, for Spielberg had made us cry tears of joy and sadness
in E.T. Critics called COLOR PURPLE his entrance into intellectual
fare. It is quite an entrance. No special effects, no swashbuckling,
just brilliant story-telling based on a literary classic by Alice
Walker. One surprise is how Spielberg could present such a moving film
about African-Americans in the deep south. Slavery is gone, but in the
south depicted here, it seems as though blacks are using other blacks
as slaves.

Spielberg is always put down for sentimentalizing his pictures or
adding an element of childishness to please the audience. This is
really the first of overlooked films from his career that you cannot
make these observations. It is the first in a line of films people
either didn't see or wouldn't see because there are no aliens. EMPIRE
OF THE SUN, ALWAYS, SCHINDLER'S LIST, etc.. His awesome talent is
obvious with this specific picture because A) he uses mostly untrained,
first-time actors, B) he tackles a subject most felt was unadaptable to
the screen, and C) it is pure drama with no strings pulled where
characters grow and change over the passage of roughly 30 years. It is
almost epic-like in look and scope and the fact that it did not garner
a single Academy Award from 11 nominations is a travesty and an insult.

Whoopi Goldberg is fabulous as the tortured Celie, an unattractive
woman given away by her incestuous father to an abusive Danny Glover,
who she only knows as "Mister". The film follows a path of occasional
beatings and mental torture she goes through while with "Mister". The
PG-13 rated film is pretty open to the sexual issues raised by the
Walker novel. This is not "The Burning Bed" in Georgia by any means.
There is no blatant revenge taken as might be expected. It happens
gracefully. Goldberg perfectly plays a human being, someone in need of
love and someone who deserves it. The films' most poignant and
heartbreaking moment comes when Goldberg and her sister, Nettie (played
by Akosua Busia) are separated, maybe forever. (Possibly foreshadowing
Holocaust separation of child and parent?) You may have to check for a
pulse if you are not moved by this sequence.

The color purple stands for the beauty of the fields and flowers
surrounding these poor people. There really is something to live for,
but love triumphs over all. Spielberg bashers take note: the guy can
make an unforgettable classic without any cute aliens.

RATING: 10 of 10