The Color Purple

1985

The Color Purple

Critics Consensus

A sentimental tale that reveals great emotional truths in American history.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 180,807
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Movie Info

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple spans the years 1909 to 1949, relating the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a Southern black woman virtually sold into a life of servitude to her brutal husband, sharecropper Albert (Danny Glover). Celie pours out her innermost thoughts in letter form to her sister Nettie (Akousa Busia), but Albert has been hiding the letters Nettie writes back, allowing Celie to assume that Nettie is dead. Finally, Celie finds a champion in the don't-take-no-guff Sofia (Oprah Winfrey), the wife of Glover's son from a previous marriage. Alas, Sofia is "humbled" when she is beaten into submission by angry whites. Later, Celie is able to forge a strong friendship with Albert's mistress Shug (Margaret Avery). Emboldened by this, Celie begins rifling through her husband's belongings and finds Nettie's letters. Able at last to stand up to her husband, Celie leaves him to search for a new life on her own. A major box-office hit, The Color Purple was nominated for eleven Oscars. The film was co-produced by Quincy Jones, who also wrote the score. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Danny Glover
as Albert Johnson
Margaret Avery
as Shug Avery
Desreta Jackson
as Young Celie
Dana Ivey
as Miss Millie
Carl Anderson (II)
as Rev. Samuel
Howard Starr
as Young Harpo
Daphaine Oliver
as Young Olivia
Jadili Johnson
as Young Adam
Leon Rippy
as Store Clerk
John Hart
as Mailman
David Thomas
as Road Gang Leader
Juliet Poe
as Church Sister
Katie Simon
as Church Sister
Ethel Taylor
as Church Sister
Drew Bundini Brown
as Jook Joint Patron
Arnold Turner
as Jook Joint Patron
Jeris Poindexter
as Jook Joint Patron
Saunders Sonny Terry
as Jook Joint Musician
Greg Phillinganes
as Jook Joint Musician
Roy Gaines
as Jook Joint Musician
Hawthorne James
as Jook Joint Patron
Paulinho da Costa
as African Musician
Nana Yaw Asiedu
as African Musician
Clarence Avant
as African Musician
Bayo Martin
as African Musician
Ndugu Chancler
as African Musician
Jeffrey Kwashi
as African Musician
Pete Munzhi
as African Musician
Aniijia Rae Shockley
as African Musician
View All

News & Interviews for The Color Purple

Critic Reviews for The Color Purple

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for The Color Purple

  • Dec 09, 2011
    This was the first time Spielberg made a serious picture about serious issues of American History. Everything about this film is wonderful, production design, script acting, cast, direction; It just captures your heart! It was first film for Whoopi Goldberg whoose performace is direct stardom. Its a shame this got No Academy Awards, then again theres plenty of films that have that result, but this will always remain a classic!
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    The Color Purple is a beautiful and strong film that is driven by great performances and a incredible script. Whoopi Goldberg's first acting credit is phenomenal and watching her just puts a smile on our face, and the iconic dinner scene where she finally yells as Danny Glover is possibly the finest acting in her career to this day. Danny Glover is also great, he is cruel and really plays an evil role very well. The story has so many conflicts and yet we still see the film as beautiful, but with so many conflicts why do we see it as beautiful? It's because the main character is a beautiful woman on the inside and never loses hope, and her relationship with her sister is a truly beautiful character study. I see beauty in this film and the characters, and the actors fill the characters perfectly and make them their own. I loved the setting and the costumes, it really all had an innocent feel to it. The Color Purple is one of Steven Spielberg's most personal films as he shows cruelty and racism at its worst, and its just another reminder that Spielberg is one of cinema's greatest visionary's.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2011
    The Color Purple is a very touching and lovingly-made film from Steven Spielberg that captures the life of Southern black women in the years 1909 through 1949 and is both poignant and emotionally moving as well as disturbing at times. The film follow Whoopi Goldberg's character Celie who is basically a servant and sex slave to her abusive (emotionally and physically) husband who separates her from her sister who was her rock. Over the course of the film we see Celie grow from a scared and timid girl to a strong and independent woman and one who is filled with passion and perseverance! The film is a little over 2 and a half hours but is filled with such great performances from Glover, Goldberg and Winfrey as well as the supporting cast that there is no wasted screen time and while it falters in a few moments, makes up for it with such loving care in the way it is filmed and enacted that you simply forgive it's faults.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2011
    Smart, poignant, honest, subtle, and thoroughly moving. The story reminds me of The Shawshank Redemption, only we are following a southern black woman in the first 4 decades of the 20th century and her prison consists of sexually, physically, and verbally abusive men, complete isolation from the only person who cared about her, and greatest of all, her heart-breaking view of her self. But there is redemption, and it will run deep into your soul. Great cast. Oprah and Whoopi really do transcend themselves, proving they can act with the best of them.
    Matthew S Super Reviewer

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