The Color Purple

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Movie Info & Cast


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, All Movie Guide


  • Danny Glover
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Margaret Avery
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Willard E. Pugh
  • Akosua Busia
  • Desreta Jackson
  • Adolph Caesar
  • Rae Dawn Chong
  • Dana Ivey

Did You Know?


  • Harpo's name is actually Oprah spelled backwards, and is the name of Oprah Winfrey's production company. It's also the first name of one of the Marx Brothers (albeit a stage name).
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  • When Celie has on Shug's dress in Shug's bedroom, Shug makes Celie look in the dresser mirror. There is another mirror on the dresser in which a crew member's head is visible.
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    • Shug: I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it.
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The affirmation at the end of the film is so joyous that this is one of the few movies in a long time that inspires tears of happiness, and earns them. The Color Purple is the year's best film.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

To miss this film is to cheat yourself and your family of a memorable moviegoing experience.

Metacritic review by Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune

What's wrong with The Color Purple - and nothing that's wrong with it keeps it from being a joy to watch - is what you'd expect of Spielberg: he chews on Alice Walker's hard edges until they're gummy. [21 Dec 1985]

Metacritic review by Jay Scott
Jay Scott
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)