The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Lighthearted and sweet, The Purple Rose of Cairo stands as one of Woody Allen's more inventive -- and enchantingly whimsical -- pictures.


Movie Info

Woody Allen blurs the the boundaries between the real and unreal in this unique comic fantasy. The scene is a small town in the mid-1930s. Trapped in a dead-end job and an abusive marriage, Cecelia (Mia Farrow) regularly seeks refuge in the local movie house. She becomes so enraptured by the latest attraction, an RKO screwball comedy called The Purple Rose of Cairo, that she returns to the theatre day after day. During one of these visits, the film's main character Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels), … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Woody Allen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 6, 2001
Runtime:
Orion Pictures Corporation

Cast


as Cecilia

as Tom Baxter, Gil She...

as Larry

as The Countess

as Jason

as Fr. Donnelly

as Theater Manager

as Mr. Hirsch's Lawyer

as Cecilia's sister

as Raoul Hirsch

as Kitty Haynes

as Gil's Agent

as The Communist

as Diner boss

as Bandleader

as Hollywood Executive

as Press Agent

as Waiter

as Maitre D'

as Variety Reporter

as Drugstore Customer

as Music Store Owner

as Diner Patron

as Diner Patron

as Diner Patron

as Diner Patron

as Diner Patron

as Diner Patron

as Diner Patron

as Penny Pitcher

as Penny Pitcher

as Penny Pitcher

as Ticket Buyer

as Ticket Buyer

as Ticket Taker

as Popcorn Seller

as Movie Audience

as Movie Audience

as Movie Audience

as Movie Audience

as Movie Audience

as Movie Audience

as Movie Audience

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Moviegoer

as Moviegoer

as Moviegoer

as Hollywood Executive

as Moviegoer

as Policeman

as Policeman

as Photo Double

as Hooker

as Hooker

as Gil's Agent
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Purple Rose of Cairo

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Critic Reviews for The Purple Rose of Cairo

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (3)

It's a sweet, lyrically funny, multi- layered work that again demonstrates that Woody Allen is our premier film maker who, standing something over 5 feet tall in his sneakers, towers above all others.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

When discussing Woody Allen masterpieces, titles like Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters are frequently cited (and rightly so), but where's the love for The Purple Rose of Cairo, a movie that even Woody himself considers among his top two or three?

Full Review… | February 20, 2015
Creative Loafing

In NJ, anything can happen!

Full Review… | March 22, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Whimsical Woody Allen love note to '30s films.

Full Review… | December 15, 2010
Common Sense Media

Woody Allen's bittersweet comedy about the magical allure of movies in the Depression era was nominated for Original Screenplay Oscar, but it's premise is smiliar to that of Buster Keaton's 1924 silent.

Full Review… | August 4, 2009
EmanuelLevy.Com

Weird but wistful.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for The Purple Rose of Cairo

½

Classic and classy Woody Allen. Tom Baxter, an adventurous movie character steps off the screen to woo Cecilia, a starry-eyed, Depression-era waitress and cinephile, but the character's portrayer, Gil Shepherd, a smooth, somewhat megalomaniacal rising star, is called in to counter-woo Cecilia so that the show can go on.

Woody's escapist fantasia is blissful yet tragic, blurring the lines between reality and make-believe, the haves and the have-nots, and love and truth.

It was nice to see young, wispy Dianne Wiest and bug-eyed Glenne Headley as slinky prostitutes. After watching so much cantankerous old Jeff Daniels on "The Newsroom," bright-eyed bushy-tailed young Jeff Daniels is a remarkable palate cleanser, with a great singing voice to boot! Mia Farrow is, of course, charismatic and vibrant with her delicate voice and damselly beauty.

The last scene of her, dejected by the wretched realities of her life yet still utterly captivated by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "Top Hat," is just the most indelible final image in Woody's canon.

aliceinpunderland
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

"I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional but you can't have everything."

In 1930s New Jersey, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.

REVIEW
There's no way you can't like the ingenuity of the movie, and the fun it has. It's about the joy of life, and love of the movies, and the difficulty to tell the difference sometimes (at least when in the theater). In some ways this is one of Woody Allen's lightest movies, and certainly lightweight compared to the more serious movies of this period (like the stunning gem, "Another Woman"). It's not zany like his earliest comedies ("Love and Death"). And it's not deeply observant and sometimes downright moving and brilliant like his best movies (like "Annie Hall" or "Crimes and Misdemeanors"). In that way it feels like what some novelists would call an "entertainment" to distinguish from their heavier masterpieces, and sometimes these are the most readable of all. Or the most watchable.

"The Purple Rose of Cairo" is inventive, warm, and touching. It's really high brow hilarious when the people on the screen react to the situation, not only because of the existential reality shift going on, but because they are all high brow types. Then there are the everyday scenes with Mia Farrow, the lead actress in the real world (usually), and support from Danny Aiello, really just a foil for the main romances (two) going on with Farrow (singular). It's not as complicated as it sounds, which might prove the elegance of Allen's writing. A beautiful, delicate movie without undo weightiness. Joyous, yes, even in its melancholy end.

LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

One Allen film w/o himself or one of his numerous doppelgangers, which is a clue that here is a subject that is finally larger than Allen: his love of movies, that he freely shares with movie fans everywhere. So he takes one of the movie fan's most cherished desire (" ... I wish I could be there ... or that here was like there ...") and plays with it a little. Mia Farrow plays us, the fan, is our doppelganger, and the movies are a) better than real life, and b) but not real life. One of the better Allen films, Farrow's contented gazing at the screen too brief to be iconic, but it should be ...

ApeneckFletcher
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

The Purple Rose of Cairo Quotes

– Submitted by Stefan N (2 years ago)

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