Purple Rain - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Purple Rain Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 17, 2013
Purple Rain is a surprisingly average musical drama starring Prince. I had heard countless things about this film, and I finally checked it out. Well, it's not a great film by any means, and the film is more famous for its soundtrack, which is quite good. The film has its fair share of faults, but manages to be entertaining due to an interesting performance from Prince. I enjoyed the film, but I felt it could have been better. The songs are obviously the standout aspect about the film, and the plot is a bit cliché as it's something we've seen many times before. Those interested in this genre of film will surely enjoy this one; others will find it not quite enjoyable. By today's standards it's quite dated, but it is a far better film than the remake of Hairspray and Rock of Ages. Some elements on-screen work well, but others don't and you clearly see where the film fails. Purple Rain should have been a great dramatic musical, but it only touches the surface in many ways. In the end, you are left wanting more than just a good soundtrack. Prince has done some stellar work in terms of music, but as an actor, he just isn't cut out for it. At least the songs he has written for the film are memorable, and that's the main reason to see this film. I'm not normally one to enjoy this type of music, I'm more into Heavy metal, but the tunes here are timeless and it is fun to see Prince perform them. The plot could have been reworked a bit as well, but overall this is a good film to watch when you have nothing else better to do.
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2008
Obviously the music and watching Prince perform it is the only good thing about the film.


Prince's live performances are legendary, "Computer Blue" is sick
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2007
Classic stuff.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2009
I've always been a fan of some of Prince's songs such as "1999," "Little Red Corvette," and "I Would Die 4 You." Of course, since I'm alive and especially since I live in the United States, I've always heard tons of people praise how great the Purple Rain Soundtrack is, but I don't remember anyone ever praising the movie.
To make it short, I didn't know what to expect from "Purple Rain," (the movie), but since I did like some of Prince's music, I went ahead and watched it. I was expecting it to be full of concert clips and mainly to just be about Prince's music, but I was wrong. "Purple Rain" is about Prince's ups and downs, both with his music and his personal life. When you watch it, you'll see Prince struggle with his family, his girlfriend, and believe it or not, even with getting his music career started. If you're familiar with 80's music, then you'll also recognize Morris Day, who performs some of his hits such as "Jungle Love" and he poses as Prince's main adversary.

Of course, the biggest standout with "Purple Rain" is the great music. You'll hear such familiar 80's pop sensations as "Purple Rain," "I Would Die 4 You," "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," and others. However, "Purple Rain" is also entertaining with its other stories that have nothing to do with music or concerts. If you haven't ever saw "Purple Rain," I recommend giving it a try and possibly buying it. You just might go crazy for it. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2001.
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2009
Oh my god, this is the stupidest movie ever. "Wow, what an egomanical, bullying, mean-spirited asshole. I think I'll dive into his bed." There are no endearing characters in this film, the story is utterly pedestrian and there's nothing for an audience to hold onto. Unless you're a huge rabid Prince, fan, which I'm not. In fact, he crafts such a miserable bitchy cur out of his character I was really quite dismayed to see his self-absorbed ass overcome his (deserved) adversity and achieve stardom. Guh. I really wish I'd watched another DVD.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2008
Giving it a rating through the eyes of an 8 year old.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2007
This would get more stars from me if it had been a straight concert film. I enjoyed those parts way more than the story woven in between the performances.
Super Reviewer
July 17, 2014
Along with Rattle and Hum, this was the movie to see heading into high school and everyone saw it other than myself. Finally I gave it a go and I regretted it. Prince is terrible. Everyone is terrible. Only someone in grade 8 would see anything really poignant. Maybe that is why it was so popular at the time.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2010
This movie is about the music and watching Prince perform.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2009
Purple Rain: the tale of his royal badness' upbringing in the mean streets of Paisley Park Minnesota. What dangers await the Purple One? Will he succeed in outfunking the dreaded Morris Day? Will Apollonia ever learn what it truly means 2 purify hrself in the waters of lake Minnetonka? Is the water warm enough 4 Wendy and Lisa? Who's the weird doctor guy on keyboards? FIND OUT all these answers and MORE in Prince's Purple Rain!
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2009
Despite some cheesy acting, this movie is a musical powerhouse. Decent storyline with superb performances by Prince and The Time. Prince is a musical genius and phenomenal to watch, weak acting aside.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2008
One of my fave movies of the 80's besides being a prince fan. great musical performances form prince and also watch the concerts held by morris day and the time awesome.
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2008
I?ve been a fan of Prince?s music for a while now, and as such I?ve listened to the soundtrack to this movie many, many times. Still I hadn?t seen the film, and when I saw it was available for streaming over Netflix I decided it would be interesting to see what the original context of all these songs was supposed to be. This is a really cheesy movie, really cheesy. Prince is a terrible actor, and the rest of the cast isn?t much better. Still the great music gives the film a real energy and all the live performances are really fun to watch. The music is almost too good, as one begins to wonder why everyone is saying he ?isn?t good enough to make it? when the music is really great. I?ll give Prince a lot of credit for putting such a personal story up on screen, but I think I?ll stick to listening to the soundtrack.
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2008
This movie is kinda bad, but really in the best way possible. I really enjoyed it and found it quite hilarious. It's definitely one to watch with a bunch of friends and drinks. There also parts that just seem so bizarre, but it's all part of the charm.
August 21, 2012
Purple Rain (1984) -- [6.0] -- Prince and his Revolution members all play roles in this rock opera that's equal parts cheese and cool. If you love Prince's music (that is, if you have a pulse), that'll be enough for you to enjoy the movie. It's basically a concert movie where half the songs are performed and half serve as score behind the loose narrative. The script works best when centering around the abusive family subplot, where supporting actor Clarence Williams III really shines. The 'battle of the bands' and love story elements are less compelling. As popular as "When Doves Cry" and the title track may be, the "Darling Nikki" number was the stand-out for me. The Academy awarded Prince a special Oscar for original 'song-score'.
July 14, 2011
In life there are certain pieces of pop culture which we have weaknesses for and many of them remain unexplainable. Usually they are follies of youth and while I can't explain the fascinations of today's youth with Justin Beiber or reality television, I understand the attraction based on my childhood love of Prince and the film Purple Rain (Albert Magnoli, 1984). To me, films become a part of us. We absorb their images, remember the lines and their songs resonate in our minds. I think part of the power of film lies in it's ability to become so ubiquitous within our conscious mind. As a cinephile many classic films do this to me, whether it is the mis-quoted Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) or seeing Jamie (Colin Firth) win the love of Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) in the brilliant Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003). The thing about Purple Rain is it really isn't very good, it's not considered a classic and ultimately its only purpose is to propel Prince in his career. Which doesn't mean I don't love every second of it!

And what an incredible vehicle the film is for Prince. The film showcases everything that Prince is good at, from catchy pop songs to blistering guitar work, from massive sex appeal to charming idiosyncrasies, and all of it is on display here. One of the biggest pop acts from the eighties (anyone remember Prince v MJ debates) Prince is one of those rare pop stars with actual real musical talent. The film shows him doing it all, from his soulful rendering in the title song to the underrated guitar solo in Computer Blue. At the same time he is blessed with charisma and sex appeal, and that rare quality in which woman want to be with him and men want to be around him (or both and vice versa). As he coaxes Appolonia to baptize herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka all of these qualities are on display. Still, the best that Prince has to offer comes out in one of the best soundtracks to a film ever made.

Films of the eighties saw a rise in the use of soundtracks to not only promote the film but also as another revenue stream for the film. Films such as Footloose (Herbert Ross, 1984) and Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986) extensively used soundtracks to promote and the songs from the soundtrack were in turn used to propel narrative and fill screen time. No film soundtrack from the eighties worked for it's film quite like Purple Rain did. The soundtrack generated three top ten hits and each is as memorable as the next. The film starts with the frenzy of Let's Go Crazy, propels through a montage with When Doves Cry and allows The Kid (Prince) to finally realize his potential with the beautiful and haunting title song Purple Rain. Granted these songs all exist within the narrative but that doesn't preclude them from being absolutely great.

Also great within the film (and this is entirely subjective to me and probably me alone) is the outlandish production design of this film and its setting in the eighties. The costumes, hair and makeup and dancing is either ridiculous or extremely cool, depending on your point of view. The colors are bright, the fabrics are silky and shiny, the hair god-awful. I won't mention the dancing as a better example of that would be Footloose. What really speaks to me in the production design, twenty five years later, is the uniqueness and individuality placed within the PD. I have long believed that as a child of the eighties we had none of this, that we were all clones of one another. Never is this more evident than when one is watching The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985). Those five main characters are eighties children. I have always felt there was no deviation for kids of this time. We all fell into one of those five groups on display in The Breakfast Club and that was it. Watching Purple Rain I must now re-evaluate this belief, and if a film can do that after twenty five years and over at least twice as many viewings, that speaks volumes about how good that film is. One of my all time favorites, it always will be!
July 8, 2011
This is energetic and full of great Prince songs, very formulaic, but held my attention throughout the whole movie.
½ January 6, 2011
As good as the songs are, the movie is disappointing. I didn't really expect much from the story, usually in music films it acts merely as a backdrop against which to set a handful of songs. Purple Rain however tries to tell an intellectual story about one person's emotional conflict with himself and the world. Such a premise may work in a feature film drama, but not in a half-million dollar rock film with no actors or acting. Prince hardly even plays himself in this movie. Unlike Micheal Jackson in his short film 'Thriller', Prince is a bore. Even when he rocks out, he never really comes alive, and neither does the movie.

The Revolution is the hottest band on the block, until their star messes up the gig and reputation when he hooks up and breaks up with a local girl who is looking for work as a singer. During the first and second acts, Prince keeps rejecting a song idea proposed to him by his band mates, until his father dies one night, and in a moment of deep emotion, he writes a new song using the rejected lick and some of his father's piano compositions, and the song of course is Purple Rain. The build up to the climatic performance of this song is clever, but when we see it happen, it is a bit of a letdown. The whole scene is shot from one camera angle, and has no creativity to it. It is a touching moment though.

Ignoring all the controversy about Prince's wealth and ego problem (in reality), at his peak, he was one of the best. Having seen this movie however, I cannot help but think slightly less of him. The songs are good, but they don't save the movie.
September 19, 2010
Prince is one of the greatest musicians ever and "Purple Rain" is not only a great showcase of the man's talents but his magnum opus. The storyline of the movie follows the rise of an up and coming musician known as The Kid (Prince) who must not only deal with an abusive father but must also fight for the love of singer Apollonia with his arch rival singer & club favorite Morris Day. It's The Revolution versus The Time and there can be only one band standing. Purple Rain the album was to the 80's what Frampton Comes Alive was to the 70's. I didn't know anybody who didn't own those albums and what better way to feature the album than to perform it in the movie.
April 8, 2010
Not bad. Love him or hate him, the little guy is truly talented. The movie has various levels of maturity, something for everyone, I think. Great performances, fair storyline.
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