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Film / Purple Rain

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"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life..."

Purple Rain is a 1984 movie starring Prince. He plays The Kid, lead singer for Minneapolis rock band The Revolution, and we see him navigate his relationship with the singer Apollonia, deal with family trouble, and compete against rival band The Time.

The film is generally seen as So Bad, It's Good, but the soundtrack is critically acclaimed. It went Diamond (meaning it sold 10 million copies) and is considered to be one of the best albums of all time, as well as Prince's Magnum Opus.

A sequel, Graffiti Bridge, was released in 1990. Most fans like to pretend it never happened.


Tracklist for the soundtrack album:

  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (4:40)
  2. "Take Me With U" (3:54)
  3. "The Beautiful Ones" (5:14)
  4. "Computer Blue" (3:59)
  5. "Darling Nikki" (4:14)
  6. "When Doves Cry" (5:53)
  7. "I Would Die 4 U" (2:49)
  8. "Baby I'm a Star" (4:25)
  9. "Purple Rain" (8:41)

Purple Tropes:

  • The '80s: Oh, yes.
  • Abusive Parents: The Kid's father Francis L. regularly abuses him and his mother.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: The song "The Beautiful Ones"
  • Autobiographical Role: At any rate, Prince is playing an Author Avatar in a film inspired by his own life story to that point.
  • Camp: Chock-full of it. There's even a scene with The Kid talking through a hand puppet!
  • Cool Bike: The Kid tools around on a modded 400A Honda Automatic. As the page image indicates, it certainly fulfills the "cool" part.
  • Creator Breakdown: Invoked. The Kid goes through a lot of this.
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  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The song "Darling Nikki".
  • Domestic Abuse: Almost every time, The Kid returns home to find his father physically abusing his mother, prompting him to intervene.
  • Easily Forgiven: The Kid is a jackass to his band and to his love interest throughout the movie. One awesome ballad later, all is forgiven!
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Kid. Explained (kinda-sorta), in that his father was said to be a talented local musician who was never able to crack the big time, and The Kid is viewed as headed down the same path.
  • Expy: In 2014 Christopher Kirkley took the Purple Rain story and migrated it to the West African world. Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai,note  originating in Niger, is pretty much Purple Rain in the desert.
  • Face on the Cover: Prince on a motorcycle, both on the album cover and film poster.
  • Fading into the Next Song: I Would Die 4 U fades into Baby I'm A Star, and are performed concurrently in the movie.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: The song "Purple Rain".
  • Jerkass: The Kid. Let's see: he treats his band like crap, acts like an asshole to his love interest and generally prances around being an Insufferable Genius. Small wonder people prefer the soundtrack CD...
  • Jukebox Musical: It's basically a bunch of musical sequences (it even starts with "Let's Go Crazy" being played) with a melodramatic plot in-between.
  • Kick the Dog: Morris's "How's the family?" after The Kid's father tries to kill himself. Even Morris felt remorseful moments after saying that.
  • Moment Killer: "I'm joining Morris' group."Even the music stops playing minutes after this.
  • Mood Whip Lash: A lot of this goes on in the film.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Apollonia sure spends a lot of time underdressed, or in skin-tight leather, or tiny dresses....
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: And given Prince is basically playing himself, it works. The rest of his movie career, on the other hand...
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Prince's character is known as The Kid.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Meta-example. The Kid playing "Darling Nikki" is supposed to be a self-indulgent disaster that leaves the audience cold. Editing magic was needed because the extras were going crazy for it.
  • Television Geography: A cab ride from the Greyhound Station to the First Avenue nightclub comes to $37.75, when in reality they're across the street from each other. Particularly weird considering Prince, his band members and the director were Minneapolitans. Probably an inside joke.
  • Twin Cities: The main setting, as Creator Provincialism.
  • Who's on First?: "The password is what?"
  • Would Hit a Girl: His reaction when Apollonia announced joining Morris's girl group was to slap her.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: The film ends with the Kid climbing atop a row of speakers and dramatically looking over his shoulder at the audience as the screen freezes.


Example of: