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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.

A semi-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"
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When The Kid and Apollonia fight a second time, he falls on top of her and prepares to hit her again. Apollonia just tells him "Go on. Go on." This stops The Kid making him realize he's becoming just like his abusive father and now his relationship with his girlfriend is no different from his abusive father's relationship with his mother.
  • Autobiographical Role: At any rate, Prince is playing an Author Avatar in a film Inspired by… his own life story to that point.
  • Butch Lesbian: Lisa, who wears short-sleeved shirts and a short spiked haircut.
  • 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.
  • Date Rape Averted: What the Kid prevents from happening when he sees a drunk Morris Day and Apollonia being drunk together. He picks her up and drives off with her on his motorcycle.
  • 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 Apollonia throughout the movie. One awesome ballad later, all is forgiven!
    • He does sing Wendy & Lisa's song and publicly gives them the credit but still...
    • The fact that the guy's father nearly killed himself the night before obviously engendered sympathy points in that regard.
  • Epic Rocking: "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry"
  • 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 [like Prince's real life father], and The Kid is viewed as headed down the same path.
  • 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.
  • Forceful Kiss: After rescuing Apollonia from Morris, The Kid plants one on Apollonia causing her to smack him and the two getting into another fight.
  • Foreign Remake: 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.
  • Foreshadowing: A rough-draft version of the infamous symbol Prince later changed his name to appears on the overpass during "When Doves Cry."
  • Gray Rain of Depression: The song "Purple Rain".
  • Hide Your Lesbians: In the film, Lisa and Wendy were originally supposed to share a kiss after the "Purple Rain" concert, but excessive meddling omitted such lesbian activity from the final cut of the film.
  • 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' "How's the family?" after The Kid's father tries to kill himself. Even Morris felt remorseful moments after saying that.
  • Love Triangle: The Kid/ Apollonia/Morris Day.
  • Moment Killer: "I'm joining Morris' group." Even the music stops playing minutes after this.
  • Mood Whiplash: 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.
  • The Quiet One: Brown Mark is the only member of the Revolution who never speaks in the film.
  • Sexy Man, Instant Harem: In the nightclub, Morris is surrounded by a group of attractive women.
  • 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. Given Prince, his band members and the director were Minneapolitans it's probably an inside joke.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: While certain parts of the film are inspired by the real life of Prince and the various other musicians appearing in it, most of it is completely fictional. For example, the Kid is shown to have a white mother and black father, when in real life both of Prince's parents were African-American. The relationship between Prince and Wendy and Lisa (nor between him and Morris Day) wasn't as antagonistic as shown here, and the song "Purple Rain" wasn't written by the two women, but rather by Prince alone. One part Prince always acknowledged to be true to life, though, is that his father was indeed physically abusive towards his family.
  • Who's on First?: "The password is what?"
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Kid's reaction to Apollonia's announcement that she's joining Morris' girl group is 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.