Film: Graffiti Bridge

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Graffiti Bridge

Graffiti Bridge movie poster

Movie details

Premiere: 1 November 1990: Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Released: 2 November 1990 (USA, Canada)
Director: Prince
Writers: Prince
Producers: Peter MacDonald (Executive producer)
Randy Phillips (Producer)
Arnold Stiefel (Producer)
Craig Laurence Rice (Co-producer)
Simon Edery (Associate producer)
Productions Companies: Warner Bros.
Paisley Park Films
Music by: Prince
Genre(s): Music Drama, Musical
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 95 minutes
Technical Specification(s): Country: USA
Language: English
Sound Mix: Dolby SR
Color: Color
Aspect Ratio:1.85 : 1

Warner Bros. (1990)

Box Office, Nominations & Awards

Box office

  • Opening Weekend (4 Nov. 1990)
USA: $2,447,000 (688 Screens)
  • Gross:
USA: $4,562,778


  • Razzie Awards 1991
Worst Picture for Arnold Stiefel and Randy Phillips
Worst Actor for Prince
Worst Director for Prince
Worst Screenplay for Prince
Worst New Star for Ingrid Chavez


  • ASCAP Award 1991
Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures for Prince for Thieves In The Temple

See also

Graffiti Bridge
Graffiti Bridge
(home video)

Graffiti Bridge is a 1990 American rock musical drama film directed and written by Prince, and his last large-scale film. Even though the movie isn’t a sequel per se to Purple Rain, it revives key characters from that movie: Prince plays the character of "The Kid" and Morris Day plays his own character. The story revolves around the characters' rivalry over the ownership of the "Glam Slam" nightclub.

First Steps

From mid September 1987 onward, Prince started to record songs and gather material for a musical film project called "Graffiti Bridge". A first script was finished on 22 September 1987 in which Prince would play "Camille Blue", Madonna a character named "Ruthie Washington" and Cat Glover a character called "Vienna".

Other characters would be played by band members: "Angel" by Sheila E., "Almost" by Dr Fink, "Big Sister" by Boni Boyer, "Joshua" by Atlanta Bliss, "Sax" by Eric Leeds, "Gruff" by Greg Brooks, "Puff" by Wally Safford and "The Brothers" by Miko Weaver and Levi Seacer, Jr..

Songs for this first script included: Ruthie Washington Jet Blues, Graffiti Bridge, Camille, Everything Could Be So Fine, The Question Of U, XYZ, Crucial, Power Fantastic, Beatown, Melody Cool, Big Tall Wall, The Grand Progression. Most of these songs were recorded between July and September 1987, although three of them were leftovers from 1986 projects, and The Question Of U was originally tracked in 1985. A script from October 1987 included an additional song called Born Free and U.

After Madonna turned down the project on in mid-October 1987 and a revised draft in December, the film was put on hold, and it wouldn’t be before late 1989 that Prince would be able to focus again on the project.

A New Script

By early July 1989, Prince struck up a friendship with actress Kim Basinger and together they started working with on a new script for the "Graffiti Bridge" film project.

In mid-September 1989, Prince started recording sessions for the film, with two new songs, Round And Round and New Power Generation. He also reworked already-existing songs from various projects, including some from the defunct first script. Mavis Staples traveled to Minneapolis to record vocals for Melody Cool, while Tevin Campbell recorded his vocals for Round And Round; both were now part of the film cast.

In late October 1989, Prince met Robin Herron, a rapper and former dancer on US Television show "Soul Train". After being invited to Minneapolis to work on a rap album project, Prince, rechristening her Robin Power, offered her a role in the cast of "Graffiti Bridge". Of the two songs they cut together, Undercover Lover and Number 1, only the latter was finally included in the film, although it was not included on the soundtrack album and remains unreleased in audio form.

When in November 1989, Prince and Albert Magnoli, who had together created the joint venture Paisley Park Films, decided to part ways a new production team, formed by Arnold Stiefel and Randy Phillips were hired to secure a deal for the film with Warner Bros. Film Division, which had showed very little interest in the project. Their strategy to sell the film to WB as a sequel to Purple Rain paid off and they were given a go-ahead.

On 19 December 1989, a third draft of "Graffiti Bridge" was completed, featuring Kim Basinger and Jill Jones in the leading roles.

In late January 1990, after Prince and Kim Basinger parted ways, a fourth draft of Graffiti Bridge was completed. It combined the former character 'Angel' played by Kim Basinger and "Aura" planned for Jill Jones into one, again named "Aura" but now to be played by Ingrid Chavez. Jill Jones was given a new, less prominent role in the film, as "The Kid’s" girlfriend.

A fourth slightly revised draft was ready on 7 February 1990. This version which was used as the shooting script.

Thieves In The Temple was the last song recorded for the project, on 11 February 1990. Performances of Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got and The Latest Fashion were shot but not included in the final cut, although the songs appear in the soundtrack.

Premiere and Release

The premiere and party took place on 1 November 1990 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, and was attended by the film co-stars Morris Day, Jerome Benton, Ingrid Chavez, Robin Power and Tevin Campbell. Prince attended the screening, but didn’t appear at the party.

The film was initially intended to open in 1,400 US cinemas on 7 August 1990, but it was ultimately only released in 688 US cinemas on 2 November 1990.

The reviews for Graffiti Bridge were negative, and the film was a commercial flop, grossing only $4.5 million at the box office, before being removed from most screens within a month. Allowed an original budget of $8 million, the film had cost $10 million to make, reported Jon Bream in Star Tribune; it was estimated, however, that Warner Bros. should have grossed $14 million in tickets sales to recover all costs.


Prince won an ASCAP Award for Thieves In The Temple in the category 'Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures'.

Cast & Crew

Kid’s Band

The Time Band

Melody Cool Choir

George Clinton’s Funkestra

Glam Slam Dancers

  • Tracey Bass (as Tracey M. Bass)
  • Kimberly Arland (as Kimberly Dionne)
  • Barbara Koval
  • Monique Mannen
  • David Robertson
  • Rocky Santo
  • Jonathan Webb

Other Cast

  • Shari Bridell - Female On-Looker
  • David E. Williams - Male On-Looker (as David Earl Williams)
  • Scott Parham - Clinton’s House Bouncer
  • Todd Rask - Limo Driver
  • Joel Edwards - Doorman (uncredited)
  • Keith E. Lane - Street Vendor (uncredited)
  • Adam Ward - Little Benny (uncredited)
  • Leisl AuVante - Glam Slam Waitress (uncredited)
Main Crew
  • Lynn Blumenthal - Casting
  • Bill Butler - Cinematography
  • Vance Lorenzini - Production design
  • Conrad M. Gonzalez - Film Editing
  • Rebecca Ross - Film Editing
  • Hubert de La Bouillerie - Film Editing (uncredited)
  • Jerry Wanek - Set Decoration
  • Helen Hiatt - Costume Design
  • Jim Shearon - Costume Design
  • Azzedine Alaïa - wardrobe (for Jill Jones)
  • Earl Jones - Hair stylist
  • Michael Koppelman - Music score mixing
  • Martin Maryska - Supervising sound editor
  • Steve Purcell - Supervising video editor
  • Leroy Bennett - Theatrical lighting director
  • Phillip Billey - Transportation coordinator
  • Gilbert Davison - Head of security
  • Jill Willis - Public relations
Other Crew

Company Credits
  • Azzédine Alaïa (Jill Jones' gowns)
  • Butler Express (catering)
  • Catered Concepts (catering)
  • D. Bassett & Associates (negative cutting) (as D. Bassett & Assoc.)
  • Hair Police (hair exteriors)
  • Helen Horatio Design (costumes by)
  • KO Creative (package design and layout)
  • Meridian Studios (sound re-recording)
  • Pacific Title (titles and opticals)
  • Prep Shoot Post (post-production accounting)
  • TAJ Soundworks (foley)


"The Kid" is a performer and shares "Glam Slam" club ownership with "Morris Day". Morris also owns his own club, "Pandemonium" and two other clubs in the "Seven Corners" area. Both were bequeathed half of the club in a will, but have different views on marketing strategies for each of their halves. Morris envision a club as a profiting asset, with a commercial strategy (mainstream music, dancers), while "The Kid" club concept is a spiritual journey, a forum to present music that uplift the soul.

Because "The Kid"’s music doesn’t attract a lot of public, and in consequence, puts "Glam Slam" club finances in disarray, "Morris Day" wants to put "The Kid" out of business. To save his assets, "The Kid" will have to pay "Morris Day" $10,000 in order to pay off the mayor; a condition to keep co-ownership of his club. Losing clients, "The Kid" soon challenges "Morris Day" to a music battle for the ownership of "Glam Slam".

"The Kid"’s faith in his music is restored by "Aura" (Ingrid Chavez), who materializes out of nowhere and is first seen sitting on a graffiti-painted bridge. "Aura", who describes herself as belonging to "him above", serves as guardian angel to "The Kid", appearing every time "The Kid" is on the verge of losing "Glam Slam". Her mission is to encourage "The Kid" to pursue his spiritual journey, and fight for his ownership of the club.

In an attempt to help "The Kid", "Aura" tries to seduce "Morris Day" and change his heart. Soon after, she dies in a car accident. The incident redeems the "Seven Corners" community. While "The Kid" leads the mourners in lamentations, "Morris Day"’s stooges join the song, and "Day" himself finally relents, hugging "The Kid" and letting him keep ownership of "Glam Slam".

Making of

Shooting began in Minneapolis on 15 February 1990. Even when the end credits list Paisley Park Studios as the filming location, only the exterior scenes (the Graffiti Bridge, Seven Corners etc.) were shot there. The indoor scenes were initially done at the Wyman building at 400 First Ave. N. Minneapolis (with also some outside shots filmed in the alley behind it) and later sets were built in a warehouse in New Hope, MN (at 7169 31st Ave. N). The film was to be choreographed by Paula Abdul, but this could not be done due to scheduling conflicts. Principal shooting of the film in Minnesota was completed on 23 March 1990.

The first version of "Graffiti Bridge" film was delivered to Warner Bros. on 19 April 1990.

Warner Bros. Pictures organized test screenings to audiences in Pasadena, CA, USA, at the theater that had earned the highest gross in the US for the Purple Rain film. As the screenings resulted disappointing, Warner Bros. Pictures decided to bring their own editor, Steve Rivkin (brother of David Rivkin and Bobby Z.) into the project.

On 30 July 1990, while on the Nude Tour, Prince flew back to the USA for additional work on the movie. He supervised four days of editing on the film as Warner Bros.’s editors had proposed two versions that were rejected. Subsequently, the initial release date for the movie scheduled on 7 August 1990 had to be postponed since the editing wasn’t completed in time.

On 14 September 1990, four days after the Japanese leg of the Nude Tour had ended, Prince resumed work on "Graffiti Bridge" in Hollywood, as a few scenes needed re-shooting. More editing and post-production work followed until 24 October 1990.

Of the musical scenes filmed, Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got, The Question Of U, Graffiti Bridge, The Latest Fashion and longer versions of We Can Funk and Joy In Repetition didn’t make the final cut.

Shooting Schedule & Locations
Additional Information

Promotion (at time of release) Trivia

  • MTV covered the premiere on a one-day delay (MTV 24 hours Street party).
  • The title "Graffiti Bridge" comes from a now torn-down bridge located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota which served artists, poets, protesters and suitors for half a century. Of note, one piece of artistry was a 10-foot-high portrait of Prince astride a motorcycle, which appeared shortly after Purple Rain movie came out. The bridge was torn down in the early 1990s to make way for new construction.
  • The motorcycle Prince rides in the film is the same customized 1981 Hondamatic HONDA CB400A that was used in Purple Rain. It was painted black and refurbished again by Tom Summers who also did the custom work on the bike for work Purple Rain.

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