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Purple Rain

Purple Rain movie poster

Movie details

Premiere: 26 July, 1984: Mann’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, CA
Released: 27 July, 1984 (USA, UK)
2 August, 1984 (Australia)
31 August, 1984 (Ireland)
6 September, 1984 (The Netherlands)
21 September, 1984 (Norway)
21 September, 1984 (Sweden)
2 November, 1984 (Finland)
19 January, 1985 (Italy)
9 February, 1985 (Japan)
13 February, 1985 (France)
14 February, 1985 (Argentina)
22 February, 1985 (West Germany)
14 March, 1985 (Hong Kong)
30 March, 1985 (Philippines)
2 May, 1985 (Portugal)
Director: Albert Magnoli
Writers: William Blinn
Albert Magnoli
Producers: Robert Cavallo
Steven Fargnoli
Joseph Ruffalo
Productions Companies: Warner Bros.
Purple Films
Music by: Michel Colombier
John L. Nelson
Genre(s): Music Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 111 minutes
Technical Specification(s): Country: USA
Language: English
Sound Mix: Dolby
Color: Technicolor
Aspect Ratio:1.85 : 1

Warner Bros. (1984)

Box Office, Nominations & Awards

Box office

  • Opening Weekend (29 Jul. 1984)
USA: $7,766,201 (917 Screens)
  • Gross:
USA: $68,392,977
Sweden: SEK 2,121,738


  • Golden Globes, USA 1985
Best Original Song - Motion Picture for When Doves Cry
  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA 1985
Best Music for Michel Colombier
  • Razzie Awards 1985
Worst Original Song for Sex Shooter
Worst New Star for Patricia Kotero


  • Academy Awards, USA 1985
Best Music, Original Song Score for Purple Rain
  • Brit Awards 1985
Best Soundtrack for Purple Rain album
  • Grammy Awards 1985
Best Album of Instrumental Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special for Purple Rain album
  • Image Awards 1984
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for Prince
  • World Soundtrack Awards 2004
Special Award to Prince and The Revolution in honor of the 20th anniversary of the movie Purple Rain.

See also

Purple Rain
Purple Rain
(home video)

Purple Rain is a 1984 American rock musical drama film directed by Albert Magnoli and written by Magnoli and William Blinn, in which Prince makes his film debut.

Filmed on locations in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, the film features many Minnesota landmarks, including the Crystal Court of the IDS Center and the legendary First Avenue nightclub.

Many aspects of Prince’s personal life were mirrored by the role of "The Kid" and, except for Prince, all the musicians in the film go by their real name, leading many to view Purple Rain as an autobiographical account of his own life.

The film was a phenomenal success, becoming the 10th biggest film of 1984 and grossing almost 70 million dollar at the box office. The press gave mostly favorable reviews sometimes billing it "the finest rock movie ever made". It earned Prince an Academy Award for Best original Score.

First Steps

During the 1999 Tour, Prince gathered ideas for a semi-autobiographical film script and discussed the project with manager Steve Fargnoli. After Warner Bros.' film division expressed a slight interest in the film, and Warner Bros Record chairman Mo' Ostin allowed it a substantial budget to start the production, Prince’s managers approached William Blinn to write a viable screenplay. In May 1983, Blinn relocated to Minneapolis with the intention of developing more ideas for the screenplay, but collaborating with Prince appeared difficult and Blinn returned to Los Angeles where he resumed work for a script now called "Dreams".

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Prince, The Revolution, The Time and Vanity 6 began preparations for the film project. A warehouse in St. Louis Park was rented for band rehearsals and dancing and acting classes. Actor and Director Don Amendolia was recruited by Blinn to conduct improvisational exercises and theater games. Dance workouts were conducted by John Command at the Minnesota Dance Theater in a downtown dance studio, two block away from the First Avenue. Alan Leeds, then Prince’s road manager, was hired on a full time basis to organize activities in the warehouse and coordinate some of Prince’s business affairs.

After finishing a first script, William Blinn was informed that the television series "Fame", on which he was working as executive producer, was renewed for another season. A new director wasn’t found until September 1983, when James Foley, who was approached for the film but was unavailable, suggested his editor, Albert Magnoli, whom had won a student academy award for his short film: "Jazz". After rejecting the project on account of deeming the script "very introverted and claustrophobic". Magnoli reverted his decision after meeting with Prince’s management and the promise that he would be allowed to direct his own version of the film.

In the meantime, Vanity had decided to leave the film project and Vanity 6 band. Her role was offered to Jennifer Beals who declined it. Auditions were subsequently organized in Los Angeles in September 1983 in order to cast a replacement actress for the female lead role in the film. From the several hundred women auditioning, Patricia Kotero, a 22 years old model, was chosen. Soon after, she was renamed Apollonia after a character in "The Godfather" film. Subsequently Vanity 6 became Apollonia 6.

Pre-production for Purple Rain began on 15 September, 1983 in Minneapolis. Magnoli spent several weeks in the city to meet with the movie financiers and revised the "Dreams" script entirely to develop a new screenplay. Shooting started on 1 November, 1983 in Minneapolis.

Cast & Crew
Main Crew
  • Alan Leeds - Coordinator
  • David Graham - Casting
  • Donald E. Thorin - Cinematography
  • Albert Magnoli - Film Editing
  • Ken Robinson - Film Editing
  • Anne D. McCulley - Set Decoration
  • Marie France - Costume Design
  • Earl Jones - Hair Stylist
  • Jim Harrison - Supervising Music Editor
  • Susan Rogers - Sound Technician
  • Leroy Bennett - Special Lighting: Musical Numbers
  • Jack Sander - Transportation Coordinator
  • Charles Huntsberry - security officer (as 'Big Chick' Huntsberry)
Other Crew

Company Credits
  • Hughes Moss Casting (casting: New York)
  • Plaza 3 (casting: Minneapolis)
  • Complex, The (music recorded at)
  • Sunset Sound Studios (music recorded at)
  • Glen Glenn Sound Company (re-recording facilities)
  • Warner Bros. Records (soundtrack)
  • Louis and Vaughn (clothes)
  • Moultrie Accountancy Corp. (production accounting)
  • Ray Mercer & Company (titles and opticals)
  • Bon Bon (payroll services)


"The Kid" (Prince) is a troubled Minneapolis musician. He and his band, The Revolution are one of three acts playing at a local nightclub, the First Avenue. The other acts are The Time, a funk band, lead by Morris Day and The Modernaires, a new wave band, lead by Dez Dickerson.

Aspiring singer Apollonia, comes to town to try her luck hoping to get hired as singer at the First Avenue. Both "The Kid" and Morris Day are attracted to her and vie for her attention. While a romance starts to develop between "The Kid" and Apollonia, she accepts a position in Morris Day’s new all female group, Apollonia 6, to the obvious dismay of "The Kid".

Having recruited Apollonia, Morris Day convinces nightclub owner Billy Sparks, to give a slot to his new protege band. They make a deal to evict The Revolution from the nightly program if the girl group is commercial and appealing enough.

Meanwhile, tensions appear in The Revolution due to growing frustration of guitarist Wendy and keyboardist Lisa about "The Kid" rejecting their compositions. The dispute revolves around an instrumental demo, dubbed "Slow Groove", which they pass on Jill, a waitress at First Avenue who has a crush on "The Kid", in hope that he will listen if that comes through her.

One night when "The Kid" comes home, he finds out his mother had been beaten again and confronts his father. After his father warns him to never get married "The Kid" gets back to the club to face more internal band strife and pressure. After an edgy performance of "Computer Blue", Billy Sparks warns him that his slot at the club is in jeopardy, and that he might lose it if he follows the same unsuccessful path that ruined his father’s career as a musician.

The night after, Apollonia 6 successfully opens at The Taste, another nightclub in town. While Morris Day and Apollonia, celebrate their success in a side street, "The Kid" hits Morris with his motorcycle and takes away Apollonia. Subsequently she breaks up with him when he fails to refrain from being violent.

When "The Kid" returns home, the situation has escalated to a dramatic level. His father shoots himself in the head. After a night of torment and despair, "The Kid" wakes up in a new spirit and decides to give the instrumental "Slow Groove" by the girls in his band another try.

The following night at the club "The Kid" announces the band will play a new song by Wendy & Lisa and perform Purple Rain while audience almost religiously listen. As the Kid exits the stage, convinced that he blew the gig, he realizes the crowd is cheering and calling him back for an encore. On his way back to the stage, Apollonia waits for him in tears.

The film ends with a series of scenes interspersed with the concert performance showing how the story happily ends. Now at peace, "The Kid" sort out the destroyed home basement, helped by Apollonia and visits his father at the hospital.

Making of

Shooting started on 1 November, 1983 with a week (from 1 to 5 Nov.) of exterior scenes shots in and around Minneapolis, Henderson, Eagan, Cedar Lake and Coon Rapids. Amongst other was shot the infamous scene (#29) with Apollonia jumping in the water on 2 November, 1983 near Henderson. Of note the initial script had Apollonia picked up by a trucker, instead of "The Kid" coming back to pick her up after he had rode away.

Second week (from 7 to 12 Nov.) was dedicated to a few motorcycle takes with Prince and a stuntdouble, as well as scenes in Minneapolis and around the 1st Avenue club, including the infamous scene (#25) when Jerome puts 'Beautiful Babe' in a dumpster. The scene at Mall of America when "The Kid" and Apollonia meet and engage conversation (#27) was also shot.

Third week (from 14 to 19 Nov.) mostly focused on exterior scenes with Morris, Jerome, Prince & Apollonia, except for the two days dedicated to the rehearsal warehouse where The Time and the Girls group rehearse, including a deleted scene of "The Kid" riding to the warehouse, entering and fighting with The Time members. 2 days were allocated to exteriors outside of "The Kid"’s house, on Snelling Avenue, while the last day of the week (day #17) was dedicated to the fight between "The Kid" and Apollonia near the embankment (#97 & 98).

'’section under construction

Shooting Schedule & Locations
Additional Information

Promotion (at time of release) Trivia

  • On Friday 27 July, 1984, MTV broadcast a two-hour-long special about the movie premiere, including reports from red-carpet and afterparty.
  • First Avenue was paid a $100,000 location and rental fee for use of the club in filming; it was closed for 25 days from “Friday, November 26th to Tuesday, December 20th, 1983.
  • The Huntington Hotel which Apollonia stayed in is located at 752 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014.
  • The motorcycle Prince rides in the film is a customized 1981 Hondamatic HONDA CB400A. Work was done by Tom Summers who was recruited again to paint the bikes black for Graffiti Bridge film.
  • In some countries, the movie was renamed in local language: Bíboreső (Hungary), Lluvia Púrpura (Mexico), Viva a Música (Portugal)
  • Of note this film was the only feature film starring Prince that he did not direct.

See Films & videos
Movies Television Films And Specials 1985
Under The Cherry Moon