Release Date: (Original) July 27, 1984 (Re-release) April 23, 2016 to April 27, 2016
1 hour 51 minutes
Director: Albert Magnoli
Writers: Albert Magnoli, William Blinn
Prince (A.K.A. Prince Rogers Nelson) as The Kid
Apollonia Kotero as Apollonia
Morris Day as Morris
Olga Karlatos as Mother
Clarence Williams III as Father
Jerome Benton as Jerome
Billy Sparks as Billy
Jill Jones as Jill
Charles Huntsberry as Chick
Dez Dickerson as Dez
Brenda Bennett as Brenda
Susan Moonsie as Susan
Sandra Claire Gershman as Beautiful Babe
Kim Upsher as Kim
Alan Leeds as Stage Hand
Review by Dante Hicks
A young man with a talent for music has begun a career with much promise. He meets an aspiring singer, Apollonia, and finds that talent alone isn't all that he needs. A complicated tale of his repeating his father's self destructive behavior, losing Apollonia to another singer (Morris Day), and his coming to grips with his own connection to other people ensues.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called Life." The opening line to "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince and the film starring him "Purple Rain". First and foremost, This is a badly acted film with a somewhat decent story but it's true strength is the energy it conveys through it's music. From the opening scene to the end the music is the real star of the show. One thing to keep in mind, when musicians are put in films to act, you get pretty bad performances.
Now don't get me wrong, Prince was a talented and creative singer and songwriter. But as an actor not so much. He portrays "The Kid", the character comes off as a feminine male and a mischievous playful child. What with the pranks he plays on Apollonia, "To be initiated you have to purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka." Then you have "The Kid"'s rival for Apollonia's affections, Morris. Morris is depicted as a ruthless player that literally treats women like garbage. It's a very nostalgic film that showcases the 1980's Minneapolis in all it's glory. You also have "Apollonia", an aspiring singer who is smitten with "The Kid". Warning for any parents that want to show this to their kids, there is a sex scene and multiple scenes where Apollonia is either topless or various states of undress. With her being a former Miss San Pedro, it's visually pretty eye candy for admirers of the female form.
I personally saw this many years ago, and rewatched it recently due to AMC Theaters re-releasing "Purple Rain" in theaters from April 23rd, 2016 to Wednesday April 27th. For me it was a nostalgic experience and at times amusing. But having to review it left me seeing all the flaws that I never paid attention to in my past viewings. The great things that stood out to me were the music performances, the acting performance of Clarence Williams III (which being as brief as it was, was truly a amazing performance), and just seeing all those weird 1980's styles. The bad, was pretty much anytime one of the musicians tried to act. It was truly horrendous.
All in all "Purple Rain" as a whole is a musical performance film with a story that literally is inconsequential. It's fun at times, and heart breaking to watch Prince soo young after his untimely demise at 57 (Rest In Peace). If you are feeling nostalgic go to your nearest AMC and see if it's playing by you. It's worth the time to watch it on a theater screen at least.
Stars: 2.5 stars out of 5 stars