91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2000
Leonard Maltin's review missed the main point of this movie. The movie is not primarily about a young musician who "struggles to gain acceptance for his own brand of ... rock music". Instead, the movie is about a man who has acquired his not only some of his father's musical interest and talent, but also his father's emotional instability and occasional abusiveness towards others, especially women. Maltin is correct that Prince's character is sexist and unappealing, but that's crucial to the movie. By playing his character as emotionally unstable, insensitive, and occasionally cruel, Prince de-glamourizes the cool, rebellious rock star image, showing that fame and talent are neither a guaranteed road to happiness nor a good excuse for being cruel to your girlfriend. This movie, rather than being a "soppy story" wrapped around concert footage, is instead genuinely literary. The concert footage is not an excuse for a movie; some of the concert footage is integral to the story. The title song, "Purple Rain", is used very effectively in the movie as a point of conflict between Prince and two of his female bandmates.
This movie, like Quadrophenia, would make a good subject for an English literature class targeted towards aimlessly rebellious under-achievers (rather than the 4.0 GPA high school students that most English literature classes are designed for).
[This review is based on the VHS version of the movie.]
68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2004
I remember when I recently saw Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back,Jay showed his affinity towards Morris Day and the Time.Then some teenagers called Purple Rain "a crappy 80's movie".Although most of Y generation view Purple Rain like the second coming of Grease 2,Purple Rain rocked back in '84 with people actually dancing in the isles.
This movie finally brought Prince into the mainstream and showed the genius that he was.Although he'd been making records since 1978,he made his mark with such albums as Dirty Mind, Controversy,and 1999(his breakout album with his first top ten hit Little Red Corvette)but only to a limited R&B and underground market.But once Purple Rain hit,things were never the same.The movie also brought Morris Day and The Time to the mainstream which unfortunately they would soon break up to never enjoy the fruits.
The movie is pretty much about a musician called The Kid (Prince) who dreams of making it despite his troubled homelife and a rival band, The Time.The movie has it's fair share of bad acting as well as misogyny ("That ain't Lake Minnitonka")it's the musical numbers as well as Morris Day's comic timing that steals the show.The music still sounds fresh, especially the minimalist When Doves Cry which could even be released today.
Hopefully Warner brothers will release a 20th anniversary edition DVD with loads of extras as well as deleted scenes which were featured in the trailer.And with Prince's comeback in 2004 including his Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction, Grammy performance and tour,it would really be the year of Prince.
51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 1999
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Purple Rain and Prince 's (the artist) music, but this DVD was kind of disappointing. The video quality of the transfer looks pretty good for its age, but why isn't there a widescreen version? The production notes that Warner puts on their DVDs are annoying and glare off the TV. Oh, and a trailer. I know this isn't a special edition, but there was so much stuff that could have been used. I guess you get what you pay for though. The movie gets 5 stars, but the DVD gets a 2/5.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Features on this two-disc set include:
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
English DD5.1 Surround
French DD1.0 Mono
English, French and Spanish subtitles
Audio Commentary with Director Albert Magnoli, Producer Robert Cavallo and Cinematographer Donald E. Thorin
All-new documentary on the Minneapolis music scene, the importance of the First Avenue club and Prince?s career prior to Purple Rain
All-new documentary on the making of the movie and the Academy Award winning music
All-new documentary on the impact of the movie and music on Pop Culture, the response from Prince?s fans and the enduring legacy of Purple Rain
Let's go Crazy - Prince
take me with u - Prince
When Doves Cry - Prince
I Would Die 4 U/Baby I'm a Star - Prince
Purple Rain - Prince
Jungle Love - The Time
The Bird - The Time
Sex Shooter - Apollonia 6
TV Special : The 1984 MTV Premiere Party
Theatrical Trailer : Purple Rain, Graffiti Bridge and Under the Cherry Moon
This is a vast improvement on the bare bones FULLSCREEN version of PURPLE RAIN out there. Go ahead and trade those in! This looks like the real deal. Prince has never been more electric, and the film is pretty good. The music is what makes it! And it's a great piece of 80s nostalgia to boot. I'm putting on my purple raincoat, my hoop earring, and sitting down to watch a simpler time when all we had to worry about was if Wendy and Lisa were happy being in the Revolution! If you own one Prince movie ... this one's it!
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2001
Okay, okay, okay-- only 3 stars for one of the greatest rock movies ever made... but it received very poor DVD treatment. This was one of the highest grossing theatrical releases of 1984. It took everyone by surprise that summer, and made Warner Bros. a LOT of money. So are there any music videos as bonus materials? NO. Are there any interview clips, new or old? NO. Is there any commentary from director or screenwriter? NO. IS THE MOVIE PRESENTED IN WIDESCREEN FORMAT?? Inexplicably, NO!! This was an OSCAR winning film (Best Song Score). Yes, it is relatively inexpensive, but c'mon-- it could have at least been letter boxed!! The only features are some production notes and a trailer. I wouldn't recommend purchasing this, especially if you already own the VHS version. The movie? For what it is, 5 stars. The DVD? 1 star. I split the difference. Hopefully Warner Bros. will wise up and release all four of Prince's films in a deluxe box set.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 1999
The script is full of non sequiturs, melodrama, and makeup with streaks of ghastly color that could only come from the 80s. Other than the two actors playing Prince's parents, Apollonia Kotero is the only castmember with acting experience, and only from a toothpaste commercial at that! If you've ever wondered what drummer Bobby Z's speaking voice is like, here's your big chance! Oddly, the best looking member of Prince's band, Brown Mark, is the only one without lines (though he purses his lips with the technique of a DeNiro). The sound is great and the print in good shape. The DVD extras (movie trailer, production notes) are okay but not significant enough on their own to purchase it. The moment Morris Day wickedly asks the depressed Prince "How's the family?" is enough to justify the purchase. Get it as a time capsule, wonder why most questions in the dialogue aren't acknowledged by the character being asked. Ponder why large plastic buttons over the front trouser flap never took off as a fashion. Prepare to explain to your children why hair back then was so tall and thick, and don't just blame it on Minnesota. Feel shame at the time in your life or your friend's life when harlequin/clown masks and dolls seemed oh-so-poignant lingering on display in candle-fortified rooms. Get your bag of Doritos and enjoy a time when popular music held the imagination of both the selective and the hoi polloi at the same time. The best special effect of the movie? Apollonia putting on her skin-tight leather outfit seconds after jumping into a lake. This was before CGI! Marvel at the time when Prince aspired to mean something more than solid music, and actually did.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
There is no argument. Prince, in 1984, with the "Purple Rain" juggernaut mowing down records at the box office, the record charts and the concert halls, was awesome. Watching the film again, a film I had memorized in my youth, renewed my appreciation for his prodigious talent.
And what balls this guy had! Barely into his twenties, with one moderately successful album (the double "1999") behind him, he ventured into the film world.
He's in nearly every frame. His name's above the title. It is autobiographical in tone. It's essentially a musical, with each song propelling the plot and supplying storytelling information. It was a rock musical, to make matters worse, as they were (and still are) not known for being huge money-makers.
Yet from the opening frames to the climactic ending, you are absolutely hooked. One hundred percent.
If you are not, then you MUST have something against him, or against rock in general, or in musicals...
Seriously, the incendiary "Let's Go Crazy" with his Hendrixian squeals and pogo beat, is as good as any filmed musical performance ever.
Somebody argue with me, I dare you.
The editing, the cinematography, the energy, the precision...it's the closest a film has come to reproducing a true live experience. And Prince owns every inch of celluloid here. His personality radiates right off the screen.
Each song advances the story so well, the dialogue is kept minimal.
Many critics point out some hackneyed lines and stilted performances, faulting the entire movie because of them.
They're partially correct. There are a few lines that STILL make me wince, even when I know they're coming. Many of the supporting actors/musicians sound like they're reading out of a phone book.
Not Prince though. Not once. He feels authentic. Even the logistically stupid things he does (mostly with a motorcycle) or the stylistically questionable things (mostly his wardrobe) somehow manage to work with him. And him only.
Apollonia is a vision, but she shouldn't sing.
Morris Day is a hoot on stage, but some of his off-stage antics don't work.
I will say that Jerome is perfect. I just love his presence.
There is a hint of misogyny on the part of many men in the film, but I think that's part of the plot. I think Prince's redemption at the end of the film includes a new respect towards women. Using Wendy and Lisas song for "Purple Rain", singing "I'll never beat you" in the song "I Would DIe 4 U" to Apollonia, kissing Wendy on the cheek during "Rain" all indicate a change of heart.
Anyways, that ALL pales next to the concert footage. While he's chastising Apollonia from the stage using songs like "The Beautiful Ones" or the infamous "Darling Nikki", or exorcising demons in "Purple Rain", he is a master artist. Captured on film. I don't think I've ever seen the joy of performing emanate so clearly from an individual in a film. The performance is a kinetic drug working on Prince, and we watch the side effects.
I can't believe he wrote "When Doves Cry" overnight, on command. I can't believe they shot all the concert footage in ten days. Total. I can't believe this raw talent that we fortunately captured on film. He'll never be like this again.
The (literally) climactic encore of "I Would Die 4 U" and "Baby I'm a Star" (referring to the guitar neck bit at the end) is Prince proudly announcing to the world he has arrived. Who else, in the title and chorus of the last song, could state...could proclaim that he is a star, and we in the audience can do nothing but nod in agreement.
Now, the DVD itself, this new 20th anniversary version, is a revelation. Over the years, I bought the record, then saw the movie, then went to the concert.
Then I bought the VHS tape.
Then I bought the CD.
Then I bought the laserdisc.
Then I bought the DVD.
Now, I got this sucker, and this one rules them all. The picture, finally letterboxed, is gorgeous. Crisp, colorful and detailed. The sonics are pristine.
The extras are pretty terrific too. The mini-docs on the First Avenue club, and on the making of the film itself, are interesting enough. The puff piece on the "influence" of Purple Rain is OK, but they don't go really into any serious detail.
The biggest laugh is the footage from MTV's Premiere coverage. Pee-Wee Herman, Eddie Murphy, Sheila E., Weird Al, John Cougar Mellencamp (the best speaker of the bunch, by far), an odd appearance by Little Richard, the painful fashions, the worst hosting and interviewing you'll EVER see...
...oh I couldn't stop laughing.
Add on those precious, uncut videos (and a running commentary a little too slow for my taste) and you have a five-star DVD. No question.
Catch a glimpse of a star hitting supernova. It's right here. And it's awesome.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
Being from Minneapolis, I have a special local pride for the Purple One. (My brother played sports with his brother and said when Prince was young his name was Skipper!! And that he was very weird; hmmmm...can't imagine that...)
The montages and musical numbers in this are a trashy, sleazy, 80s joy from start to finish. Prince was at his peak here; he looks great, dances like a demon on meth, and of course, The Time bring much fun to the show as well. Morris Day is a natural comedian.
The audience shots with all of the horrible 80s makeup are hysterical. And Wendy (or is it Lisa?) has a swept-over hairdo that would impress the Flock of Seagulls. A lotta eyeliner and AquaNet went into making this movie.
I also had the joy of seeing it again recently with a fairly drunk theater audience at a Prince Tribute Singalong- and this movie was meant to be rocked to. Prince is so insanely talented and joyful and the hooks just keep coming. I've seen him live and he can play any instrument and wail on it- he did a duet with Carlos Santana and completely held his own. And he didn't just walk over to the instruments- he twirls, kicks, splits and shimmies over to them. A consummate performer and this is Prince in top form.
And whoever got to design his outfits must've had a blast. The boots that go halfway up his tiny body, the accessories all over the place- buckles, chains, etc... He also looked very much like an Eighties Little Richard here, and it suited him well.
Sure, the sexism in the film is less than enlightened, but Wendy & Lisa & Appolonia counterbalance lowlights like Morris having a woman tossed into a dumpster.
This reminds me that, sure, there was a lotta crap in the 80s, but there was a hell of a lot of fun to be had as well. Prince is the most enjoyable performer you'll ever see.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This has always been my favorite movie. Back when the only access I had to this film was via a Music Video show, "When Doves Cry" became my favorite song, and "Let's Go Crazy" was a close second. I watched every Prince video, and eventually had access to Satellite by babysitting. I saw Purple Rain several times on satellite, later bought the vhs tape, and I purchase better versions as they are released. This movie inspired me throughout life. Ironically, I accomplished most of my dreams and desires without becoming famous, but the movie is inspirational for numerous reasons.
I loved the androgyny of the '80s, the glam, and the wild lifestyles. Prince was and is a master of music, performance, and I dig his acting as well. I also recommend Under the Cherry Moon, and his other movies, recorded performances, etc. However, for me, Purple Rain is "it." This movie was the crux and focal point of my life, for a long time. I lived a unique life, inspired by this film, and lived out many dreams. To me, this movie is about doing whatever it takes to get where you want to be, without losing your Self in the process.
Prince is an amazing musician. I own most of what he has created on CD, and I never tire of his music. I rarely watch movies more than once or twice, because of my recall. However I do not know how many times I have seen Purple Rain.
I believe that many people who are Driven, and want to achieve will appreciate this movie. Those who did not live it might want to visit the era. Our "future" became boring, and all the Individuals became automatons. Shake it up. "...Go Crazy...."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: HD DVDVerified Purchase
This is just an HD-DVD review so I'll make this as simple as I can.
The movie? A classic. "The Kid" and his struggles to be a musical star, dealing with his family problems at home, and attempting to court Appelonia. What really made this movie such a classic wasn't really the backstory, it was the musical performances. "Jungle Love" by Morris Day and the Time, still a classic on radio to this day. Prince's performances, most notably and memorably, "Purple Rain" which was performed with such heart that you can feel the emotion behind the song.
So how does it translate to HD-DVD? Well, it does look better than the regular DVD version, but it's definitely not the optimal quality that it could have been. The "it's an old movie" excuse doesn't fly, because Casablanca was done in superb fashion. So it's absolutely not "The Look of Perfect".
That said, the audio is top notch. Surround is in full form and you can hear everything very well - a must for a movie that is centered around musical performances. Clearly the Sound of Perfect.
In my opinion, getting this movie for $20 is a great deal. But don't expect a King Kong experience.