The Color Purple

7.72 h 33 min1986X-RayPG-13
Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple is a richly-textured, powerful film set in America's rural south.
Steven Spielberg
Danny GloverAdolph CaesarMargaret Avery
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
Add to Watchlist
Add to
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Services LLC.
Write review

More details

Supporting actors
Rae Dawn ChongWhoopi GoldbergOprah WinfreyAkosua BusiaWillard Pugh
Steven SpielbergKathleen KennedyFrank MarshallQuincy Jones
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Violencealcohol usesmokingfoul languagesexual content
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.8 out of 5 stars

12425 global ratings

  1. 91% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 5% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

Matthew D'SouzaReviewed in the United States on March 31, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Everyone Wants to Be Loved"
Verified purchase
The Color Purple is hands down director Steven Spielberg's single most underrated film of all time. It is a harrowing account of four black women in the early 1900's that suffer rape, incest, racism, separation, and domestic abuse all while enduring poverty.

Spielberg does not get enough credit for tackling these intensely disturbing topics. He handles them well by directing sincere moments with close ups, intimate moments with silhouettes, long panning shots for establishing his setting, parallel edits to show juxtaposition, and deep still shots of intense emotion that linger in your heart. The Color Purple is filmed immaculately and with a tender care to be respectful to his subject matter. Spielberg uses tasteful metaphors and pans away from the most disturbing scenes, but you always know what is happening. It's very clever and always classy. I am still emotional from having just watched this brilliant movie again after having first seen it over a decade ago. The Color Purple leaves such a strong impression.

A quick mention to Quincy Jones' excellent score for The Color Purple. He creates a variety of gospel, soul, blues, and more for each scene. His compositions flavor each moment with deep emotion that perfectly adds to the tone. Jones layers the atmosphere and time period with delicate and gripping music in the air.

The main highlight I think that most audiences will note is the remarkable performances by the cast of The Color Purple. Whoopi Goldberg lays down her greatest performance as an actress ever. She's quiet and subtle, but ever so expressive. She captures the fear and loss that Celie experiences with such grace and sorrow. You can see her suffering and anguish with every shot of her sad eyes. I am still moved by her emotional acting.

The supporting cast is just as exhilarating and devastating. Oprah is incredible as the boisterous and independent Sofia who endures a truly harrowing separation. Her range as an actress really shines here. Oprah eats up the scenery in perhaps her most memorable performance. Margaret Avery is also very engaging as Shug Avery the singer. She starts out so shallow and Avery plays her exponentially sympathetic over the course of The Color Purple. You are rooting for her by the end. She displays such warmth and kindness as Avery.

Finally, Danny Glover plays the meanest, cruelest, sickest, craziest, and most unsympathetic monster of a husband with such wicked confidence. Glover's acting is truly inspired as he is never one note as the evil Albert Johnson. A lesser actor would have played Johnson as only awful all the time, whereas Glover builds up why and how Johnson's character is so heinous. He even gets a saving grace at the end that Glover plays with a quiet empathy. It's the performance of a lifetime that gets overlooked as the leading ladies of The Color Purple are all magnificent. You have to see Glover in The Color Purple as he really makes you hate his despicable Johnson character. Glover embodies his role with a vicious glee and complex feeling. He really stands out and makes you uneasy with each appearance in his scenes.

In short, The Color Purple is breathtaking. Easily one of Spielberg's absolute best films. It's an underappreciated classic that I highly suggest you revisit or experience for the first time.
65 people found this helpful
Elsie CollinsReviewed in the United States on August 11, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
The human spirit can never be broken!!!
Verified purchase
I've never seen this film before, and am just overwhelmed by how heartbreaking it is, and how the ending turns out. The acting is beyond brilliant by everyone!! I have not read the book so will not attempt to compare. I will now read the book and not have any preconceived ideas about the film.
Spielberg never disappoints. He is a master storyteller!! Oprah and Whoopi were superb, as was the rest of the cast.
I am also VERY PROUD to add that 4 of my hats were purchased in April 2022 by costume designer,
Francine Jamison Tanchuck, to be used in the new upcoming musical movie version of this film, now being filmed in Georgia. Scheduled for release in 2023. Spielberg and Oprah team up again, and new music is being written!! Grammy winner John Batiste is there helping to write and perform the music, as well as
singer, Fantasia, of ATG fame!!
I'm so excited and proud to be a very small part of this production!!!
Thank you Francine, Mr. Spielberg, and Oprah!!!
Much love,
Elsie Collins
Orsini-Medici Couture Millinery
c/o Thistle Cottage Studio
2 people found this helpful
VernonReviewed in the United States on March 13, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
From Alice Walker's story of Black-Southern survival. "TCP"
Verified purchase
This wonderful adaptation from Alice Walker's book, has become a classic in the Motion Picture Academy's galaxy of stars. Released by Warner Brothers, Produced by Steven Spielberg, Starring - Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery, Rae Dawn Chong, Oprah Winfrey, Akosua Busia, Willard Pugh, and introduced: Whoopi Goldberg as "Celie". The music was composed by the fabulous Quincy Jones. This galaxy of Hollywood's finest actors of their era will go down in history as a team of the best in their collective creation of that fabulous colour which we call PURPLE. The metaphor is apt and fitting to Alice Walker's story of Black Southern self dependency, reaction to oppression/ repression and to rise from the ashes of Americas' JIM CROW laws. As well as their own proclivity for inner conflict repression; juxtaposing the very human persistence and need for love and forgiveness. This is a must have movie: A story of emotional survival.
17 people found this helpful
TReviewed in the United States on April 13, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Does not hold up is an understatement...
Verified purchase
I read the novel and watched the movie when it first was first released and now, watching it again in 2019 after a rereading of the novel, OMG this movie is horrible: it really has little to do with the book, sadly. The score is ridiculous. The whole thing is a hot mess. Why a white man directed this no matter his passion is a mystery to me regardless of his credentials. He too was clearly moved - the novel is nothing short of brilliant, but he did us all a disservice.
9 people found this helpful
MegaReviewed in the United States on April 17, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I have enjoyed this movie for 30 years and it never gets ...
Verified purchase
An absolute classic. I have enjoyed this movie for 30 years and it never gets old. I don't care who you are and from what walk of life you come, this movie is a must see! Every time I see it now, I instantly reminisce on the countless evenings I had spent with my great grandma and my younger brother watching this movie. Packed with an all star cast (Danny Glover, Whoopie Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, a then unknown Lawrence Fishburne [in a very small role], Margaret Avery, Adolph Caesar, Rae Dawn Chong, Dana Ivey and many more, this movie covers everything from the struggles of domestic violence and racism to companionship, brother and sisterhood, forgiveness and triumph. An absolute classic!
29 people found this helpful
Sarah A. WindischReviewed in the United States on October 11, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
a classic with such wonderful acting
Verified purchase
This item was received in the time advised, and was in perfect condition (no damage, etc). I am very satisfied with the item and seller. I never saw this movie as a younger person then I guess I never had the interest, and finally I said, I have to watch this. As an adult I can understand what makes this such a great movie, but I wish I had seen it when it first came out. There are so many people in it that we all know so well now, but not back then. It will affect you, regardless of who you are, where you come from. It's a very well done movie with some tremendous acting. I highly recommend.
One person found this helpful
Anthony HindeReviewed in the United States on May 13, 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fate can take a twisted path
Verified purchase
"The Color Purple" has so many messages, moral and otherwise, that they blur together into what can only be described as wisdom. As an Australian I can't claim to know a lot about the black experience in the south, in the early 20th century. Despite that, I get a strong sense of realism from this film, in the same way we are forced to believe someone when they admit a degrading fact about themselves.
The heart of this movie is a woman named Celie. Woopie Goldberg was cast in the role and it represents her first cinematic outing. She was nominated for an Academy Award and, in my opinion, should have won it. Celie doesn't get to talk much, is subservient to many of the larger powers in her life and yet still manages to communicate depths of emotion few of us ever see in our own lives.
Our sympathies go out to Celie from the start, when we see her as a child playing in a meadow with her sister, Nettie. Hidden at first, her pregnancy is soon revealed, as the result of an incestuous rape. Celie, still a child, is soon separated from her own offspring, for the second time and then torn apart from her sister, as Celie is consigned to her new husband. Married life becomes another form of servitude, including the same chores, sexual abuse and mental anguish but without her sister's love. Nettie somehow gets shipped of to Africa, as a nanny to some missionaries. We only see enough of her life to know that it is a rich and fulfilling one, in stark contrast to Celie's.
Celie has a strange and extended family. Her husband, Albert, called only "Mister" by Celie, is a petty and deliberately cruel man. He seems to sense that there is more value in Celie than he will ever possess and thus never stints in holding his power over her. Albert's mistress, Shug Avery, is a degraded yet stylish club singer who eventually loves Celie more than Albert. He was never more than a passing convenience to Shug. Albert has a son from a previous marriage, Harpo. For some reason, the strongest character in the film, Sofia, played very convincingly by Oprah Winfrey, decides she is going to marry Harpo and does just that. In many ways, Sofia's rude awakening to the realities of her world, at the hands of the local mayor, his wife and the police, is sadder than Celie's plight. After all, Celie never had hopes or expectations to lose.
As the story progresses, Celie starts to emerge from her cocoon. Helped in part by her husband's mistress. She becomes aware of her own inner beauty and her own power. This transformation is so gradual that we almost believe nothing is changing but by the end of the film, Celie is a woman in control of her own destiny and a force for good in her community. We are not asked to believe that patience is all that is required to overcome evil. Celie has her fair share of confrontations and setbacks. Instead we learn that even the palest plant, deprived of sunlight all its life, may eventually blossom into something special. All it may need is a little encouragement.
I don't watch The Color Purple as regularly as some of the other films in my collection. It is hard going in spots. But, if you ever start feeling a little sorry for yourself, I recommend this movie. Not only will it put your troubles into proper perspective but it will also lift up your heart as few films can.
15 people found this helpful
AmazonBabyBoomerReviewed in the United States on June 1, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
My Forever Classic Movie
Verified purchase
For me, this is a classic movie. It will always give me a different insight each time I view it - move me to a different perspective - make me laugh - I'll tear up - I'll get freaking angry with men - I'll come to terms with the social and racial structures that foment the human cruelties of the time and my time. I'll reconnect with the kind of love that two love-connected sisters/women can have for one another catapulting to a time that will not ever end their love for one another. Through the Color Purple, I'll remember the deeply buried stories never expressed because to remember is a hurt that stabs the soul to a repeating death. It re-connects me to a time when it was okay to call your husband by his surname or Mister and laugh at how times have changed - really in a short time. The first time that Ceely smiles and it really is an 'ugly' smile but my heart just fills when Sug tells her how beautiful her smile really is and the self-confidence that that little lie emits to Ceely - awesome - the little things to lift the human spirit. We must do more of that - lift people. Maybe once a year it's me and the Color Purple.
One person found this helpful
See all reviews