“Purple Rain” is an American rock movie released originally in 1984 and was directed by Albert Magnoli. The movie showcases the acting and music of American legend Prince. With a budget of $7.2 million, the movie grossed $68 million in the United States and $80 million worldwide. It won an Oscar for “Best Original Music Score.”

Plot Summary (Spoiler Alert)

In the movie, Prince plays “The Kid,” an extremely-talented frontman for a Minneapolis band called The Revolution, which is one of three house bands at the First Avenue Club. The other two bands, Morris Day and the Time and Dez Dickerson’s The Modernaires, play a supporting role in the film.

The movie plot follows the scheming, back-stabbing and band-hopping that takes place as all three bands vie for top billing and more stage time at the club. The Kid becomes romantically involved with a singer named Apollonia who later signs up to front a band that is managed by The Kid’s rival Morris Day, who is organizing a girl group that he can manage to perform at the First Avenue Club. Morris convinces Apollonia that The Kid will never support her career and for this, The Kid feels betrayed by her relationship with Day. Other protagonist plots in the film include The Kids abusive father and his bandmates Wendy and Lisa, both of whom threaten to go on their own if The Kid does not start allowing The Revolution to play their songs. The Kid also learns that one of the bands at the club will be replaced for a new act so each band must compete to solidify their place on the First Avenue stage. The final scene of the film is The Kid announcing and performing Wendy and Lisa’s song “Purple Rain,” which he dedicates to his father.

Making of the Film

The film was written by director Albert Magnoli and William Blinn. It is loosely based on events and people in Prince’s life and Prince himself came up with the idea of the film during his “1999” tour. With the exception of The Kid and his parents, every actor plays a character named after themselves. Singer Vanity, leader of the group Vanity 6, was to play the lead female role but left the band before filming began. Apollonia Kotero was hired to replace her in the film and she went on to replace her in the band, which was renamed Apollonia 6.

Filming took place almost entirely in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis. The legendary First Avenue night club is featured predominately in the film. Owners were paid $100,000 to use the club for filming and it was closed 25 days as a result.

Legendary Music from the Film

The film has a legendary soundtrack of the same name with two number one singles: “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” The title song, “Purple Rain,” reached the number two spot on the charts and “I Would Die 4 U” landed in the number eight spot. The soundtrack sold 25 million copies worldwide. Morris Day and The Time had a spin-off album from the film titled “Ice Cream Castle” and Apollonia 6 released its self-titled debut album.

The film was a success; it grossed over $68 million dollars in the U.S. alone. On a sad note, “Purple Rain” was the last song Prince ever performed in front of an audience. He performed two shows at the Fox Theater in Atlanta on April 14, 2016 and died exactly one week later on April 21 at the age of 56.

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