1985 – Prince takes home the Best Original Score…


1985 – Prince takes home the Best Original Score prize for the film Purple Rain at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Best Original Song goes to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from the film The Woman in Red.

Purple Rain is a 1984 feature film directed by Albert Magnoli and written by Magnoli and William Blinn. Prince stars in this movie, which was developed to showcase his particular talents. The film was very successful earning nearly US$70 million at the box office.


The movie idea was apparently developed by Prince during his “Triple Threat” tour. Initially the script was to be darker and more coherent. Prince intended to cast Vanity, singer of Vanity 6, the girl band, Prince wrote and produced, but she left the group. Her role was initially offered to Jennifer Beals (who turned it down because she wanted to concentrate on college) before going to Apollonia Kotero, a virtual unknown at the time. Excluding Prince and his on-screen parents, almost every actor in the movie uses his/her actual name for his/her character.


Prince plays “The Kid”, an aspiring and talented, but troubled young Minneapolis musician with a difficult home life. He meets a singer named Apollonia, and they become involved in an untidy romance. The plot centers on Prince trying not to repeat the pattern of his abusive alcoholic father (Clarence Williams III) and keep his band, The Revolution, and his relationship with his girlfriend, together. His main antagonist is fellow musician Morris Day and his group The Time.

Filming locations

Filmed almost entirely in Minneapolis, the film features many local landmarks, including the Crystal Court of the IDS Center (also shown in segments of the opening credits to The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and the legendary First Avenue nightclub. A notable error, either geographic or taxi fare related, shows Apollonia running up (and bailing on) a $37.75 cab fare going from the Greyhound Station to the nightclub. In reality, they were just across the street from each other.


The film is tied into the album of the same name, which spawned three chart-topping singles: the opening number “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Purple Rain”, and “When Doves Cry.” The movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. Much of the movie’s cinematography, by Donald Thorin, is closer to that of 1980s music videos than a conventional film.

Directed by Albert Magnoli
Produced by Robert Calvallo
Steven Fargnoli
Joseph Ruffalo
Written by Albert Magnoli
William Blinn
Starring Prince
Morris Day
Apollonia Kotero
Clarence Williams III
Music by Prince
Michel Colombier
John L. Nelson
Cinematography Donald E. Thorin
Editing by Albert Magnoli
Ken Robinson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 27, 1984
Running time 111 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Gross revenue $68,392,977
Followed by Graffiti Bridge (1990)
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