35 Unforgettable Moments From ‘Purple Rain’
Prince was already a star before the Purple Rain film and album debuted in the summer of 1984, but its success of catapulted him to superstar status. Full of unforgettable, career-defining performances and songs, Purple Rain is one of the greatest soundtracks of all-time, and a shining moment in the music icon's incredible discography.
The semi-autobiographical film was a hit at the box office too, bringing $80 million world wide on a less than $10 million budget, and even won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score.
So while yes, the film is flawed and the acting is sometimes, uh, questionable— it remains a cult classic, mostly due to Prince's undeniable charisma. And of course, the music.
Below are 35 unforgettable moments from Purple Rain.
1. Prince's badass opening performance of "Let's Go Crazy"
Is there a better way to kick off a movie than with a purple-lit performance of one of the best songs ever made? There's also a quick montage of close-ups of random club-goers, just so you can fully be in the moment and understand the total scope of weird that was the '80s Minneapolis club scene. Oh, and that all is interspersed with shots of Prince licking his fingers, rubbing his goatee, staring broodingly into a mirror and putting on eyeliner. First five minutes? Killed.
2. When the Kid seduces Apollonia by staring at the back of her head
Apollonia was a goner from the moment the Kid put on his sunglasses and just like, stood there, staring at the back of her head in a crowded night club. He smirks and she smiles because she somehow feels his smirk? She turns around to have an actual conversation but he's already disappeared.
3. When Apollonia decides to "purify" herself in a freezing Minnesota lake
After a long, scenic ride on the back of the Kid's motorcycle, Apollonia gets to the point, and tells him she wants him to help put her on because "First Avenue is really famous." The Kid's response? Sure, he'll think about helping her, but only if she purifies herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka first. After a baffled moment, she smiles, does a mini-strip tease, then turns and cannonballs into the lake. Oh, Apollonia. Where are your instincts, sis? Sure, you want to be famous. But maybe you could've checked the temperature of that freezing lake before getting naked and jumping in? Or at least, confirmed it actually was Lake Minnetonka?
4. When Apollonia finds out, "That ain't Lake Minnetonka"
The Kid is smirking as he informs a shivering, sputtering Apollonia of this tidbit. Damn. The lake wasn't the only thing that was cold.
5. Every single time Morris Day laughs
Is Purple Rain really even Purple Rain without Morris Day and Morris Day's squawking laugh? No. No it is not.
6. When Morris Day and Jerome can't figure out the password
What's the password? It's what? It's it? Who knows? Morris and Jerome Benton certainly don't. But their confused, goofy clip made for one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.
7. When Morris tells Apollonia about his brass waterbed
Morris lays it on thick on his sorta-date with Apollonia. He can help make her famous. He also really wishes she could see his home because it's "so exciting." And why is it "so exciting" exactly? Because of his brass waterbed, of course!
8. When the Kid demands to know who Apollonia wants
The Kid is perturbed to see Apollonia on a date with Morris and so he does what what any tortured musician in his shoes would do—demands that she choose between the two of them in a song. His rendition of "The Beautiful Ones" is incredibly sexy and emotional. So much so, Apollonia cries and waits for him alone in a dark alley after the show.
9. When the Kid plays a clip of his mom crying right before sexy time
The Kid decides the best way to get things started with Apollonia after he brings her home is to light some candles and play a tape of his mom crying backward. It's super creepy. It also works.
10. When the Kid's monkey puppet gives him sound life advice
"You don't need those girls or their stupid music," the Kid's monkey puppet tells him in one bizarre yet somehow emotionally-gripping scene. Who knew that in addition to his other worldly musical talents and motorcycle-riding skills, Prince was a ventriloquist? The Kid is having a flash of guilt for constantly blowing off Wendy and Lisa's requests for him to listen to some of the groovy music they've been working on, and he uses his monkey puppet to mull it all over. The clip ends with some profound puppet insight: "Life's a bitch."
11. When Morris wants some perfection!
Morris is bored with the lackluster talents of his girl group. Why can't they dance properly? Why don't they know how valuable his time is? In addition to "some asses wiggling," he also wants "some perfection!" Another classic Morris Day moment.
12. When Prince dry-humps the stage during "Darling Nikki"
The Kid is pissed that Apollonia has decided to work with Morris Day and proceeds to show her exactly how upset he is by grinding all over the stage during a raunchy, yet utterly engaging performance of "Darling Nikki."
13. Prince's "Computer Blue" performance
There are few things more riveting than sweaty, shirtless Prince playing the guitar while wearing a lace mask. This is easily one of the best performance scenes in the movie.
14. When Lisa asks Wendy if the water's warm enough
"Yes, Lisa." "Shall we begin?" "Yes, Lisa."
Are they talking about sex? Music? Dasani? Who cares. It's one of the best intros to a song ever.
15. When Apollonia becomes a "Sex Shooter"
Despite displaying questionable rhythm, her performance is so hot, First Avenue's owner, Jimmy, let's the Kid know he "better kick ass tomorrow night" or he's losing his spot on the line-up.
16. When Prince says "motherfucker"
When the Kid marches through the house to confront his abusive father after finding his mom beat up again, and yells, "Answer me, motherfucker!" he means business.
17. When the Kid's father lies about writing music
Not only is he physically and emotionally abusive but the Kid's pop is also a lying liar who lies. He tells the Kid he doesn't have to write sheet music, and that's difference between his talent and his son's skills. Only he does write his music out, as we all find out later in the film.
18. The "When Doves Cry" montage
We basically take a break in the movie for a "When Doves Cry" music video, which we're not at all mad about. Prince rides around town on his motorcycle, looks very sad, recalls making love to Apollonia in a random barn with a lot of hay, thinks about his parents' jacked-up relationship and his own abusive behaviors, and stares sullenly into a lake that is probably not Minnetonka.
19. When Morris tells Jerome to get his change
While trying to impress Apollonia, Morris tells a waitress to "keep the change," only to beckon Jerome over and loudly whisper for him to get his change. Classy, Morris. Also, one of the funniest clips in the film.
20. When the Time perform "Jungle Love"
It's a testament to their genius that the Time is able to rock this style-challenged crowd at First Avenue. But rock it they do.
21. When Morris and Jerome wear sunglasses
Being visibly astounded by their own reflections in one another's sunglasses is what makes their friendship so special. Don't pretend like you didn't try this move with the homie.
22. When the Kid kisses Wendy's cheek
One of the most heartfelt moments in the movie is when the Kid offers a non-verbal apology to Wendy Melvion for basically behaving like a jerk, and kisses her cheek while performing the song she wrote with Lisa Coleman, "Purple Rain." (Prince really wrote it but it made for great cinema).
23. The Morris Day/the Kid rivalry
As it turns out, some of that energy between Morris and Prince wasn't necessarily faked for the movie.
24. When the Kid finds his dad in the house
In a movie full of accidentally funny emotional moments, this scene was actually powerful. It was a turning point for the Kid and in the movie.
25. When the Kid discovers his dad's sheet music
Turns out his dad actually does write his music down! Newly inspired, the Kid uses the info to help turn his life around and, of course, deliver a dope performance of "Purple Rain".
26. The scream at the end of "Computer Blue"
We've already discussed the relevancy of the "Computer Blue" performance to this film—understated but important. That scream though... it was tortured, sensual, rhythmic, haunting, and basically everything that embodied Prince's otherworldly allure in a five-second meltdown.
27. When Jerome literally throws a lady in a dumpster
Let's face it, Purple Rain is symbolic of '80s movies in that it's pretty rife with misogyny. One of the most unbelievable moments comes courtesy of Morris Day, Jerome, a scorned, irate woman and a trash can.
28. When Prince broods
Prince spends almost as much time brooding in this movie as he does playing music.
29. When Morris Day asks somebody for a mirror
Classic Morris Day.
30. Every time Morris Day and Jerome Benton dance
Study this clip to see where Bruno Mars acquired his uptown funk.
31. Prince finally using that white guitar
When the Kid decides to break out the white guitar, you know you're in for an epic performance. He unleashes it for the climactic "Purple Rain."
32. When Prince dances during "Baby, I'm a Star"
There are tambourines, spins and Prince loving on his butt cheeks during the "Baby I'm a Star" sequence. A recipe for awesomeness, or stardom.
33. When Apollonia catches the earring
During a montage, we see Apollonia and the Kid reconcile, brought to life when she catches the earring he'd given her earlier in the film, the one that she flung at him when they split. Hopefully, the Kid used their time apart to get some counseling.
34. When Dez Dickerson Performs "Modernaire"
Why does everyone always overlook Dez Dickerson's "Modernaire" performance? What exactly is a "modernaire" anyway? When did everyone decide that the nodding bob dance was the thing to do during the song?
35. Every single time Prince grabs the microphone
Prince is an icon. Watch any performance in this movie whenever you need a reminder of why.