The Color Purple

The Color PurpleBBBB.5

(out of 5)

 makes a beautiful film acting debut as a mistreated woman in Georgia in the early teens and twenties, whose own sad story is surrounded by the misfortunes of close friends around her.  Steven Spielberg directs everyone to one extreme or another throughout–you’re either a big villain or the most noble person in the world, while Allen Daviau’s cinematography is ripely colourful to the point of almost being twee.  These contrivances deprive the film of complex humanity (or enough complexity to justify its long running time), but the actors’ compassion and some extremely touching moments make it not only worthwhile but very memorable. Those wanting to see a film richly steeped in the experience of African-American history and mythology, however, should go with Beloved instead.

Amblin Entertainment, The Guber-Peters Company, Warner Bros.

USA, 1985

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by , , , Steven Spielberg

Music by Quincy Jones

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Whoopi Goldberg as “Celie”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Margaret Avery as “Shug Avery”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Oprah Winfrey as “Sofia”)
Best Art Direction (art direction: J. Michael Riva, Robert W. Welch; set decoration: Linda DeScenna)
Best Cinematography (Allen Daviau)
Best Costume Design (Aggie Guerard Rodgers)
Best Makeup (Ken Chase)
Best Music (Original Score) (Quincy Jones, Jeremy Lubbock, Rod Temperton, Caiphus Semenya, Andrae Crouch, Chris Boardman, Jorge Calandrelli, Joel Rosenbaum, Fred Steiner, Jack Hayes, Jerry Hey, Randy Kerber)
Best Music (Original Song) (“Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)” music by Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton; lyric by Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, Lionel Richie)
Best Picture (Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Quincy Jones, producers)
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium) (Menno Meyjes)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Whoopi Goldberg)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Oprah Winfrey)
Best Director (Steven Spielberg)
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Quincy Jones)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Actress (Whoopi Goldberg)
Best Supporting Actress (Oprah Winfrey)
New Generation Award (Whoopi Goldberg)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Film
Best Actress (Whoopi Goldberg)

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay

Directors Guild Award
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Steven Spielberg)

British Academy Award Nomination
Best Screenplay – Adapted



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