A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Personal suffering inspires art. Collaboration and sharing of artistic work inspires great works.
Positive Role Models
A man beats his wife and hits his son. A woman skips out on her taxi fare. A striving young artist tries to defend his mother against his father's violent abuse, then abuses his own girlfriend. He dedicates a song to his father, seemingly forgiving the man despite his domestic abuse. He denigrates music written by his bandmates, refusing to feature it in the band's performances in favor of his own compositions. When he learns to collaborate, he becomes a better performer and artist. The misogyny that is widespread in hip-hop music is shown to have precursors in funk, R&B, and rock and roll of the 1980s.
Violence & Scariness
A man hits his wife. The wife loyally stays by his side after an off-screen suicide attempt. Imitating his father, the Kid strikes his own girlfriend. A man tosses a woman in a garbage dumpster.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Naked breasts are shown as is clothed foreplay and suggested intercourse. A female guitarist gets on her knees and puts her face against the Kid's crotch during a performance. Song lyrics explicitly reference "masturbation" and "grinding." A woman's nude back is seen briefly in long shot as she sits astride a man.
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"F--k," "s--t," "hell," "damn," "faggot," "bitch," "ass," "stupid," and "shut up."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The setting is the '80s club scene, where patrons smoke and drink alcohol. Morris and Apollonia drink from a flask and stumble drunkenly in the street.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Purple Rain is a 1984 semiautobiographical semi-concert film that now serves as a time capsule tribute to the late pop star Prince. The era is one of costumed excess -- big shoulders, big hair, and androgynous men in eye makeup, tight pants, and high heels -- and unabashed sexual references. Female guitarists wear lace garters on stage. Prince performs sweaty and shirtless. On-stage dances include sexually suggestive moves and an instance of simulated oral sex. Naked breasts are shown, and a couple engages in clothed foreplay with suggested intercourse. The back story features the cycle of domestic violence and its effects on the next generation. A violent and depressed character attempts suicide offscreen. Expect to hear "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "faggot," and "ass." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film serves as an enduring record of Prince's talent and charisma, but only devoted fans will tolerate the disjointed, clichéd narrative and inept acting that surround his performances. PURPLE RAIN can also be taken as a record of 1980s boom-time self-indulgence, narcissism, male peacockery, and female self-exploitation. With his coiffed tendrils, puffy shirt, lace gloves, eyeliner, and Revolutionary War costuming, Prince often looks part Halloween pirate and part Napoleon. Still, his gifts as a musician and dancer are clear as he echoes the influences of Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly Stone, and other R&B, funk, and rock-and-roll dynamos.
At the same time, Prince's music presages the work of later artists and the trend in sexually explicit song lyrics. The words to "Darling Nikki" were some of the early examples cited in Congressional hearings that would lead to the music industry stamping parental advisory labels on albums containing profanity and sexual references. The music aside, it's Prince's photogenic face and kinetic presence that make him obsessively watchable even as the rest of the movie flails in mediocrity and incoherence. "Purple Rain" won an Academy Award for best original song score.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.