Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

The Color Purple

By Randy White, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Powerful tale of survival with wrenching scenes of abuse.

Movie PG-13 1985 152 minutes
The Color Purple Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 17+
The movie portrays characters enduring traumatic experiences which are challenging and disturbing but which we can’t deny are still a reality in our society. Could spur meaningful discussion with teens and young adults.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
age 14+

Good for teens but not for anyone who isn't in highschool yet

It's a great movie for highschoolers but there's some very touchy subject matter that drives the plot and there's some very serious things that are explored in the movie from pedophilia, incest, selling children, abuse including sexual, verbal and physical abuses, and also some very mild LGBTQ stuff between Celia and Shug which may be a deal breaker for people who don't want their teenager to see to ladies kiss. Over all it's a wonderful if sad movie. And by wonderful I mean that it shows you can come from the most tragic of backgrounds and have the odds stacked against your favor and still manage to find peace at the end of all the heartache. It's beautifully sad.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (7 ):

This movie isn't for the weak of heart; it deals with real, traumatic issues, including child abuse, sexual abuse, racism, and sexism. But for teens who can weather the subject matter, the story of a woman's journey from abuse to independence is inspiring. There's a great deal to admire in this sweeping epic, starting with the simple fact that complex African-American characters like those presented here are rarely seen in American movies. Goldberg, nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, shines as the abused Celie, as does Glover as her brutish husband. Oprah Winfrey made a memorable impression as the strong-willed Sofia even before she was a household name.

The Color Purple brings out radically different responses in viewers. Those who like sentimental material tend to be extremely moved by the story. But other viewers find the movie overly grandiose, with scene after scene designed to be gut wrenching. Part of the problem lies in the transfer from the page to the screen. The filmmakers never quite solve the problem of adapting such dense literary material, moving from high point to high point in an attempt to cover the full sweep of the novel. Internal thoughts are delivered as stilted voice-overs, a poor device filmmakers resort when they see no other way to work a character's personal psychology into a movie.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate