9 iconic moments every true fan of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ has permanently in their memory
32 years ago today, the musical film gods blessed the world with the greatest rock and roll film of all time: Prince’s Purple Rain. The official release date for the film is July 27th, but its glorious Princetastic Hollywood premiere was July 26th at the iconic Mann’s Chinese Theatre.
Purple Rain is based on Prince’s life and responsible for propelling the musician into a cultural icon. While all 111 minutes of the film are pure gold, there are a few that stand out more than the others. Here are my top 9 favorite moments in the film.
(Warning: major spoilers, but honestly who hasn’t seen Purple Rain at this point?)
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
The legendary phrase kicks off one of the best opening sequences in cinematic history. As Prince’s character, The Kid, plays “Let’s Go Crazy,” a montage introduces all the main characters of the film. Fun fact: the sequence was inspired by a seemingly odd source: The end of The Godfather where “the baptism of Michael Corleone’s nephew and godson is intercut with the murders of the rival dons of New York City.”
The first time Apollonia sees The Kid perform
One of Prince’s many talents is knowing how to seduce an audience and it takes his love interest in the film, Apollonia, zero seconds to fall for The Kid. How can we blame her though? We all remember our first Prince seduction. Mine can be traced back to his revealing NSFW performance at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.
“You have to purify yourself in Lake Minnetonka.”
Whether or not you’ve seen the film you’ve probably heard people reference this famous scene. During a quick outing to a nearby lake, Apollonia asks The Kid for help to break into the city’s emerging music scene. The Kid says no because she would never pass the “initiation test.” What’s the initiation test? You guessed it, purifying yourself in Lake Minnetonka. Unfortunately, for Apollonia, she purified herself in the wrong lake.
“Beautiful Ones” performance
The passionate song is loosely inspired by Prince’s ex-girlfriend Vanity, who was supposed to star in the film, but left right before shooting began. In an uncharacteristically revealing interview in late 2015, Prince also stated the song was created mainly as a plot driver. Either way, his performance is nothing but heart.
The puppet scene
Prince is known for keeping people at a distance and no other scene in the film best exemplifies this than what I like to call the puppet scene. In this scene, The Kid is confronted by his bandmate, Wendy, over a song she and another bandmate wrote. Instead of responding himself, The Kid uses a puppet that resembles him to make a childish joke. The band walks out and The Kid is left alone with the puppet and they have a heart to heart moment.
The song that prompted music’s “Parental Advisory” label is my favorite performance in the film. (the man levitates for god’s sake) Tipper Gore (the wife of Al Gore) created the warning after she bought the “Purple Rain” album for her 11-year-old daughter and was mortified by Darling Nikki’s explicit lyrics. Gore might not have appreciated Darling Nikki, but I sure did. ?
The Kid finding his dad’s sheet music
One of the only moments in Prince’s career where we see him cry. After his dad’s suicide attempt, The Kid breaks down and destroys the basement in anger and despair. During his breakdown, he finds sheet music his dad claimed never existed and decides he is not going to turn into his father. Because of a low budget, they had to do this scene in one take. Those on set that day say that was one of the few instances they ever saw Prince reveal emotional pain.
The Kid giving Wendy a kiss on the cheek during ‘Purple Rain’
Probably my favorite moment in the film. During the climatic performance of “Purple Rain,” The Kid walks over and surprises Wendy with a kiss on the cheek. This moment happened in real life when the band first performed Purple Rain at First Avenue so Prince decided to reenact it for the film. Wendy was surprised both times.
Baby, I’m a Star
The last song of the film where Prince looks straight into the camera to let us know he is, in fact, a star. He was right. And boy how we miss our Purple star.