One of Black America’s most coveted and contested period dramas turns 25. “The Color Purple,” a 1985 film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker, is a blockbuster chronicling the life of an African American family in the early 1900’s rural south.
The story of Celie Harris, played by Whoopi Goldberg—her first dramatic film earning her an Academy Award nomination—is a transformative, coming-to-age narrative about an abused teenage Black girl who grows to become a triumphant subject of the cultural strength and resilience of Black women.
The Steven Spielberg film—whose stirring score was directed by Quincy Jones—didn’t go without its share of controversy. “The Color Purple” was arguably the “Waiting to Exhale” or “For Colored Girls” of the 1980s, disputed over its alleged negative depiction of Black men—most notably the representation of Celie’s husband, Albert Johnson or Mister, played by Danny Glover. The Coalition Against Black Exploitation also publicly protested the film largely because a White man directed it, stereotyped Black people, and supposedly moved too far away from the original plot in the book.
But today, “The Color Purple” is the go-to film beloved across generations for making you cry and laugh in one single scene.
As we celebrate an astounding 25 years of “The Color Purple,” the film, let’s look back on our favorite scenes.
Is your favorite “The Color Purple” moment when Celie and Nettie played hand games in the grass, or is it the jook joint scene with Shug Avery? Or what about the closing table scene right before Celie tells Mister, “Till you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail!” And we can’t forget about the memorable series of Sophia quotes!
Check out the original trailer and some additional clips courtesy of YouTube!