Box art for The Color Purple

The Color Purple


A Southern Black woman, gradually gains self-respect as she strives to educate herself and to find love--despite an abusive spouse and a society biased against her race and her sex.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Powerful tale of survival with wrenching scenes of abuse.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this intense drama is the adaptation of award-wining author Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple and deals with serious themes -- incest, marital abuse, overt racism and sexism -- that are not appropriate for young children. On the other hand, mature teenagers will benefit from seeing the movie, as it will open their eyes about the difficulties women -- especially black women -- experienced in the early 20th century. Many scenes include glimpses of violence and abuse, all against women, but here are also positive messages about the importance of women's relationships with other women, the power of the sisterly bond, and the human capacity to overcome oppression.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the abuse scenes. What feelings did they bring up in you? How did Celie's relationship with Sophia help her survive? How can family members help one another survive and heal from traumatic experiences?
  • Talk about film adaptations of novels. What makes these kinds of adaptations successful? What are the pitfalls? Do you think this was a successful adapation?
  • Talk about how times have changed since the era in which this story was set. Has anything remained the same?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 10
    see all The Color Purple reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Overrated, but still a good film.

- Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum, Thursday, June 24, 2010


- Clint Morris, Film Threat, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Spielberg may not have been the best choice to direct this feminist text, making a clean, neat movie that lacks authenticity, but the movie has many touching moments and the entire female ensemble is good, particularly Whoopi Goldberg in the second half

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

5 stars

One of the Master Piece from Steven Spielberg Movie Factory.

- ScoopOnline, Wednesday, December 2, 2009

3 stars

Spielberg's first real drama has stood the test of time. Moving and impressive.

- SirPant, Friday, September 25, 2009

5 stars

an incredibly moving, no holds barred, film. whoopi goldberg is brilliant in this amazing drama.

- TomBowler, Sunday, August 2, 2009