Review: The Color Purple

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The Steven Spielberg directed film, The Color Purple, opened on this date in 1985. The film starred Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover.


The Color Purple was based on a novel by Alice Walker. The film follows the life of Celie (Goldberg), a black woman growing up in the South in the early 1900s. She has to suffer sexual and physical abuse from her father, and the man her father would later give her to, Albert (Glover). Celie struggles her entire life to find the strength to break away from the decades of abuse that has nearly killed her spirit.


  • Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover both give wonderful performances. Their work in the film could be the best of both of their long and successful careers.
  • The film’s story and protagonist is something you don’t see in movies very often—even in 2017. Having a main character that is a woman and black makes The Color Purple an important and refreshing film to watch.
  • The film has an abundance of heart and it is exciting to watch Spielberg’s brand of filmmaking that wasn’t the norm for him in 1985. Spielberg’s magic is present from beginning to end.


  • There are a lot of characters in The Color Purple and not all of them get the development they deserve. This is a common problem that occurs when a novel is translated into a movie.
  • The tone is inconsistent at times. There are moments of comedy that feel out of place and insensitive to the gravity of the storyline.
  • In certain scenes it feels like Steven Spielberg avoids the darker elements of the source material. Spielberg was new to this kind of subject matter in 1985 and his hesitation at that age is understandable.

In Closing:

The Color Purple is a moving and unique film that explores characters and themes we rarely get to see in Hollywood productions. Steven Spielberg does an excellent job in his first real attempt and adult drama. The Color Purple is a significant film for its subject matter and for the career of Steven Spielberg.

Rating: A-