On this day in 1985, “The Color Purple” opened in theaters. Based on the book by Alice Walker and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film was met with mixed reviews and even protested by the NAACP. One writer for The Washington Post wrote in 1985, “Hats off to the black men who, after seeing the movie, started picketing the Los Angeles theaters where it was being shown. It should be noted that the Hollywood branch of the NAACP also has protested the film as demeaning to Black people.” The film still managed to gross $142 million at the box office.
When the film was nominated for 11 Oscars and lost all of them, the NAACP then protested the Academy Awards, calling the snub “a slap in the faces” of Spielberg and producer-composer Quincy Jones. The film also kicked off the careers of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. In addition, there were two successful versions on Broadway.
“The Color Purple” has stood the test of the time and has even gained another life via memes on social media. In honor of this legendary film, check out some of the flick’s most memorable moments.