Generation X and Y still remember vividly how the movie and soundtrack to Purple Rain catapulted Prince from rising pop superstar to transcendent musical megastar and an all-time great.
The semi-autographical film, which began filming 30 years ago and premiered to great hype in the summer of 1984, was Prince’s answer to Michael Jackson’s moonwalk on “Motown 25” and Madonna’s sexually explicit but monumental performance during the inaugural MTV Awards in ’84 — each performance now looked upon as watershed moments in their careers that were filled with iconic highlights.
Purple Rain was also was an important part of Prince’s illustrious portfolio that elevated him to elite status as a musician, composer, producer and stage performer and, as fellow rolling out writer Todd Williams points out, should have included His Royal Badness into the discussion of the Greatest Artist of the 1980s.
To be sure, Prince Rogers Nelson was hardly the only redeemable aspect of the film. It also included great performances from Clarence Williams III as Prince’s crazed and jealous father, as well as Morris Day, whose hilariously self-important and narcissistic character nearly stole the film in some film critics eyes.
As we look back at the principle players in Purple Rain, lets take a look at what they looked like then and now.