Local Current Blog

‘Purple Rain’ added to National Film Registry

The marquee at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis for a spring 2019 'Purple Rain' screening. (Mary Mathis/MPR)

The Library of Congress announced today that it’s added Purple Rain, the 1984 film that defined the most iconic of Prince’s many images and launched him into the stratosphere of superstardom, to the National Film Registry. 25 films are selected annually for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” important.

This year’s selections also include the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, the Mozart biopic Amadeus, and The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the Band’s 1976 swan song — the latter featuring a prominent guest appearance by Bob Dylan, the Minnesota native who picked the Canadian-American group to back him live and on record.

Perhaps eyeing the entirely male slate of directorial nominees in this year’s Golden Globes, the Library of Congress highlighted the contributions of women to this year’s National Film Registry additions. Accordingly, they shared a comment from the film’s co-star Apollonia Kotero.

“As a young Latina actress, being cast in Purple Rain was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Apollonia said in a statement. “Roles for women that looked like me were scarce in the ’80s. Prince was never afraid of taking risks. He created a melting pot of cultures and racial interactions within his purple worlds. […] Prince would be thrilled.”

Purple Rain director Albert Magnoli, who recently spoke with The Current’s Jill Riley, told the Library of Congress that he’s “deeply honored” for the movie to be recognized. “All of us strived to create a film that would capture the attention of what we believed at the time was a small audience. None of us expected this longevity. We simply worked hard every day to get it right, and this honor is a testament to the music, story and characters that were created by all of us so many years ago.”

Want to dig deeper into one of the best-known films ever shot in Minnesota? We’re on it.

Rock and Roll Book Club: Prince’s memoir The Beautiful Ones (Jay Gabler, 2019)

Fams remember Prince at Parkway Theater Purple Rain screenings (Marla Khan-Schwartz, 2019)

Pitchfork names Purple Rain second-best soundtrack ever (Marla Khan-Schwartz, 2019)

Pitchfork: Purple Rain was the best album of the ’80s, and Minnesota music ruled the decade (Jay Gabler, 2018)

The Twin Cities’ merchandising of Prince’s Purple Rain (Michelangelo Matos, 2018)

Photos: Henderson (“That ain’t Lake Minnetonka”) Minnesota celebrates Prince (Mansoor Ahmad, 2018)

Purple Rain outtakes: A track-by-track guide to the deluxe edition (Duane Tudahl, 2017)

Rock and Roll Book Club: Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions (Jay Gabler, 2017)

On this day in 1983, Prince played “Purple Rain” for the first time (Jackie Renzetti, 2016)

The legacy of Purple Rain lives on (Andrea Swensson and Tom Weber, 2016)

A look inside the Purple Rain house in Minneapolis (Jay Gabler, 2016)

Finding closure at a midnight screening of Purple Rain (Cecilia Johnson, 2016)

Pitchfork names “Purple Rain” the best song of the 1980s (Jay Gabler, 2015)

Then and Now: Scenes from Purple Rain (Andrea Swensson, 2014)

Bobby Z shares his Purple Rain memories on the album’s 30th anniversary (Andrea Swensson, 2014)

Apollonia shares her near-death experience on the set of Purple Rain (Andrea Swensson, 2014)