Color your world with "The Color Purple" cinematic quiz


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: youtube

About This Quiz

"The Color Purple" is a timeless story of human strength, survival, and grace. To learn more about the movie version of "The Color Purple," take the quiz.

How does the movie, "The Color Purple," begin?

The movie begins with Celie and Nettie playing innocently in a field of purple flowers. This sets up the symbolism of the color purple.


What taboo is broken at the very beginning of the film?

The opening statement about incest shocks the audience from the very start of the movie.


What was Celie's belief about how her mother died?

Celie said her mother died of a broken heart.


What issue about sexuality was practically cut out from the film?

In the book, and according to the author, Celie and Shug were probably in a lesbian relationship. Steven Spielberg thought it would be too big an issue to tackle, on top of all the other issues in the movie, so it was downplayed.


How old was Celie at the beginning of the story?

In some states, some sort of parental consent is necessary.


What was one hope spot for Celie?

Celie narrates that she heard that her babies were given to a preacher and his wife.


What funny slice-of-life scene shows how important Celie is to the household?

Slicing himself while cutting bread, making a mess using the stove, Mister — whose name is Albert — knows what to do, but is all thumbs in the kitchen. It's a foreshadowing of how his life falls apart after Celie leaves, and explains why his house was a mess when his first wife died.


How did the original book author, Alice Walker, first react to the finished movie?

Alice Walker was seriously concerned about how different the movie version of "The Color Purple" was from the book. However, as she saw audience reactions, she softened her stance. She now professes to like the film, thinking of it as just very different from the book.


To whom was "Mister" originally attracted?

It's established early on that "Mister" is very attracted to Nettie. But in the end, he marries Celie.


How did Harpo, Mister's eldest son, greet Celie when she was first brought home?

Harpo threw a rock at Celie's head. As the story goes progresses, he breaks the cycle of abuse that his father and grandfather began.


What could have been: Who was Steven Spielberg pursuing for the role of Shug?

Spielberg was pursuing the legendary Chaka Khan to play Shug. She turned it down, however. She later admitted that she had great doubts about taking on that role.


What did Whoopi Goldberg supposedly use to audition for the role of Celie?

Whoopi Goldberg used a comedy skit to audition for her role in "The Color Purple." She not only got the part, she received an Oscar nomination for her dramatic performance in the movie.


What is the "in-joke" about the character named Harpo?

Harpo is not only the name of Mr. Albert's eldest son (and Sofia's husband), it's also the name of Oprah Winfrey's production company, and her name spelled backwards. It was probably good for a few laughs on the set.


Why does Mister need a wife?

From how it is presented in the beginning, Mister's home skills are nonexistent. Celie's first job was to clean up the kitchen and what appeared to be the main room of the house.


Why did Celie have to comb Mister's daughters' hair?

The scene establishes that Mister's word is law. The slap on the face just reinforces it.


Many actresses in "The Color Purple" made their debut in this film. Who was already working in the movies at that point?

Rae Dawn Chong was a regular movie actress by the time she did "The Color Purple." She played Squeak, the girlfriend of Oprah's character's husband.


The casting presentation in the film was somewhat unusual. Why was this so?

Big movies don't usually come out with a lead actor or actress who hasn’t had a track record. This is why Whoopi Goldberg's name wasn't used so much in the promotion of the film.


What was the first symbolic sign of freedom that Celie had?

Nettie always seemed to be the more aggressive one of the sisters. It's no small feat that she was able to teach Celie how to read.


What finally pushed Mister (Albert) to throw Nettie out of the house?

Mister threw Nettie off the property because she "refused her advances."


What is the sisters' bonding ritual?

In three or four scenes in the film, Celie and Nettie play a hand-clapping game. This becomes their secret ritual of sorts, and you can see Celie mime it when Nettie is thrown off Mister's property.


What strange resolution does Mister's cruelty have at the end of the movie?

The movie shows many scenes where Mister (Albert) inercepts letters from Nettie to Celie. This proves to be a turning point later in the movie, but for most of it, Celie just doesn't know it's happening.


How is Sofia introduced in the movie?

Sofia is a strong-willed woman who manages to "wrest" Harpo away from Mister. She has many more hardships to endure in the movie.


What was awkward about Harpo and Sofia's marriage?

It's obvious that while Sofia and Harpo are smitten with each other, despite already having a baby, the in-laws are poles apart from each other. On one side, it's nearly empty, and on the other, there are many happy relatives.


Why were Akosua Busia (Nettie) and Desreta Jackson not told about the sister-separation scene.

Busia and Jackson were simply told that no matter what, they couldn’t be separated. It was all ad lib and real-life emotions from that point on.


What is Harpo's big conflict?

Harpo has a good, sweet side to him, but in trying to measure up to his dad, he ends up trying to abuse Sofia. And she's not the sort to take it sitting down.


What is Sofia's greatest strength and weakness?

Sofia may come off as larger than life, but that's because she refuses to be put down by anyone. Her sense of self-worth is written large in her character.


Whose arrival changes the entire house situation?

Shug Avery was brought into Mister's house because she was very sick. Over time, she and Celie form a very deep relationship with each other.


How does Celie start her friendship with Shug?

At first, she wanted to see how Shug would redecorate the wall with thrown food, but the moment she accepted the food, it seems that a bond started to form.


What does the porch scene with Albert and his father show?

Albert's father is even worse than Albert, given his attitude towards Albert's situation and lack of concern. He looks more civilized, but that's apparently just a shell.


What was Harpo's big idea that was taboo for the community?

Harpo's more creative, artistic side came out with him building a "juke joint," a place where people could have fun, have drinks, and listen to music. In a very religious community, however, a juke joint is a definite no-no.


Who was the actor who played Swain, Harpo's friend who helped him out with building the juke joint?

Laurence Fishburne can be seen in minor role as Swain, Harpo's friend who helped him with the juke joint. He was credited as Larry Fishburne.


Who invited Steven Spielberg to direct the movie?

At first, Steven Spielberg turned down Quincy Jones' offer, saying he felt he was the wrong director for the project. Jones, however, kept on hammering the point that Spielberg was a good director. Spielberg finally accepted.


Why did Sofia get in so much trouble?

Sofia punched not only a white man, but a man of means. Even when she finally broke through her own trauma, traces of the suffering she experienced still came through in some later scenes.


What good thing did Albert do at the end of the movie?

One could say that Albert is on the way to belatedly becoming a better person, as his assistance in reuniting Celie with the rest of her family helps undo some of the things he's done in his life.


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on