The Color Purple movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Color Purple filmed?

1985

About The Color Purple

In the opening The Color Purple film scene, Celie Harris is a young African American teenager. She has given birth to two children, both sired by her father. He gives her to Albert “Mister” Johnson, a widower when he seeks to marry Celie’s younger, more physically attractive sister. Celie is beaten and verbally abused by Albert, and his children are unkind to her. Celie’s sister Nettie runs away from home and seeks to be reconciled with Celie who offers her shelter. The sisters make a pact that they will write letters to each other if they are ever separated. Albert tries to rape Nettie, but she evades him and is kicked out of Albert and Celie’s home.

Celie withdraws after years of abuse. Albert’s son Harpo weds Sofia, and Celie is surprised to discover that Sofia runs the household. Celie tells Harpo to beat Sofia to get her to submit to him. Sofia tells Harpo she will murder him if he assaults her again.

Albert brings his mistress Shug Avery to his and Celie’s home. Celie comes to love Shug and is enamored with her strong personality. Shug is ill, and Celie helps her recover. The two become friends. Shug informs Celie she will be moving to Memphis, and Celie is moved to tell Shug about the abuse she suffers. Celie packs her bags, intending to go with Shug, but Albert stops her.

Sofia is sent to jail for slapping the mayor. She is released after several years, but she is no longer the woman she once was. She is mandated to work as a maid for the mayor’s wife. She has not seen her children since her imprisonment but is given permission to spend Christmas with them. Later, Ms. Millie takes this privilege away.

Shug and her new husband Grady return to see Celie and Albert. Grady and Albert get drunk. Shug goes to the mailbox and finds a letter addressed to Celie. She gives it to Celie who is thrilled to read the news from her sister. Celie and Shug discover that Albert has been hiding letters from Nettie for years.

Celie fails to hear Albert yelling for her to shave him. He hits her across the face. Celie considers slicing Albert’s throat but is stopped by Shug. In front of the family, Celie tells everyone about Albert’s abuse. Sofia takes this opportunity to also stand up for herself. Shug and Grady leave, taking Celie with them.

Albert turns into a drunk, and his home falls into complete disarray. Sofia and Harpo reconcile. They purchase a bar, and Shug occasionally sings there. Celie’s father passes away, and she discovers that he was not her or Nettie’s father. His property now becomes the legal property of Celie and Nettie.

Celie opens a seamstress shop. Albert receives a note from Nettie, removes money from his secret storage place, and pays for Nettie and Celie’s children to come to see Celie.

City Locations

Monterey County, California; North Carolina: Anson County, Union County

Location Types

American, House, Colonial, NatureScapes, Rustic

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Classic Car, Colonial, Creole, Dated/50's-60's-70's Building

The Color Purple Locations

Filmed in 1985 in the United States, The Color Purple is a poignant drama directed by respected filmmaker Steven Spielberg. The movie’s screenplay was based on the book written by Alice Walker and published in 1982. Among the all-star cast featured in this film are Adolph Caesar, Willard Pugh, Rae Dawn Chong, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The filming locations for The Color Purple are largely found in two different states: California and North Carolina. The footage in California was primarily shot in Monterey County while the North Carolina scenes were filmed in Anson County or Union County.

If watching poignant dramas is among your favorite pastimes, The Color Purple just might be the perfect movie for you. Why not consider a trip to visit the filming locations for The Color Purple? You’re sure to have an amazing time!

Fun Fact:

The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Celie and Nettie are separated scene in The Color Purple

The Johnson winter cabin, 2323 Diggs Road, Wadesboro, NC

After attempting to rape Nettie and being violently fought off, Albert demands that Nettie leave his house. The two sisters cling to each other, heartbroken that they will be separated. The following conversation takes place in one of the best scenes in The Color Purple.

Celie: Let her stay, please let her stay. I’ll do anything for you. Let her stay…please let her stay…

Albert (throwing Nettie’s things at her): Now get the h*ll out of my house!

Albert physically separates the two sisters who are locked in a tight embrace. He picks up Nettie and carries her down the front steps. Celie grips her sister’s hands and is pulled down the stairs, trying to wrench her sister free from Albert’s grip.

Albert: You ain’t never coming back here!

Albert trips and falls, and Nettie breaks free and starts to run.

Albert: Get off my land!

Nettie grips a tree, and Celie wraps her arms around her.

He carries her outside the gate and throws her on the ground. When the sisters continue to reach for each other, Albert throws stones at Nettie.

Nettie points at Albert and starts screaming, “Why? Why? Why?”

Celie yells to her sister, “WRITE!” Nettie responds, “Nothing but death could keep me from it.”

To get to the site of this former The Color Purple film set, follow US 74, passing by the Wendy’s and taking a right-hand turn onto State Road. Continue onto McRae Avenue merging onto Diggs Road. Make a left at Hollywood Road and just up the street, you will find your destination.

Sofia confronts Celie scene in The Color Purple

The cornfield, 2323 Diggs Road, Wadesboro, NC

After having been beaten by Harpo on Celie’s advice, Sofia confronts Celie in the cornfield. She shares this heart-wrenching speech in this The Color Purple scene.

“All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy, I had to fight my uncles, I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of mens. But I ain’t never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I’ll kill ‘em dead before I let him beat me.”

Found on the same property as the first scene listed in this guide, you will find the cornfield where this scene was shot between the house and chapel at 2323 Diggs Road in Wadesboro. Bring good walking shoes and be prepared to get in a workout as there is a lot of property to explore at this former The Color Purple location.

Sofia slaps the mayor scene in The Color Purple

The intersection of North White Street at East Medlin Street, Marshville, NC

Ms. Millie, the mayor’s wife, greets Sofia and her children in the street. She makes a big fuss over Sofia’s children, especially her son. Sofia’s son makes a big show of wiping Ms. Millie’s kisses off his face to Sofia’s embarrassment.

The mayor is heard saying, “Ms. Millie, always going on over the coloreds.”

Ms. Millie says to Sofia, “Your children are so clean. Would you like to work for me? Be my maid?”

Sofia, offended by the question, stands up and tells Ms. Millie, “H*ll no!”

Ms. Millie: What did you say?

Sofia: H*LL NO!

Ms. Millie: What did she say?

The mayor intercepts the conversation and says to Sofia, “Gal, what did you say to Ms. Millie?”

Sofia: I said, ‘H*ll..’

Before Sofia can finish her statement, the mayor slaps her, and Sofia strikes back.

To get to the site of this The Color Purple action scene, travel on N Cross Street towards E Union Street, Make a right-hand turn onto E Main Street/State Road 1740 then a left onto N White Street. The next right will take you to E Medlin Street. This scene was shot at the intersection of N White Street and E Medlin.

Celie stands up to Albert scene in The Color Purple

The Johnson residence, 121 North White Street, Marshville, NC

Shug and her husband have returned to Albert and Celie’s house for a visit. With the family seated at the table, Celie finally decides to confront Albert about his years of abuse. The following conversation ensues.

Celie: Until you do right by me, everything you think about is going to crumble.

Sofia: Don’t do it, Miss Celie. Don’t trade places with what I been through.

Shug: Come on, Miss Celie. Let’s go to the car.

Sofia: He ain’t worth it. He ain’t worth it.

Albert: Who you think you is? You can’t cuss nobody. Look at you. You’re black, you’re poor, you’re ugly. You’re a woman. You’re nothing at all.

Celie: Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail.

Getting to the site of this former The Color Purple film set couldn’t be easier. It is located just down the street from the former general store found at N White Street and E Medlin. Just take a stroll down the road, and you will discover it.

Celie and Shug take a walk outside the church scene in The Color Purple

Union County, NC

Celie and Shug go for a walk through a field several miles away from a church where Shug’s estranged father is preaching. A choir is heard singing in the distance. Celie and Shug engage in the following conversation.

Shug: But more than anything, God loves admiration.

Celie: You saying God is vain?

Shug: No, no, not vain. Just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.

Celie: Well, you saying it just want to be loved like it say in the Bible.

Shug: Ya, Celie, everything want to be loved. I’ll sing and dance and holler; just trying to be loved.

To visit this The Color Purple location, a little ingenuity is involved since it is not known precisely where this field is located. However, Union County has many pretty spots that are reminiscent of this place. To reach Union County, take W Wilson Street to N Main Street, making a right onto US-74/Monroe Street. Stay to the right to merge onto E Roosevelt Boulevard then take a left onto Franklin Street. The next left-hand turn takes you to E Sunset Drive. Take another left onto Maurice Street and a final left-hand turn onto NC-207S. After just over two miles, turn right, and you will be at your destination.

Celie and Nettie are reunited scene in The Color Purple

Ansonville, NC

In one of the most touching scenes in The Color Purple, the adult Celie is reunited with Nettie and is able to meet her children again. The sisters embrace in a field, and Nettie calls out her sister’s name.

Nettie: Celie, this is your son, Adam.

Adam: Mama! (He speaks to her in his language)

Nettie: He says Welcome, he says greetings. He says this is the day of his dream.

Adam: Mama!

Nettie: Celie, this is Olivia.

Olivia: Mama! Mama!

Celie embraces her daughter and cries.

Nettie: And Celie, Adam has a wife. Tashi, Tashi, come. This is my sister Celie.

Albert watches the scene from a distance, repentant for all of the harm he has caused.

To reach this former film shoot location, travel along US-52 S, merging onto Smith Street Drive then Baptist Church Road.

Conclusion

A timeless film that is much beloved by people all across the globe, The Color Purple features some of the most beautiful landscapes in cinematography today. Primarily shot in the rural towns and fields of North Carolina, a trip to visit the filming locations for The Color Purple is sure to invigorate and inspire.