Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

The Purple Rose of Cairo Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    I'll go out on a limb: I can't believe the year will bring forth anything to equal The Purple Rose of Cairo. At 84 minutes, it's short but nearly every one of those minutes is blissful.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    A cornball adventure film about a dashing young explorer mixing with New York cafe society types. What a delightfully complicated fantasy film this is. What Woody Allen has done with The Purple Rose of Cairo is create a classic film about our love affair with fantasy. [28 Jun 1985, p.1]

  • 50

    out of 100


    Tale is a light, almost frivolous treatment of a serious theme, as Woody Allen here confronts the unalterable fact that life just doesn't turn out the way it does (or did) in Hollywood films. For all its situational goofiness, pic is a tragedy, and it's too bad Allen didn't build up the characters and drama sufficiently to give some weight to his concerns.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Purple Rose of Cairo reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Whimsical Woody Allen love note to '30s films.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a lot of the movie deals with an innocent, fictional character, from a Golden Age Hollywood film (with morality dictated by studio censorship) suddenly faced with the real world, where people don't fight fair, where despair and unemployment and prostitution exist, and where sex is more than just a fadeout -- resulting in some innuendo-laden dialogue. Adultery is a large part of the plot, with Tom beseeching the married heroine to leave her loutish husband for him.

  • Families can talk about the many layers of the comedy here, and the depiction of Depression-era movies (that filmmaker Woody Allen obviously cherishes) as a form of escape from dismal reality. How might this plot have worked out today? What would you have done in Cecilia's place, faced with Prince Charming suitors in both the imaginary and the actual world? Is Tom Baxter right to equate his scriptwriter with God? Do you think the film ultimately makes a positive statement or a negative one about Hollywood and its ways?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Tom Baxter is a stalwart movie hero, devised to be courageous, faithful, and polite -- so much so that he even charms some pretty cynical characters. The actor who created Tom, however, turns out to be two-faced. Cecilia, though trapped in a marriage she no longer wants, still chafes at the idea of leaving her husband (though part of this might be her waiflike and unassertive qualities). The 1930s movie characters shown include a somewhat stereotypical black maid.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: One fistfight.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Tom Baxter, as a fictitious 1930s Hollywood character, only knows as much about sex as studio censorship permits, and there is much talk of this, especially when he walks into a brothel and gets propositioned, with all kinds of kinky (but non-clinical) suggestions.

  • language false3

    Language: "Douchebag," "whorehouse," and "hell" uttered.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Brief references to real-life movies of the 1930s.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink and smoke, both in reality and in the movie-within-a-movie (though the fictional ones have to use prop ginger ale).