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Father (Purple Rain)

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"Never get married!"
~ Father to The Kid as he plays the piano and complains about his marriage
Father, also known as Francis L, is the secondary antagonist in the musical drama Purple Rain (1984). Over the
course of the film, he's constantly being physically abusive towards his faithful, long-suffering wife as well as tormenting his son "The Kid" when he intervenes in the arguments to protect his mother. He is portrayed by actor Clarence Williams the Third.


In the beginning of the film, when The Kid returns home after a concert performance, he is heard shouting at his wife violently, prompting The Kid to the scene. As he enters the house, Francis is seen hitting his wife nonstop with his fists and demanding she keeps the house clean and support his needs only and nobody else. He also accuses her of being unfaithful when she is truly innocent. As The Kid intervenes by telling him that his mother isn't deaf and that she had heard his demands very clear, Francis proceeds to fight him for his intervention as the mother tearfully claims that he was trying to kill her and claims that he is crazy, which is obvious as he's done this before many times. Angered at his son's defending of the mother, Francis slaps him across the face, causing The Kid to go flying across the room and come crashing into another room, leaving Francis steaming with anger and The Kid and his mother frightened from the torment and violence inflicted upon the both of them.

When The Kid brings his love interest Apollonia over to his house for a romantic evening, she looks through the windows and sees Francis and Mother kissing passionately on the couch as they watch television. Apollonia asks The Kid if they are his parents, which he admits and knowing their dysfunctional relationship, calls them "a freak show" before retreating to his room with Apollonia.

As the film progresses, Francis is seen abusing Mother a second time, starting by throwing household objects at her and breaking them while demanding that she better stay home and keep the house clean for him. Yet, despite Mother's efforts to keep him happy, Francis' needs are never fulfilled. Francis drags Mother down into the basement where their son sleeps and listens to music where he accuses her of being unfaithful to him and sneaking around and having secret life, cursing at her being a "sinner". Mother tells him to be quiet and tells him that his accusations are wrong and that he's mentally unstable. Francis asks her if he doesn't keep the house heated due to his job in supporting the family. The Kid tries to defend his Mother's innocence and this makes Francis even more angry and delusional as he screams in questioning of his family's right and wrongs and sanity. Mother tells him again that he is crazy and he slaps her, causing The Kid to come to her defense and attack his father with full force, causing Francis to fall backwards and hit his head on the walls of the basement. Mother lays crying as Francis warns her that she belongs with him in spite of his abuse towards her. Mother tells him that he is wrong because he never lets her out of the house and have fun with friends. As he leaves defeated a second time, Francis warns Mother that his love isn't wrong and that he would die for her, foreshadowing his suicidal actions. He leaves to the upstairs living room and The Kid is left to comfort Mother as she lays crying from her torment.

After Francis abuses Mother for the third time, this time he's left her face bruised beyond belief, he selfishly blames Mother for his abusing her and hides in the basement where he composes his music on the piano. Mother sits outside on the porch crying and when The Kid returns home and discovers this, he is incensed at what's become of his mother and storms throughout the house questioning his father's whereabouts. He hears music and Francis is found composing ballads on the piano, acting indifferent on his actions towards his wife and how she's hurt by him. The Kid asks if the piano ballad he played is his, which Francis answers that the ballad is truly his work and claims that no one else can compose like him. He also reveals that he's got different ballads composed and lies to The Kid that he's never written them down and that he just made them up and tells The Kid that between each other, they're both different despite being father and son. The Kid tells him that he's seen Mother up the street looking really bad and knowing that he is to blame, asks Francis how did Mother get to look so battered and bruised. Francis avoids his question by asking him if he has a girlfriend and when The Kid confirms this, asks him if he's going to marry his girlfriend. When The Kid replies "I don't know", Francis warns him to never get married as he believes his marriage to Mother being one of his mistakes to make.

After the manager confronts The Kid, pointing out his father's wasted musical talent and stating that he's on the same path, The Kid returns home after an argument with his girlfriend to discover that the house is a mess and that Mother is disappeared. When he goes to confront his father again, Francis is seen lurking in the basement—this time with a loaded gun. As The Kid turn on the lights, Francis attempts suicide by shooting himself in the head only to survive the incident albeit with a rapidly bleeding wound and some head trauma. Surrounded by police and emergency hospital staff, he is taken away to the hospital followed by Mother who is tear-stricken over his suicidal actions. Overwhelmed in a frenzy after a night of torment, The Kid tears apart most of the basement to release his anger, only to find a large box of his father's musical compositions which inspires him to listen to his bandmates track and compose it—which is revealed to be "Purple Rain" in honor of his father.

By the film's end, Francis is seen recuperating in the hospital from the aftermath of his failed suicide with Mother sleeping next to his bedside as The Kid visits them after a night of musical success and kisses them both while they're sound asleep.


  • When The Kid's father is playing the piano, the music is actually being played by Prince.
  • The "father's song" being played by his father as Prince walks up to him, after he beats his mother, is also heard later in the movie as the guitar solo in Computer Blue.
  • Originally, the Kid's father was to die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. At the last minute, the director and the producers decided to let the father live.


"DESTINY!! You come home when I say you come home!"
~ Francis addressing Mother in an argument at the beginning of the film
"You got no business in the streets!"
~ Francis to the Mother when he accuses her of having a secret promiscuous life
"COME HERE! I said now! Do you hear me?!"
~ Francis to Mother as he corners her in the living room and beats her with his fists
"You'll do what I say! Do you hear me? You'll do as I say!"
~ Francis abusing Mother the second time, as heard though the walls of the house by The Kid
"You belong here and no place else!"
~ Francis to Mother, violently telling her she belongs only in the house
"You keep this place clean!"
~ Francis demanding the Mother stays home and obeys his commands
"You have no business leavin' this house, you're always sneaking around! You're a Goddamn sinner!!"
~ Francis to the Mother as he accuses her of crimes she never committed
"Don't I keep the heat on?!"
~ Francis to Mother, when she claims he doesn't care about her well-being and that he neglects her
"What's the matter with with this house?!"
~ Francis loudly questioning his wife and son's sanity as The Kid defends Mother
~ Francis violently slapping Mother before he is knocked into the wall by The Kid for hurting her
"You'll always have a roof overhead."
~ Francis to his wife as he defends his "good reasons" for keeping her trapped in the abusive house
"I could make you happy...if you just believed in me."
~ Francis to Mother as she lays on The Kid's bed crying because of his abuse
"I would die for you!"
~ Francis proclaiming his tormented love for Mother, as to how far would he go to prove it
"Never get married!"
~ Francis' last words to The Kid before attempting suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head days later


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