Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) is a southern black woman virtually sold into a life of servitude to a brutal husband, sharecropper Albert (Danny Glover). Celie pours out her innermost thoughts in letters to her sister Nettie (Akousa Busia), but Albert has been hiding the return correspondence making Celie believe she's dead. Finally, Celie finds champions in her daughter-in-law, the take-no-shit Sofia (Oprah Winfrey) and the glamorous Shug Avery (Margaret Avery), a local entertainer.
Up until Steven Spielberg produced and directed this film, he was more known for "popular" cinematic titles such as Jaws, Indiana Jones< and E.T and he hadn't had to deal with meaty subjects such as rape, incest, and woman's rights. Ultimately the film received 11 Academy Award nominations (winning none) and Spielberg proved he was up for the challenge and went on to become one of the best director's of his generation.