The Color Purple Locations
Locations Manager(s): Kokayi Ampah
Under their watchful eye, the following special places were used for filming "The Color Purple":
Filmed in Anson County and Union County, North Carolina, USA
The main house used for the film is the Huntley house located close to Lilesville, NC.
The house is officially known as the James Bennett house but has had other owners since then that include John Jennings Dunlap I (1866-1909), John Jennings Dunlap II (1909-1926), The N. Hedrick Family, the H.H. Huntley family (which owned the home when the movie was filmed; if you remember the postmanís name was Mr. Huntley in honor of the man who owned the farm at the time.) The current owners are Pat and Ronnie Oaks who restored the house in 2008.
It is a few miles off of Highway 74. It is a large old farmhouse that had been empty for years prior to filming.
After the filming I went to the house many times to look around. It is once again unused. Now, the current owner has placed a gate at the end of the drive to keep people away.
I always found it interesting that the film only shows it once from the front (when Sug arrives.) I think this may be because it looks a little too grand and formal for the context of the film. I believe that the interior scenes were all done on location in the house and not on a sound stage. The house is surrounded by a lot of land and on that land the film crew built other structures used in the filming.
I visited the Huntley farm back in 1992. I met Mr. Huntley. He told my friend and I some back ground about the filming. There had been a hurricane thru the area a few years earlier and had damaged some of the props. The house that was in the last scene was just a facade. It had fallen when the storm came thru. The juke joint was also a facade.
There are scenes from the main house that were filmed in a studio. The scene where they see the spider crawl in the floor and then discover the hidden space below the floor and the scene where Celie and Shug kiss were both filmed in a studio.
Mr. Huntley took us over to a small cabin he owned where Steven Spielberg stayed during the on site filming. In that cabin was the mail box.
The main house kitchen wall paper was still dirty like it was when you see Celie cleaning it up. They filmed the scenes with the clean kitchen first and then they dirtied it up and filmed those scenes. Mr. Huntley also said that the flowers were a special kind from I think he said Holland. They were shipped in and the cost for just the flowers was $30,000. He said after they filmed the scenes with the flowers they just plowed them under.
We also went into the church as it is on the lower side of the property below the where the juke joint pond is. The church was moved there for the movie. The floors in the church were very uneven and buckled. The little house Harpo and Sophia lived in was also still there. It was a little two room house. The carving with Celie and Nettie was still on the tree right outside the main house. They used one of the bedrooms upstairs as a dressing room. It had the mirrors with the big round light bulbs around it. Mr. Huntley was a Very nice man and even let us look at his personal photo album from the filming. It had the actors resting on the porch between shoots. It was a great experience. [Thanks to Dana for sharing these wonderful memories]
The house where Celie lives at the end of the movie was actually just a false front. It stood for years but eventually fell down or was torn down and no longer exists.
All of the town scenes were done in Marshville, NC in Union County (also on Highway 74.)
The store is actually a produce store still in business today called "Apple Jack's". Dirt was put down to cover the pavement of the street and decorative items were added to many of the facades of nearby buildings. Remnants of these items still survive.
The dream sequence where Celie throws the gold chocolates to her sister was done on railroad tracks near Ansonville, NC.
The scene where Danny Glover's character "Mr." goes to an Immigration Office to arrange for her children to come home was filmed at the Anson County Courthouse in Wadesboro, NC.
The church was an unused old church that the crew moved from another location in Anson County to the Huntley farm. It was set up on the back of the property down a hill from the main house.
[Our deep gratitude to Wayne Maness for the wonderful locations info]
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Each location will have it's own page with then/now pictures, maps, StreetView, discovery story and the most detailed explanations on how the location was used. Most importantly, the locations will have a status that shows whether they are verified correct and by whom. We are working with the actual locations managers or other crew where possible. The whole thing will be very interactive and you will, of course, be able to update everything.
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