Prince’s second movie: Under The Cherry Moon

Prince - Under The Cherry Moon scene - Color (

Prince And The Revolution - Parade (

This article belongs to the story Prince’s second soundtrack, the sublime Parade.

Movie number 2

Following the success of Purple Rain, Prince was the most important artist on the Warner Bros. roster in the music and movie departments. Prince could do whatever he felt like. He had an idea for a movie and was immediately given cart-blanche. Without even as much as a script he was granted the okay.

Prince’s ideas were transformed into a script by the virtually unknown (and inexperienced) Becky Johnson. Prince wanted to make a romantic comedy with a 1930s vibe. France was picked as the right place to film and mid June 1985 Prince started looking for suitable locations and settled on Nice, a beautiful city along the French Riviera, with more than enough lush houses and hotels nearby. Also, travel to the other locations was easy from Nice: Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Cannes, Cap d’Antibes, Villefranche en Villeneuve Loubet (thank you Sophie Roux, set designer at the time and subsequent personal assistant for Prince’s Paris estate).

The initial idea was for Madonna to play the lead female character of Mary. After she declined attention was directed at Prince’s fiancée Susannah Melvoin, but she couldn’t act. Eventually the young aspiring British actress Kristin Scott-Thomas got the job, landing her her debut role in a major movie. Mary’s parents were portrayed by Terrance Stamp and Alexandra Stewart. Mary Lambert was hired as the movie’s director, someone already known within the Prince camp as she had previously made the Sheila E.’s video to The Glamourous Life in 1984. The video represented the style Prince was looking for.


After Prince’s passing a number of auctions were held where personal items were sold, including scripts. In 1985 Prince was working on the Under The Cherry moon script himself and two of his notebooks were auctioned off. Some pages coming from 2 different notebooks have been made available. The first one belonged to Prince, the second to Susannah Melvoin, his fiancée at the time.

Both notebooks are interesting. The second contains the fully scripted ‘Wrecka Stow’ scene (pages 13, 14 and 15). See the pages below.

Notebook 1

Notebook 2

Click on the notebook pages to enlarge.


From September 16th, 1985 to the end of November 1985 the movie was shot (in color). Prince wanted to film the movie in black and white, but his request was initially declined. However, the released version of the movie was in black and white, as Warner Bros. was not in the position to deny this to Prince.

The filming met with problems. After a couple of weeks Terrance Stamp left, because he felt the role didn’t live up to his expectations. Steven Berkoff took over. It wasn’t before long that director Mary Lambert’s role was untenable, she was fired and Prince took the helm and directed the movie from then on.

Prince - Under The Cherry Moon crew 1985 (

Prince – Under The Cherry Moon crew 1985

The story

Christopher Tracy (Prince) is a piano player in a fancy hotel in Nice. He and his brother Tricky (Jerome Benton) are essentially gigolos in search of rich women, their money to be precise. One day Tricky finds out about Mary Sharon (Kristen Scott-Thomas), daughter to Isaac Sharon (Steven Berkoff), who is about to inherit $50 Million when she turns 21, which happens soon. Tricky convinces Christopher to go after Mary, so they crash her birthday party, sneak in and try to talk to her. Mary wants nothing to do with them and has them thrown out.

Nonetheless, the spark is undeniably there. Christopher and Mary start a relationship, even though Mary is bethrowed to Jonathan. Mary receives her inheritance on the grounds that she marries Jonathan. Despite that stipulation Christopher persists: he has fallen in love. Mary’s father is annoyed by the blossoming relationship and uses his immense power to work against Christopher. He is helped by Tricky, who tells Mary that Christopher has promised him 30% of the money when Christopher runs off with Mary. Sad and hurt, Mary decides to leave for New York to meet up with Jonathan.

Christopher manages to stop Mary at the airport and takes her with him. Her father interprets it as a kidnapping and informs the local police. Christopher and Mary talk things over and all’s well again. When they want to leave by boat, Christopher is shot by the police and dies in Mary’s arms.

The movie ends with Tricky who manages an apartment complex in Miami, owned by Mary.

Prince - Under The Cherry Moon premiere - 07/01/1986 (

Prince – Under The Cherry Moon premiere – 07/01/1986


The movie premiered on July 1st, 1986 (3 months after the release of the Parade album) in Sheridan, Wyoming. At the local school Prince And The Revolution played a mini concert (with Mazarati as their support act). The reason the premiere took place in Sheridan, Wyoming was caused by a competition organized by MTV. The 10,000th caller would win, which turned out to be the 20 year old Lisa Barber. And so, the Prince circus moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, where the premiere was broadcast by MTV.

The report of the premiere was published in People Weekly on July 21st, 1986.

Prince - Under The Cherry Moon - Poster (

Prince – Under The Cherry Moon – Poster


Unfortunately, the movie was badly received, universally lambasted by the press and audiences didn’t show up. The most important review were:

He finished the picture; he produced an entertainment that, while limited, is as good as much of the stuff cranked out by longtime professionals, and he got to do it the way he wanted.
(Detroit Free Press, 07/03/1986)

I’ve seen “Under the Cherry Moon,” I enjoyed it enormously, but I haven’t quite figured out what it’s supposed to be.
(Philadelphia Daily News, 07/03/1986)

If you make it to the bitter end of this less-than-cherry “Moon,” stick around a few minutes longer. There’s a full-fledged video of Prince’s “Mountains” behind the end credits. It’s more exciting than anything that goes before.
(San Jose Mercury News, 07/03/1986)

“We had fun, didn’t we?” asks Prince at the end, just before he goes to heaven. It’s nice that somebody did.
(Chicago Tribune, 07/04/1986)

Most of the scenes are so awkward, so hopelessly inept that the whole affair looks like a student film that somehow inherited a multimillion-dollar budget.
(Los Angeles Times, 07/04/1986)

Prince will never be an acceptable actor.
(Dutch newspaper het Parool, 09/04/1986)

This tribute to fun for the sake of fun lacks content in order to leave a lasting impression.
(Dutch newspaper Trouw, 09/04/1986)

The marriage between film and pop music has never been an easy one, but this is a stillborn child.
(Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, 09/04/1986)

No, Under The Cherry Moon hasn’t been able to convince me of Prince’s status as an undisputed superstar.
(Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, 09/05/1986)

Under The Cherry Moon an annoying monster.
(Dutch newspaper het Vrije Volk, 09/05/1986)

Failed egotrip by Prince.
(Dutch newspaper Leeuwarder Courant, 10/10/1986)

Under The Cherry Moon is a boring egotrip.
(Dutch newspaper Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, 10-10-1986)

Prince - Under The Cherry Moon - Flop Rolling Stone July 1986 (Rolling Stone)

Prince – Under The Cherry Moon – Flop Rolling Stone July 1986

Razzie Awards

The Golden Raspberry Awards (better known as Razzies or Razzie Awards) is a reward show for worst movie, actor, actress, etc., as counterbalance to the Oscars. On March 29th, 1987, the reward show as organized and Prince/Under The Cherry Moon was the big ‘winner’. The following categories were won:

Razzie (


  • Worst movie (with Howard, the Duck)
  • Worst actor (Prince)
  • Worst supporting actor (Jerome Benton)
  • Worst director (Prince)
  • Worst musical number (Prince And The Revolution – ♥ Or $)

The movie was nominated in the following categories as well, but didn’t win:

  • Worst supporting actress (Kristin Scott-Thomas)
  • Worst script (Becky Johnston)
  • Worst new star (Kristin Scott-Thomas)


And, is it really that bad? Well, no actually. Personally, I think the movie is good fun, in which Prince may come across as a bit aloof, but human as well. A number of scenes in the movie are very funny, including the, among Prince fans, famous “Wrecka stow” scene.

Yes, the story is rather thin. Yes, it contains a lot of (melo)drama, but the overall mood is pleasing. The choice for black and white lends the movie a timeless quality, more so than Purple Rain. If the viewers really wants to see a bad Prince movie, choose Graffiti Bridge. Under The Cherry Moon is a nice, unpretentious movie, that puts a smile on my face and contains phenomenal music!

Prince - Under The Cherry Moon - Wrecka Stow scene (

Prince – Under The Cherry Moon – Wrecka Stow scene

Wrecka stow

So, what about the “Wrecka stow” scene? See the scene, and the Under The Cherry Moon trailer in the (sub)article Prince – Under The Cherry Moon trailer & Wrecka Stow scene.


Read the movie reviews in Prince – Parade – The reviews.


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  1. Just a couple of things. They are not brothers although this is referenced in one of the scenes (different fathers).
    It wasn’t Nice it was Juan les Pins /Antibes.

    Otherwise love this. UTCM can’t get enough praise.

    1. Thanks, will look into your comments as soon as I have the time!

    2. Hi Annie, I’ve added the known film locations, so that should be fine now. Thanks again!

    • Clare on 03/31/2021 at 4:26 AM
    • Reply

    Lovely article!! I took myself on a wonderful UTCM tour in fall of 2019 and actually filming was done in Nice, Antibes, Juan les Pins etc. Their apartment building still stands today and looks exactly like it did in the film and it is indeed in Nice, France. I adore the Parade album and this film. UTCM 4EVER!! 🍒🍒🍒🍒🍒🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕💜💜💜

    1. Hi Clare, I’ve added the known film locations, so that should be fine now. Thank you so much for your reply!

    • Sophie on 04/02/2021 at 12:55 AM
    • Reply

    Hi Clare we shot the movie in Nice, Cannes, Cap d Antibes, Beaulieu, Cagnes, Villefranche, Villeneuve Loubet. For info: I worked on the movie in the set design department.

    1. Hi Sophie, thank you for commenting. It’s my honor hearing from you!

    • Adriana on 04/02/2021 at 9:19 PM
    • Reply

    I loved the movie and thought the LP was one of Prince’s best: Mountains, Kiss, Anotherloverholenyohead 💜 Hard to watch now that Prince is really dead.😪

    1. Agreed, 100%!

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!