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Naked Lunch
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Naked Lunch (1991) More at IMDbPro »

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William S. Burroughs (novel)
David Cronenberg (written by)
View company contact information for Naked Lunch on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 March 1992 (France) See more »
David Cronenberg and William S. Burroughs invite you to lunch. See more »
After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
17 wins & 5 nominations See more »
(197 articles)
Alex Garcia Boards ‘Uncle Howard’
 (From Variety - Film News. 10 November 2015, 12:32 PM, PST)

Directors' Trademarks: David Cronenberg
 (From Cinelinx. 28 July 2015, 6:16 PM, PDT)

10 Weird And Creepy Moments In David Cronenberg Films
 (From Obsessed with Film. 21 July 2015, 10:18 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
a bug's eye view of the creative process See more (148 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Weller ... Bill Lee

Judy Davis ... Joan Frost / Joan Lee

Ian Holm ... Tom Frost

Julian Sands ... Yves Cloquet

Roy Scheider ... Dr. Benway
Monique Mercure ... Fadela

Nicholas Campbell ... Hank

Michael Zelniker ... Martin
Robert A. Silverman ... Hans

Joseph Scoren ... Kiki (as Joseph Scorsiani)
Peter Boretski ... Creature Voices / Exterminator #2
Yuval Daniel ... Hafid
John Friesen ... Hauser
Sean McCann ... O'Brien
Howard Jerome ... A.J. Cohen
Michael Caruana ... Pawnbroker
Kurt Reis ... Exterminator #1

Louis Ferreira ... Exterminator #3 (as Justin Louis)

Julian Richings ... Exterminator #4
Jim Yip ... The Chink
Claude Aflalo ... Forgeman
Laurent Hazout ... Interzone Boy
Joseph Di Mambro ... Interzone Boy (as Joe Dimambro)

Directed by
David Cronenberg 
Writing credits
William S. Burroughs (novel)

David Cronenberg (written by)

Produced by
Gabriella Martinelli .... co-producer
Jeremy Thomas .... producer
Original Music by
Ornette Coleman 
Howard Shore 
Cinematography by
Peter Suschitzky 
Film Editing by
Ronald Sanders 
Casting by
Deirdre Bowen 
Production Design by
Carol Spier 
Art Direction by
James McAteer 
Set Decoration by
Elinor Rose Galbraith 
Costume Design by
Denise Cronenberg 
Makeup Department
Marlene Aarons .... assistant makeup artist
Rhoda Ancill .... hair stylist
Veronica Ciandre .... hair stylist
Christine Hart .... makeup artist
Carmen MacDonald .... hair stylist
Judy Murdock .... assistant makeup artist (as Judy Murdoch)
Marilyn O'Quinn .... assistant makeup artist
Lucy Orton .... hair stylist
Production Management
Michael Saxton .... post-production supervisor
Marilyn Stonehouse .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
John Board .... first assistant director
Simon Board .... third assistant director
Michael G. Burke .... trainee assistant director (as Michael Burke)
Cassandra Cronenberg .... trainee assistant director
Terry Gould .... second assistant director
Art Department
John Bannister .... key scenic artist
Paul Bannister .... construction trainee
Gordon Becker .... carpenter
Carlos Caneca .... set dresser trainee
Marlene Chapelle .... assistant carpenter
Howard Munford Choice .... prop builder
Brian Clancy .... carpenter
Janet Cormack .... scenic artist
Joe Curtin .... construction coordinator
Kevin Curtin .... carpenter
Rossana DeCampo .... scenic painter
Paula Deresti .... set dresser
Ron Dickie .... propsman
John Dondertman .... first assistant art director
Danielle Fleury .... assistant set decorator
Otto Fondan .... scenic artist
Ian Fraser .... head carpenter
Christopher Geggie .... assistant property master
Pamela Gibson .... prop builder
Lorelee Godden .... assistant carpenter
Steve Haines .... carpenter
Doug Harlocker .... property master (as Douglas Harlocker)
Jacqui Hemingway .... scenic painter
Michael Hyde .... carpenter
John Keenan .... carpenter
Murray Keith .... carpenter
George Kocuba .... assistant carpenter
Sabri Lariani .... assistant head carpenter
Brian Lumley .... carpenter
Joe Madziak .... carpenter
Rick Marshall .... carpenter
David Melrose .... carpenter
Allan Meuse .... carpenter
John Morrison .... set dresser
Peter P. Nicolakakos .... set dresser
Jak Oliver .... scenic artist
Gregg Olsson .... painting supervisor
Denis Perrier .... assistant head carpenter
Warren Quigley .... scenic painter
Terry Redman .... construction bookkeeper
Myles Roth .... carpenter
Pat Shatka .... scenic painter
Bruce Sweezie .... carpenter
Clive Thomasson .... lead set dresser
Benno Tutter .... third assistant art director
Arlindo Vicente .... set dresser
Gareth Wilson .... set dresser
Mark Wood .... laborer
Sound Department
David Appleby .... sound re-recording mixer
Richard Cadger .... dialogue editor
Tony Currie .... dialogue editor
Bryan Day .... sound mixer
Henry Embry .... cable person
David Evans .... sound effects editor
James A. Gore .... foley assistant
Wayne Griffin .... dialogue editor
Richard Harkness .... assistant sound editor
Layne Harris .... boom operator
Sean Kelly .... assistant sound editor
Judy 'Lucky' Kemeny .... assistant sound editor (as Judy Kemeni)
Michael LaCroix .... boom operator (as Michael Lacroix)
Susan Maggi .... assistant sound editor
Andy Malcolm .... foley artist
Peter Maxwell .... sound re-recording mixer
Dale Sheldrake .... dialogue editor
Lou Solakofski .... foley recordist
Jane Tattersall .... sound effects editor
Don White .... sound re-recording mixer
Tami Treadwell .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Carol Bauman .... animatronics technician
Brian Dewe .... animatronics engineer
Joel Friesch .... animatronics technician
Guy Hudson .... animatronics technician
Jamie Hyneman .... animatronics technician
Dave Isaac .... animatronics technician
Conrad Itchener .... animatronics technician
James Pennington Kent .... animatronics technician
Victoria Lewis .... animatronics technician
Tim Lidstone .... animatronics technician
Michelle Lyman .... animatronics technician
Ted Ross .... floor special effects
Mark Siegel .... animatronics technician (as Mark Siegal)
Valerie Sofranko .... animatronics technician
Paul Theren .... animatronics technician
Lauren Vogt .... animatronics technician
Danny Wagner .... animatronics technician
Harold Weed .... animatronics technician
Michael Wick .... animatronics technician
David Wiezer .... animatronics technician
David Wiezer .... animatronics technician: special effects
Chris Walas .... special creatures & effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Scotty Allan .... gaffer
Michael Auger .... electrician
Blake Balentine .... rigging/daily grips
Ian Bibby .... second electrician
Sam Bojin .... best boy electric
John Botelho .... electrician
Hugh Brule .... best boy grip
Ted Churchill .... Steadicam operator
Kent Columbus .... rigging/daily grips
Arthur E. Cooper .... second assistant camera (as Arthur Cooper)
Alex Dawes .... rigging/daily grips
Attila Dory .... still photographer
Nigel Draper .... electrician
Tom Durnan .... electrician
Richard Gaal .... rigging spark (as R.D. Gaal)
Duane Gullison .... generator operator
Brian Hamill .... still photographer
David Hynes .... dolly grip
Colin Jones .... grip
Mark Manchester .... key grip
Mike McDonald .... first electrician (as Michael McDonald)
Marvin Midwicki .... focus puller
Steve Morrison .... electrician
Kevin Murphy .... electrician
Steve Myers .... electrician
Malcolm Nefsky .... grip
Gregory Palermo .... rigging/daily grips
Ronald G. Paulauskas .... rigging/daily grips
Lisa Pilcher .... camera trainee
Mike Ruggles .... electrician
Tracy Shaw .... grip
James Storie .... video assistant
Harold D. Stroud .... second electrician
Adam Suschitzky .... camera trainee
Peter Suschitzky .... camera operator
Owen Taylor .... electrician
David Willetts .... electrician
David J. Woods .... video assistant
David Zimmerman .... rigging/daily grips
Casting Department
Youssef Abedalnour .... extras casting: interzone
Eleanor Lavender .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Silvio Berti .... wardrobe assistant
Brenda Gilles .... costume supervisor
Ann Henshaw .... wardrobe assistant
Julie Jones .... seamstress
Editorial Department
Evan Ayotte .... cutter
Bernadette Kelly .... second assistant editor
Patricia Lambkin .... second assistant editor
Michael Rea .... first assistant editor
Michael Rea .... post-production coordinator
Christopher Severn .... color timer
Benjamin Tucker .... assistant post-production coordinator
Sandra Tucker .... post-production coordinator
Peter Watson .... second assistant editor
Music Department
Denardo Coleman .... musician: The Ornette Coleman Trio
Ornette Coleman .... musician: The Ornette Coleman Trio
Homer Denison .... orchestrator
Suzana Peric .... music editor
Barre Phillips .... musician: The Ornette Coleman Trio
Nic Ratner .... assistant music editor
Howard Shore .... conductor
Alan Snelling .... music recording engineer
Samantha Swan .... assistant music recording engineer
Ray Williams .... music supervisor
Transportation Department
Eldie Benson .... head driver
Eddie Bowman .... driver (as Ed Bowman)
Brian Cole .... driver
Ron Coles .... driver
Mike Curran .... transportation coordinator (as Michael Curran)
Mac Day .... driver
Jerome McCann .... driver
Doug Rice .... driver: construction department
Steven Sacrob .... driver (as Steve Sacrob)
Nick Schefter .... driver
Oliver Steins .... driver
Mark Van Alstyne .... driver captain
John van Noord .... driver
Other crew
Connie Angland .... purchasing agent
Jon Berg .... technical advisor
Michael Brownstone .... location manager
Lesley Clark .... production secretary
Jocelyn Cousins .... assistant: Mr. Thomas
Hazel Crombie .... accountant: UK
Sevilla Delofski .... assistant: Mr. Thomas
Prudence Emery .... unit publicist
Vic Fraser .... copyist
Deb Geaghan .... assistant accountant
Mary Margaret Gibbons .... bookkeeper
Lori Greenberg .... assistant: Ms. Martinelli
Evangeline Griego .... assistant: Ms. Martinelli
Will Hoddinott .... location assistant
James Isaac .... project supervisor
Helene LeBlanc .... stand-in (as Helene Leblanc)
Kelly Lepkowsky .... mechanical supervisor (as Kelly Lepowski)
Jim Lovisek .... insect/centipede wrangler (as James Lovisek)
John Martins-Mantiega .... director's Observer
Michelle Mundy .... assistant: Mr. Weller
Julie Oudot .... assistant: Mr. Thomas
Rick Parker .... animal wrangler
John Picard .... stand-in
Janet Riggs .... assistant: Mr. Weller
Bev Ross .... assistant accountant (as Beverly Ross)
Dug Rotstein .... script supervisor
Stephen Scott .... production office assistant
Mark Siegel .... creature maker
Teri Spasov .... accountant: Canada
Ron Swinburne .... financial controller
Sandra Tucker .... assistant: Mr. Cronenberg
Wim van Thillo .... mold supervisor
Mark Walas .... general manager: CWI
Scott Walas .... business manager
Roz Wyllie .... assistant: Ray Williams
Deborah Zwicker .... production coordinator
Randall Balsmeyer .... title designer (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for heavy drug content, bizarre eroticism, and language
115 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

One of the "Mugwumps" creatures built for the movie still exists and is held by Recorded Pictures Company, the production company of Jeremy Thomas. Nevertheless, they are said to have degraded very fast, as they were not built to last (according to David Cronenberg on the DVD commentary).See more »
[first lines]
Bill Lee:Exterminator.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Science of Sleep (2006)See more »
Vaya Con DiosSee more »


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40 out of 51 people found the following review useful.
a bug's eye view of the creative process, 16 June 1999
Author: Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia

Films about writers and the creative process are not generally action-packed, but this unusual piece has plenty of incident. The action takes place largely inside the mind of "William Lee" (William S. Burroughs) whose first book "Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict" dealt with his struggle against heroin addiction. "The Naked Lunch", set in the early 1950s, could be described as telling how that book came to be written. Lee does it tough. After "drying out" he has a job as a pest exterminator, killing cockroaches with powder from a cannister. He discovers that his wife Joan, still an addict, is shooting up with the bug powder and having sex openly with two of his literary friends, Hank and Martin. He then manages to kill her accidentally with his pistol ("I guess it's about time for our William Tell routine"). He flees the country and washes up in "Interzone" (Tangier - then an "international" city).

He tries to write but suffers from frequent hallucinations. He imagines his typewriter is a giant speaking bug whose mission is to act as his "Interzone" spyforce controller. He becomes involved with another expatriate literary couple, Tom and Joan Frost, and imagines that Tom is trying to kill his wife. Naturally he seduces the wife. Then he discovers he has a taste for gay sex, very easily indulged in locally, where there is a gorgeous willing boy such as Kiki ready to slide off the nearest bar stool. There is competition though from various other slimy types, including a rich gay predatory Swiss expatriate, Yves.

Somehow, the book gets written, and Hank and Martin show up just as Lee bottoms out in psychotic despair. They help him piece it together and head off back to New York, leaving Lee to "Interzone" and his hallucinations.

It takes a bit of discipline to watch this film - never has the creative process looked quite so destructive of the writer. Yet the whole thing has a lightness of touch about it. Lee never quite goes right over the edge and is able to observe himself with a certain amount of ironic detachment. At the same time, it is clear that the death of his wife has affected him deeply, both in terms of loss and guilt. The typewriter bugs are a cute touch. Burroughs was the grandson of the founder of the Burroughs office machinery empire, the man who patented the first practical adding machine - the mechanical bug runs in the family it seems. Abusive psychiatry also gets a send up.

As Lee, Peter Weller has a face as impassive as a homicide cop almost regardless of the turmoil within (after all, he made the role of Robocop his own). But he is a "tough guy" on the point of melt-down. Judy Davis, looking just right, plays with plenty of conviction both Joans (who in Lee's fevered brain are the same person). Ian Holm is good as Tom, the nasty older writer who is quite happy to lend his wife for sexual purposes but woe betide the man who damages his precious Arabic typewriter. Julian Peters as Yves radiated menace but overall was a bit of a cardboard-cutout, not helped by his dress and appearance, which seemed to have come straight from "Brideshead Revisited" (Sebastian in Morocco).

David Cronenberg as a director has certainly got a reputation for weird films ("The Fly", "Crash") but this offering is relatively restrained It was something of a pity that "Interzone" was a studio set somewhere (Canada?) but this is low-budget stuff after all. Unlike the bugs in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", these ones have a story to tell, though it's a painful one. Like Hunter Thompson, Burroughs was a great prose writer and the film has plenty of good lines. No-one could view heroin addiction with equanimity after seeing this film, but there is no moralising. As bug agent Clark Nova put it in the film:

"Just remember this. All agents defect, and all resisters sell out. That's the sad truth, Bill. And a writer? A writer lives the sad truth like anyone else. The only difference is, he files a report on it."

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One of the worst movies I've ever seen. greg32johnston
Why do people... Betty_Beatzer
movies that blur the boundaries of reality sacredrite
How much screen time do the bugs get? wesleyty6-60-430157
DOOM sounds in background (~52:10) ? user-7435
was burroughs a pederast? jcbierley1
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