IMDb > Naked Lunch (1991)
Naked Lunch
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Naked Lunch (1991) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 27 | slideshow)


User Rating:
7.1/10   34,224 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Up 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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 »
User Reviews:
A masterpiece of interpretive surrealism for Burroughs fans 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?

The shooting of the author's wife is not a fictional incident. William S. Burroughs did indeed accidentally shoot his wife Joan in the head in 1951 in Mexico in a "William Tell" stunt that went disastrously wrong. Mexican law at the time meant that Burroughs only served 13 days in prison for killing his wife.See more »
[first lines]
Bill Lee:Exterminator.
See more »
Midnight SunriseSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
253 out of 351 people found the following review useful.
A masterpiece of interpretive surrealism for Burroughs fans, 15 February 2005
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan

Lots of people will hate this film, and some will love it.

The bottom line is, if you enjoy, respect, or feel that you understand the work of William S. Burroughs, you should see this film. If you don't know what I am talking about, you should probably not see this film.

The following pedantic and potentially inflammatory review, like this film, pulls no punches and makes no apologies for itself. Read on if you dare.


If any three of the following conditions apply see Naked Lunch:


1. ...know what the term "visual metaphor" means.

2. ...are a Burroughs, Kerouac or Ginsburg fan.

2a. ...are not a fan, but know and respect Burroughs, Kerouac or Ginsburg

3. ...can't see how the book Naked Lunch could make a good film.

4. ... believe that Peter Weller is an underrated actor.

5. ...thought any of the following films were 'lightweight': Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Last Wave, Heavenly Creatures, Dead Ringers.

6. ...have lived in the New York area for 15 or more years.

7. ...know the relationship between improvisational jazz, poetry, and modern art.

8. ...think you understand what Andy Warhol was trying to do.

9. ... are curious about what the process of writing a novel is like.

10. ...spend a lot of time arguing with inanimate objects.

11. ...without knowing the content of this film, can see a potential relationship between sexual ambivalence, guilt, paranoia, addiction, typewriters and over-sized talking insects.

You should NOT see this film if any of the following apply:


1. ...consider homosexual love to be evil, wrong, and something you can not sympathize with or understand.

2. ...use the phrase "he's on drugs" to explain behavior and ideas that do not make sense to you.

3. not like or respect Burroughs, Kerouac or Ginsburg, and you know who they are.

4. have a concept of challenging literature as the latest John Irving novel (no offense to Mr Irving intended - he's easily as great as Burroughs, just sort of mainstream and pop).

5. films which you can walk away from easily.

6. ...don't want to see any film which requires a second viewing to feel as if you've really got any of it.

7. ...view films strictly as a form of entertainment.

8. ...without knowing the content of this film, you can not imagine a potential relationship between sexual ambivalence, guilt, paranoia, addiction, typewriters and over-sized talking insects.

9. ...don't care to understand most of the following review.

10. ...consider ambiguity and loose ends in a film to be "plot holes" and consider any film which has them to be 'flawed'.


William S. Burroughs is widely regarded as one of America's greatest writers of fiction. A friend and mentor to Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsburg, Burroughs helped to create the genres of 'beat' - American literary high modernism, and/or post-modernism. He provides highly tactile ironic, seductively repulsive descriptions of the everyday which are at once accurate, fragmented and surreal - in other words - Burroughs recreates the feeling and mood of his time and his experience with hermeneutic precision.

Cronenberg's Naked Lunch is an amalgamation of Cronenberg's interpretation and experience of reading Burroughs, Burroughs own life, and Burrough's legendary novel, Naked Lunch. There are six or more plots operating in six or more interacting layers throughout the film, and the action centers exclusively on Burrough's alter-ego, Bill Lee, as he attempts to discover the relationships between all of these plots. The plots I identify (and an interested viewer will generally be able to identify many more that this) are Burrough's relationship with Joan, Lee's relationship with Joan, Lee's drug addiction, Burrough's drug addiction, Lee's investigations into the secret society of drug trafficking at the edge of the world in Interzone, Burrough's struggle to create/discover himself. However, the theme of the film is more an issue of the Lee/Burroughs character trying and, in the end, failing, to make sense of the connections between these plots.

It is a very self-conscious, personal, brilliantly developed and visually intense film. Yet, despite its self-exposure and openness, the film maintains a certain distance from its audience, as if it has taken on the life given it by Cronenberg and Burroughs and established its own unique personality, which will keep its audience at a certain distance. To really appreciate this, you must watch the film at least a few times.

It is especially significant that Burroughs gave his approval for this project. Burroughs' writing is intensely personal and artistic, and his willingness to allow Cronenberg to position himself and his experience of Burrough's work within the film, and to decenter Naked Lunch is as powerful a testimony to Burrough's own integrity as an artist as it is to Cronenberg's vision.

Most of the people who acted in this film really wanted to be involved in it and it shows. Ian Holm and Roy Scheider are always great. Peter Weller, a big Burroughs fan and a severely underrated actor gives what may be the performance of his lifetime, Judy Davis and Julian Sands are both perfectly cast and powerful in their roles.

This films imagery is necessarily disturbing, disorienting, and, at times, quite comic. Very much in keeping with the feel of Burrough's work.

See it. You don't have to like it to respect it.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (148 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Naked Lunch (1991)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
One of the worst movies I've ever seen. greg32johnston
was burroughs a pederast? jcbierley1
movies that blur the boundaries of reality sacredrite
Why do people... Betty_Beatzer
How much screen time do the bugs get? wesleyty6-60-430157
DOOM sounds in background (~52:10) ? user-7435
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
So Sweet, So Dead Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Dead Ringers Stonewall Barton Fink
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb Canada section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.