M. Butterfly (1993)

R  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  1 October 1993 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 6,482 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 41 user | 27 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling - but Song is not at all who Gallimard thinks.



(play), (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $14.99 on Amazon Video

1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crash (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas
Spider (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
Naked Lunch (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
Rabid (1977)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver
The Brood (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle
eXistenZ (1999)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm
Shivers (1975)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
Scanners (1981)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan
Fast Company (1979)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Standard good guys vs. bad guys drag racing movie. Nice scene of the driver's view during a funny car run..

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: William Smith, Claudia Jennings, John Saxon
Cosmopolis (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager's day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon
The Dead Zone (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt


Cast overview, first billed only:
Annabel Leventon ...
Shizuko Hoshi ...
Richard McMillan ...
Embassy Colleague
David Hemblen ...
Intelligence Officer #1
Damir Andrei ...
Intelligence Officer #2
Antony Parr ...
Intelligence Officer #3
Margaret Ma ...
Song's Maid
Tristram Jellinek ...
Defense Attorney
Philip McGough ...
Prosecution Attorney
David Neal ...


During the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-1960s, a French diplomat falls in love with a singer in the Beijing Opera. Interwoven with allusions to the Puccini opera "Madama Butterfly", a story of love and betrayal unfolds. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

china | opera | spy | betrayal | 1960s | See All (21) »


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and a brief bloody sequence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 October 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M. Baterflaj  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,499,795 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Antony Parr's final film. See more »


The word accordion is misspelled "accordian" in the closing credits. See more »


Comrade Chin: Don't you understand how degrading those images are to women? And why do you have to behave this way when he is not even here?
Song Liling: Comrade, in order to better serve the Great Proletarian State, I practice my deception as often as possible. I despise this costume, yet for the sake of our Great Helmsman, I will endure it, along with all the other bourgeois Western perversions.
Comrade Chin: I'm not convinced that this will be enough to redeem you in the eyes of the Party.
Song Liling: I'm trying my best to become somebody else.
See more »


Referenced in Mother (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Enigmatic Scorcher and FASCINATING!
12 November 2005 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Jeremy Irons and John Lone (who plays the character, Song Liling) should both have gotten academy awards for their performance in this incredibly enigmatic and captivating scorcher of a movie. This is a completely new twist on on the classic opera and may even be more of a believable story because it is so creatively wicked. It has a sexual tension that holds throughout the whole movie and is entirely played out in the mind and sensuously mesmerizing at the same time.

It's an emotionally tortuous journey that Jeremy Irons makes in the name of love (?), and more likely addicted passion. John Lone's performance is exceptional as one who is just as driven and hooked psychologically in his own way as what it is in him that drives him to fulfill Jeremy's ecstasy and descent into irretrievable madness.

Definitely one of the best movies ever! I hope this makes it to DVD sometime soon as it surely deserves to be seen again and again.

28 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
John Lone kzaluska
Anyone seen BD Wong's portrayal of Song Liling? Verisyse
correct me please... mynameismud
DVD Release? Shoeby
Why 'when she's bad, she's christian'? evewing
DVD Release set for May oneblood
Discuss M. Butterfly (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: