6.8/10
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42 user 30 critic

M. Butterfly (1993)

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.

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Cast

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
...
Judge
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Storyline

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) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 October 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M. Baterflaj  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,499,795 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Chinese opera being performed by Song near the beginning is called "Gui Fei Zui Jiu", aka "The Drunken Concubine", aka "Yang Gui Fei Gets Tipsy". See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Frau Baden: Still playing the missionary are you, Gallimard? Or... are there other positions that interest you as well?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mother (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stranger Than Fiction
3 February 1999 | by See all my reviews

M Butterfly is a remarkably compelling film, even though the premise has been spoiled. I think it is David Cronenberg's best film overall. Dealing with the same issues as in Farewell, My Concubine, such as the state of Chinese theater during the revolution, M Butterfly is easier to understand and more involving. Farewell, My Concubine made me want to not care about the history involved because it was just too much to think about at one time, not being previously aware of it. However, M Butterfly explains the setting in a way that has no minimum education requirement. Foremost though, the characters created by Jeremy Irons and John Lone are intricate, conveying their deep commitments to their country and to their own heart, in Song and Rene's cases respectively. However, being familiar with the opera is an advantage to understanding a few complications in the plot. Plus, the ending is daring and dramatic. In real life, however, the person who the character Rene is based on is still alive and I saw an interview with him on ABCNews and just knowing that this man actually thought that he had gotten this other man pregnant makes the movie even more intriguing. This movie does not really delve into how that could have been, physically or psychologically, but it does make subtle inferences. Just the knowledge that the premise is not merely incredulous movie fantasy is enough reason for inquiring minds to give this beautiful film a try.


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