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The Butterfly Effect (2004)

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Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.
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1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kayleigh at 13 (as Irene Gorovaia)
Sarah Widdows ...
Jake Kaese ...
Lenny at 7
Tommy at 7


Evan Treborn grows up in a small town with his single, working mother and his friends. He suffers from memory blackouts where he suddenly finds himself somewhere else, confused. Evan's friends and mother hardly believe him, thinking he makes it up just to get out of trouble. As Evan grows up he has fewer of these blackouts until he seems to have recovered. Since the age of seven he has written a diary of his blackout moments so he can remember what happens. One day at college he starts to read one of his old diaries, and suddenly a flashback hits him like a brick! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Das Ende ist erst der Anfang (The end is only the beginning.) See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El efecto mariposa  »


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,065,227, 25 January 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The teenage versions of Evan, Kayleigh, and Tommy go see Se7en (1995) at a movie theater that's also showing Dumb and Dumber (1994). Both of those movies, as well as this one, were released by New Line Cinema. And Elden Henson who plays the grown-up Lenny can also be seen in Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). See more »


When Evan was punching Tommy and killed him with a stick, Evan backed off a little and dropped the stick. Then it showed him holding the stick again. Then it showed him continuing to back off. See more »


[first lines]
[reading aloud as he writes a note]
Evan: If anyone finds this, it means my plan didn't work and I'm already dead. But if I can somehow go back to the beginning of all of this, I might be able to save her.
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Crazy Credits

The title, "The Butterfly Effect," is superimposed over a depiction of a butterfly beating its wings, which is itself superimposed upon an X-ray profile of a human brain. See more »


Referenced in Eagle Eye (2008) See more »


Stop Crying Your Heart Out
Written by Noel Gallagher
Performed by Oasis
Courtesy of Epic Records / Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.
Played during two final scenes and the end credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Surprisingly a great movie
14 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

Ashton Kutcher plays Evan Treborn, a troubled man who suffered blackouts as a child. When he discovers a way to travel back into the body of his past self, his time trips start to cause negative results on his present. As he uses his powers to try to fix his past and present, the effect escalates, creating alternate realities, many of which are worse than the past that he is trying to change.

The Butterfly Effect is a terrific thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The previews looked very intense and the whole film is pretty much like that. It held onto the audience right at the start and it didn't let go until the end. The plot is nothing new but the execution was very nice. It offers a bunch of interesting and unpredictable twists so it's hard to see where things are going. The whole film is like that, just one long engaging thrill ride.

The acting is okay, some people did better than others. Ashton Kutcher is surprisingly good as Evan and he does a good job for his first serious movie. Amy Smart is very pretty and talented and she plays Kayleigh perfectly. The only person I didn't really like was Melora Walters. She was pretty wooden and unconvincing. Besides for her, the acting was pretty good and convincing. No one really did a bad job.

This film was directed and written by both Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. They did make their mistakes but the film is still pretty good. The critics never gave this movie a chance. As soon as they heard Ashton Kutcher was in it, they all prepared to give it thumbs down. The movie moves around a lot that its hard to keep up but it also keeps you paying attention. Plenty of movies have gone back in time before but this one does it so more effectively that its almost original in that sense. The beginning is done well, the middle it starts dragging but it starts picking up and the ending is done extremely well. This is one of the best films of 2004 and certainly an entertaining one. In the end, this underrated gem is worth checking out. Rating 8/10

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