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The Butterfly Effect (2004)

R  |   |  Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  23 January 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 332,538 users   Metascore: 30/100
Reviews: 1,092 user | 182 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A young man blocks out harmful memories of 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.

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1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Change one thing, Change everything. 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:

$17,065,227 (USA) (23 January 2004)


$143,748 (Japan) (13 May 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scene where Evan has no arms was achieved by using two shots: one with an empty bed, and one with Ashton Kutcher lying in the bed with green gloves on his hands (which were erased later). Both shots had identical camera movements. For most films, this would be achieved by using machine-controlled cameras, which can replicate the exact same movement for multiple takes. However, since this film was fairly low-budget, the filmmakers were not able to afford this kind of equipment and the two identical shots were achieved by manually moving the camera while using a stopwatch for reference. Any small changes in the two shots were fixed digitally in post-production. See more »


When Evan kills Tommy, the first few close-ups of Evan show almost no blood splatter (if any) on Evan's shirt and cheek, but in the last shot, when he is being dragged up by security, the blood splatter is very noticeable and prominent. 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.
See more »

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 »


References Dumb & Dumber (1994) See more »


When Animals Attack
Written by Chris King, Dave Wadsworth, Ric Roccapriore, Keith Kaplan and Howard Karp
Performed by Even Rude
Courtesy of PWNETD Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

See it more than once!
4 January 2005 | by (Humlebaek, Denmark) – See all my reviews

The film has never been showed in Denmark, (where I come from) so the press has never reviewed it. It took me 2 times to get the point but when I realized every part of the film, I felt a huge rush! I'm sure when I see it the 3rd time it will be an even bigger experience to me. Every part of the film plays an important role to the main thread. Every details have a role! The film is like reading a poem from the 18th century, where every sentence means something. The director is a pure genius! Those who've criticized the film, should really see it again, because you'll then notice all the details which makes this film excellent! Without a doubt one of the best films I've seen!

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