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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 332,722 users   Metascore: 30/100
Reviews: 1,093 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?


Elden Henson shot all of the later "normal" scenes with his character first because he had to gain around twenty pounds in one month for the later timelines in which his character is crazy. He was to look bigger as crazy Lenny and thinner as normal Lenny. To the filmmaker's amazement he accomplished this. See more »


Evan wakes up in the institution and gets down on the floor looking for his notebooks. The shot of him on the floor shows his bed sheet and blanket hanging off the side of the bed making contact with the floor. In the following shot the sheet and blanket are no longer hanging off the side. 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 »


Referenced in Happy Endings: The Butterfly Effect Effect (2012) See more »


Heroin Hate
Written by Level and Buka
Performed by AP2
Courtesy of Tooth and Nail Records
By arrangement with Position Soundtrack Services
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Outstanding !
2 August 2008 | by (Qatar) – See all my reviews

First of all, a fair warning to EVERYONE... this movie is NOT for all audiences. The "R" rating was very well earned in this one; you'll be thinking about how seriously twisted the movie dares to go LONG after you leave.

If you are mature enough to get past the fact that this movie introduces themes that most movies nowadays are too hesitant to venture into, this movie is a beautiful and moving piece of art.

I, like maybe most everyone that went to see it, went off of the trailer that it was just another "going back in time to change the future" movie, which has been done before.

This one is COMPLETELY different.

The Butterfly Effect starts actually in the early stages of each character's life, which I think is effective. You don't really see Ashton Kutcher or Amy Smart until about 30 minutes into the movie, and just when you think the movie won't get any more sick and twisted... you figure out what's ACTUALLY going on during Evan's childhood blackouts.

Every character is built from the ground up, and they maintain true to the plot, even if their roles get switched up a bit.

Some might say that special effects weren't really needed for this movie, but its the special effects that make this all believable.

Every actor in this movie pulls off their parts just right (I feel sorry for the kid that plays Tommy.. I won't throw a spoiler - see it!), and they all come together to make a masterpiece. I was surprised this movie got so many bad reviews.

If you throw the fact that time-travel isn't possible, and that there will always be obvious plot holes in a movie such as this one, and are ready for an emotional roller coaster (you'll either cry or grimace about twice the amount of times you crack a smile), go see this beautiful movie.

Entertainment: 9.0/10

Overall score: 9.5/10

106 of 124 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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