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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
"Le scaphandre et le papillon" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  1 February 2008 (USA)
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The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.



(screenplay), (book)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 79 wins & 71 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Chesnais ...
Le Docteur Lepage
Olatz López Garmendia ...
Marie Lopez
Gérard Watkins ...
Théo Sampaio ...
Fiorella Campanella ...
Talina Boyaci ...


Forty-three year old Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby - Jean-Do to his friends - awakens not knowing where he is. He is in a Berck-sur-Mer hospital, where he has been for the past several weeks in a coma after suffering a massive stroke. Although his cognitive facilities are in tact, he quickly learns that he has what is called locked-in syndrome which has resulted in him being almost completely paralyzed, including not being able to speak. One of his few functioning muscles is his left eye. His physical situation and hospitalization uncomfortably bring together the many people in his life, including: Céline Desmoulins, his ex-lover and mother of his children; Inès, his current lover; and his aged father who he calls Papinou. Among his compassionate recuperative team are his physical therapist Marie, and his speech therapist Henriette. Henriette eventually teaches him to communicate using a system where he spells out words: she reads out the letters of the alphabet in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Let your imagination set you free


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for nudity, sexual content and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 February 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$75,721 (USA) (30 November 2007)


$5,990,075 (USA) (4 April 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Julian Schnabel learned French to make the film. See more »


After Bauby's right eye is sewn shut and hidden behind the opaque lens of his glasses, the angled mirror over his bed reveals it to be open and tracking along with the left eye. See more »


Jean-Dominique Bauby: My diving bell has dragged you down to the bottom of the sea, with me.
See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Summer Special 2008/09 (2008) See more »


Chains of Love
(Davis / Davis / Barnes)
Performed by The Dirtbombs
© EMI Longitude Music
With the authorization of EMI Music Publishing France
(Windswept Pacific Music Ltd) In The Red Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A powerful and emotional journey
22 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY is a jewel of a French film with a story that impacts an audience with an appreciation for life (the butterfly) and for the despair of what may happen if a tragedy might befall you (the diving bell)with the beautiful landscapes of France as a backdrop. The lighting and photography enhance the film, and the faces of the French women are wondrous to behold as the story unfolds on the screen. This film deserves all the accolades that it has received in a story which is spellbinding and emotional. The cast is superb, the scenes that depict the father and son are very real and show the importance of acceptance of father for son, which is carried down to his own children, and the final scenes leave you with a great respect for the writer and his story. Merci beau coup, Ronald Harwood, for delivering this story to the screen.

46 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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was i the only one who was a bit taken back..... ElliottJMead
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