21 user 18 critic

Butterfly (1982)

In 1937 Nevada, silver mine caretaker Jess Tyler is reunited with his teenage daughter Kady who will do anything to persuade Jess to let her have claim to the mine.


Matt Cimber


James M. Cain (novel), Matt Cimber (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Stacy Keach ... Jess Tyler
Pia Zadora ... Kady Tyler
Orson Welles ... Judge Rauch
Lois Nettleton ... Belle Morgan
Edward Albert ... Wash Gillespie
James Franciscus ... Moke Blue
Stuart Whitman ... Rev. Rivers
June Lockhart ... Mrs. Helen Gillespie
Ed McMahon ... Mr. Gillespie
Paul Hampton ... Norton
George 'Buck' Flower ... Ed Lamey (as Buck Flower)
Ann Dane Ann Dane ... Janey Tyler
Greg Gault Greg Gault ... Bridger
John O'Conner White John O'Conner White ... Billy Roy
Peter Jason ... Allen


Orson Welles, as judge Rauch, holds a lengthy trial against Jess Tyler, a caretaker deserted by his wife ten years before, who's accused of improper relations with his daughter Kady. Complications follows when Wash, father of Kady's baby, comes back to take her away. Written by Adalberto Fornario

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the author who gave you "The Postman Always Rings Twice"..."Double Indemnity"..."Mildred Pierce" ...Now, his most powerful and daring love story comes to the screen! See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

5 February 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mariposa See more »

Filming Locations:

Goldfield, Nevada, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Par-Par Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


There was a controversy surrounding Pia Zadora's win of the Golden Globe for "Best New Star of the Year" - 1982 was the only year the event included such category with both men and women competing it on the same run; previously the Golden Globes had a distinction between New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - Female and New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - Male. This movie and her expensive advertising campaign for the award were financed by then husband Meshulam Riklis, who invited several members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to an expensive trip to Las Vegas to enjoy Riklis hotels, casino and the spectacular live shows. 1983 was the last year the New Star category was used (just like in its original format) and later on was discontinued. See more »


Jess Tyler: [in bar] Ready to go?
Kady Tyler: Have another drink, Jess. I'm gonna be off.
Jess Tyler: Where are you going?
Kady Tyler: Billy Roy's got a brand-new convertible car, and he's gonna take me for a ride.
Jess Tyler: Why?
Kady Tyler: Because sometimes... people need to be made to feel good.
Jess Tyler: [shakes his head] Kade, come...
[but she's going to the two men waiting for her, and he grabs her by the shoulder]
Jess Tyler: Now, Kade!
Billy Roy: Listen, Pa, take it easy, we don't wanna have no trouble.
See more »


Referenced in Laserdisc Memories: The Lonely Lady (2011) See more »


It's Wrong For Me To Love You
Music by Ennio Morricone
Lyrics by Carol Connors
Performed by Pia Zadora
See more »

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User Reviews

Not As Bad As Its Reputation
23 February 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Butterfly (1982)

** (out of 4)

Based on the James M. Cain novel, this film centers on the young Kady Tyler (Pia Zadora) who returns home to live with her father Jess (Stacy Keach) and soon she begins to seduce him. Yeah, you read that right. Zadora made history with this film as she won the Razzie Worst Actress award while at the same time winning the Golden Globe New Star of the Year award. You can read about the controversy behind the Globes win elsewhere but to say this film is normal would be a very big lie. BUTTERFLY isn't nearly as bad or as trashy as its reputation would have you believe. It's not a soft-core porn flick if that's what you're expecting but more of a romantic mystery that probably shouldn't have been made. Those coming to the film to see how horrid Zadora is are also going to be disappointed because I really didn't find her as bad as the film's reputation. It seems she just became a punchline after winning the Golden Globe and while she's certainly not great or even good here, there's no doubt that she's taken way too much heat for the performance. I thought she played that dirty teenager well enough for a film like this. What she lacks is certainly made up by Keach who is actually very good here. I thought he did a very good job at showing the conflict that his male/father character had over the sexual advances of his daughter. Another person who's "bad performance" reputation is somewhat of a lie is that of Orson Welles who plays a judge. I really didn't find him to be bad here and in fact I thought he was quite good and that his performance certainly had a wink to the viewer to it. The film falls flat on a few levels including the running time, which just goes on way too long. The screenplay itself just doesn't have enough interesting moments to help keep the thing entertaining from start to finish. Another problem is that director Matt Cimber just doesn't add enough spark or energy to the picture. BUTTERFLY will probably always been known as a disaster but I think its reputation is quite unfair. It's not a good movie but there are certainly much worse out there.

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