7.5/10
139,487
312 user 220 critic
Trailer
2:05 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director:

David Cronenberg

Writers:

George Langelaan (short story), Charles Edward Pogue (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
953 ( 9)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Fly II (1989)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

The almost-human son of "Brundlefly" searches for a cure to his mutated genes while being monitored by a nefarious corporation that wishes to continue his father's experiments.

Director: Chris Walas
Stars: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson
Videodrome (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits
The Fly (1958)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price
eXistenZ (1999)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm
Scanners (1981)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
The Dead Zone (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt
The Brood (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle
Naked Lunch (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
The Evil Dead (1981)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Director: John Landis
Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeff Goldblum ... Seth Brundle
Geena Davis ... Veronica Quaife
John Getz ... Stathis Borans
Joy Boushel ... Tawny
Leslie Carlson ... Dr. Cheevers (as Les Carlson)
George Chuvalo ... Marky
Michael Copeman ... 2nd Man in Bar
David Cronenberg ... Gynecologist
Carol Lazare Carol Lazare ... Nurse
Shawn Hewitt Shawn Hewitt ... Clerk
Edit

Storyline

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), a brilliant but eccentric scientist attempts to woo investigative journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) by offering her a scoop on his latest research in the field of matter transportation, which against all the expectations of the scientific establishment have proved successful. Up to a point. Brundle thinks he has ironed out the last problem when he successfully transports a living creature, but when he attempts to teleport himself a fly enters one of the transmission booths, and Brundle finds he is a changed man. This Science-Gone-Mad film is the source of the quotable quote "Be afraid. Be very afraid." Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Help me. Please, help me. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 August 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La mosca See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,007,423, 17 August 1986, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$40,456,565

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,172,594
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While the setting is never explicitly discussed by the characters, the CN Tower, Kensington Market, and various other Toronto landmarks are shown throughout the film. Lingo-savvy viewers will note that the local barfly in the arm-wrestling scene uses the Canadian term "chocolate bars" instead of the American "candy bars." See more »

Goofs

After Veronica and Seth have slept together, Veronica wakes up alone in Seth's bed, apparently naked. Moments later she is walking across the room wearing white panties. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Seth Brundle: What am I working on? Uhh... I'm working on something that will change the world, and human life as we know it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The background for the opening titles consists of an optically distorted, swirling mass of colors, which gradually transform into the opening shot of the film. This is a representation of how biologists believe a fly's vision would appear to a human. See more »

Alternate Versions

A lenghty shot of Brundle using a fly tongue to suck from Stathis Borans's severed foot was filmed but deleted from the final cut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kanye West: Fade (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Help Me
Performed by Bryan Ferry
Written by Nile Rodgers, Bryan Ferry
Nile Rodgers and Bryan Ferry appear through the courtesy by Warner Bro. Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Exceptional Horror
23 March 2007 | by morphion2See all my reviews

Just last week, in one of my Screen Analysis tutorials, our tutor good-naturedly decided that if we were going to be film students we needed to be exposed to disturbing things. What he showed us was an excerpt from an expressionist French film made in the late 20's, the name escapes me. Before we had reached the climactic scene, every one in the class had already guessed it, as we had seen images so far of a man purposely sharpening a razor blade, and then approaching a complacent woman in a chair and holding wide open one of her eyes. At this point one of the girls in the room rather loudly asked of the tutor, jokingly but in something of a shaky voice, "Why are you doing this?"

This question, I think, could well be the definitive mark of really effective horror, and it was certainly in the back of my mind nearly all of last night as I was watching David Cronenberg's "The Fly" for the first time. True horror films, by their nature, should strive to get their audience to ask this question, because it means that they are transcending the illusion of moving pictures and becoming a film – suspending disbelief and getting under your skin. Effectiveness aside, however, I believe that the mark of exceptional horror is when the question stems from a concern for the characters' wellbeing, and not your own. With both these thoughts in mind, I suspect that "The Fly" could well be the second best horror film of all time (behind Kubrick's "The Shining", which, I admit, got to first place by completely different criteria. Such is life, I'm afraid).

Remade from a 1958 concept starring Vincent Price (and later popularized by "The Simpsons"), the film follows a pretty archetypical horror premise: science gone (of course) horribly wrong. In this case, Jeff Goldblum (in his tour-de-force performance) plays Seth Brundle, an independent scientific visionary who has been slowly designing a device that will "change the world as we know it" – a Teleporter. When he shows his invention to romantic interest Veronica (Geena Davis), it is not quite ready to handle living tissue (demonstrated on screen in the first instance of quite confronting gore), but as the two grow a relationship and fall in love, the wrinkles in the technology are ironed out and so Brundle takes one small step for man and tests the machine on himself. Unfortunately, in the process of teleportation, his DNA is mixed up with that of a common housefly, and although not immediately transformed, as in the original, the two species soon begin to genetically merge and transform Brundle into a creature that has never existed before – and for damned good reasons.

Cronenberg, of course, never shortchanges his audience with graphic gore, and even viewed with the critical eye of Generation Y, the film's mid-eighties effects are still quite sickening, none more so than Goldblum's slow physical transformation. What makes this whole affair really outstanding, however, is his psychological transformation: the truly disturbing thing is how front and centre the humanity of these characters and their world is kept. Davis and Goldblum are the heroes in this regard – their chemistry is palpable, and her affection for him struggling against her disgust at what he is becoming, coupled with his own struggle to keep the fly in check, create the kind of riveting discomfort usually only commanded by train-wrecks.

I was, in fact, quite strongly reminded of Darren Aronofsky's 2000 film-adaptation of Hubert Selby's novel "Requiem for a Dream" – although the subject matter differs greatly, both films derive their horror elements most strongly from a place that is completely removed from Horror – and in both examples the source is basically Love. In this sense, the film affects a lot like real life tragedies do, because it begins in a place truly pure and good and unsuspecting, lets its characters discover how wonderful life can be, and then Horror is unjustly, and irrevocably, forced upon them. This is why it is genuinely moving, instead of tacky, when Goldblum resigns to Davis with a regretful and yet matter-of-fact air that "(he is) an insect who dreamt (he) was a man, and loved it. But now the dream is over… and the insect is awake". And in true Cronenberg style, this prophecy becomes quite literal in the third act (think Vincent D'Onofrio in "Men in Black").

Now, in a film that had spent more time on sinister close ups of flies and haunting music cues and not on the bare and essential humanity of the doomed lovers, at this point I probably would have asked "Why are you doing this to me?" and that could have been the end of it – dismissed as senseless disturbing cinema and forgotten. As Cronenberg, Goldblum and Davis have done it, what I asked was "Why are you doing this to them?" And that's the kind of film that you don't ever forget.


30 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 312 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed