7.1/10
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153 user 119 critic

Naked Lunch (1991)

R | | Drama | 24 April 1992 (UK)
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
Reviews
Popularity
4,446 ( 81)

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13 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Weller ... Bill Lee
Judy Davis ... Joan Frost / Joan Lee
Ian Holm ... Tom Frost
Julian Sands ... Yves Cloquet
Roy Scheider ... Dr. Benway
Monique Mercure ... Fadela
Nicholas Campbell ... Hank
Michael Zelniker ... Martin
Robert A. Silverman ... Hans
Joseph Scoren ... Kiki (as Joseph Scorsiani)
Peter Boretski ... Creature Voices / Exterminator #2
Yuval Daniel Yuval Daniel ... Hafid
John Friesen ... Hauser
Sean McCann ... O'Brien
Howard Jerome Howard Jerome ... A.J. Cohen
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Storyline

Not an adaptation of beat writer William S. Burrough's novel but a mix of biography and an interpretation of his drug- induced writing processes combined with elements of his work in this paranoid fantasy about Bill Lee, a writer who accidentally shoots his wife, whose typewriter transforms into a cockroach and who becomes involved in a mysterious plot in North African port called Interzone. Wonderfully bizarre, not unlike Burrough's books. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The book was banned. The film should never have been made. Too late. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for heavy drug content, bizarre eroticism, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | Japan

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

24 April 1992 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,491, 29 December 1991

Gross USA:

$2,641,357

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,641,357
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Spain, after seven years, it was only released in Barcelona (Méliés Cinemes, November 1998) in a subtitled version. Later, in 2007, the movie was an official release limited in other provinces, also in a subtitled version. See more »

Goofs

The glass shot off Judy Davis' head changes to a plastic glass. First instance as the glass is falling off her head after the shot and then at end of film it is a plastic glass Ms Davis balances on her head. It remains plastic until it falls to floor and changes back into glass. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bill Lee: Exterminator.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear of the Flesh: The Making of 'The Fly' (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballad
Composed by Ornette Coleman
Performed by Ornette Coleman (as The Ornette Coleman Trio)
See more »

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User Reviews

Superb adaptation!
21 August 2001 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

I'm always dubious when books I love are made into movies. They never QUITE translate and something is always lost. The idea of filming 'Naked Lunch' is even more difficult than usual, because it isn't really a novel with a coherent, chronological narrative, more a sequence of surreal, absurdly dark and funny "skits". As such it would be impossible to make a successful movie out of the raw material Burroughs created. Luckily Cronenberg (and who would have been better equipped to make this?) has cannily blended scenes from the book with incidents inspired by William Burroughs real life, and made it work. Very well.

Fans of Burroughs are sure to be more satisfied with this than the more literal and less imaginative 'Beat'. Non-fans will hopefully be inspired to read Burroughs' work after watching this. Peter Weller is perfectly cast as Bill Lee, and the supporting cast are also fine. I like most of Cronenberg's output, and I would rate 'Naked Lunch' as one of his most successful movies, and the best depiction so far of the Beat sensibility.


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