6.8/10
7,662
46 user 32 critic

M. Butterfly (1993)

In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling - but Song is not at all who Gallimard thinks.

Director:

David Cronenberg

Writers:

David Henry Hwang (play), David Henry Hwang (screenplay)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Spider (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
Fast Company (1979)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

The famous drag racer Lonnie 'Lucky Man' Johnson is the star of the Fast Company, managed by the corrupt Phil Adamson Lonnie is the mentor of the promising funny car racer Billy 'The Kid' ... See full summary »

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: William Smith, Claudia Jennings, John Saxon
Crash (1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas
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 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
Shivers (1975)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
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
Rabid (1977)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver
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
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
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
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Crimes of the Future details the wanderings of Tripod (Mlodzik), sometime director of a dermatological clinic called the House of Skin, who is searching for his mentor, the mad ... See full summary »

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ronald Mlodzik, Jon Lidolt, Tania Zolty
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... René Gallimard
John Lone ... Song Liling
Barbara Sukowa ... Jeanne Gallimard
Ian Richardson ... Ambassador Toulon
Annabel Leventon Annabel Leventon ... Frau Baden
Shizuko Hoshi Shizuko Hoshi ... Comrade Chin
Richard McMillan Richard McMillan ... Embassy Colleague
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Agent Etancelin
David Hemblen ... Intelligence Officer #1
Damir Andrei Damir Andrei ... Intelligence Officer #2
Antony Parr Antony Parr ... Intelligence Officer #3
Margaret Ma Margaret Ma ... Song's Maid
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... Defense Attorney
Philip McGough Philip McGough ... Prosecution Attorney
David Neal ... Judge
Edit

Storyline

During the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-1960s, a French diplomat falls in love with a singer in the Beijing Opera. Interwoven with allusions to the Puccini opera "Madama Butterfly", a story of love and betrayal unfolds. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and a brief bloody sequence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M. Baterflaj See more »

Filming Locations:

Balassagyarmat, Hungary See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,499,795
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Geffen Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "M. Butterfly" by David Henry Hwang opened on March 20, 1988 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, ran for 777 performances, won the 1988 Tony Award for Best Play and was nominated for the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. See more »

Goofs

The word accordion is misspelled "accordian" in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Ambassador Toulon: The Americans always love to hear how welcome they are.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Directors: The Films of David Cronenberg (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
M. BUTTERFLY: A Unique Love Affair and Political Intrigue
22 January 2012 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

M. BUTTERFLY continues to rank among the more important cinematic adaptations of a brilliant play - this one by the playwright David Henry Hwang. Having the pleasure to see two productions of the play - New York and Los Angeles - and viewing the film (1993) in the theater and on DVD brings an immense amount of satisfaction of just how fine this work is and continues to satisfy. The fact that David Henry Hwang wrote the screenplay suggests how true to the original the film is and how much of an impact it makes on the viewer

M. BUTTERFLY is based on a true story that stunned the world. During the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-1960s, a French diplomat René Gallimard (a brilliant portrayal by Jeremy Irons) falls in love with a Chinese opera singer Song Liling (John Lone) - women were never allowed to sing in the Beijing Opera so the fact that Song is a man is credible. Song Liling touches him with a love as vivid, as seductive--and as elusive--as a butterfly. The love affair is so fragile and respectful that René does not suspect that Song is a man in disguise. René Is an important diplomat with the French Embassy, married to Jeanne (Barbara Sukowa), and is responsible for maintaining the high standards of diplomacy. Song Liling has been placed in the position of an undercover agent to gather secrets from the Embassy about the American plans in Vietnam. As René is promoted he demands to see his M. Butterfly without her clothes, an Song's only protection about her gender identity is to reveal that she is pregnant with René's child and must leave to be with her family until the child is born. As the Cultural Revolution heightens the French Embassy is to be diminished and it is discovered that René has been in a liaison with with a Chinese spy and is sent back to France to be imprisoned. When he is put on trial Song appears in Paris to be placed on the witness stand and since years have passed since their last meeting, Song attempts to offer herself once again to be René's Butterfly. Whether or not René's passion was a flight of fancy, it sparked the most vigorous emotions of his life. Only in real life could love become so unreal. And only in such a dramatic tour de force do we learn how a fantasy can become a man's mistress--as well as his jailer. In a desperately touching final scene we see the imprisoned René perform the final act from the opera that has accompanied this film - Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY.

The story is at once compelling, explosive and slyly humorous, 'a work of unrivaled brilliance, illuminating the conflict between men and women, the differences between East and West, racial stereotypes--and the shadows we cast around our most cherished illusions.' The musical score by Howard Shore integrates arias and choruses from Puccini's opera with music from Chinese opera and his own sensuously beautiful original musical score. David Cronenberg directs with the tight amount of surreal disbelief the piece needs, but it is the brilliant acting of Jeremy Irons and John Lone that illuminate this film. It is a masterwork.

Grady Harp


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 46 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed