24 user 26 critic

Purple Butterfly (2003)

Zi hu die (original title)
Cynthia is a young Chinese woman in love with Itami, a Japanese man about to be sent home for military service.


Ye Lou


Ye Lou
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Ziyi Zhang ... Cynthia / Ding Hui (as Zhang Ziyi)
Ye Liu ... Situ (Szeto)
Yuanzheng Feng Yuanzheng Feng ... Xie Ming
Tôru Nakamura ... Hidehiko Itami
Bingbing Li ... Tang Yiling
Kin Ei Kin Ei ... Yamamoto
Leni Lan Crazybarby Leni Lan Crazybarby ... A zi (as Lan Yan)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Seiichiro Hashimoto Seiichiro Hashimoto ... (as Sciichiro Hashimoto)
Felicia Pullam Felicia Pullam ... Russian Prostitute (as Fellicia Pullam)
Cheryl Xie ... (as Li Xie)
Anlian Yao


Ding Hui is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover... and officer with a secret police unit tasked with dismantling Purple Butterfly. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Cynthia: Let's see who's quicker, who's luckier.
See more »


Could Not Get Your Love
Written by Yao Min (composition), Yan Kuan & Su Wong (lyrics)
Performed by Yao Li
Courtesy of EMI Music Publishing Hong Kong
See more »

User Reviews

Purple Butterfly-a look at Neo-Realism today
14 August 2006 | by lisalaurineSee all my reviews

While the story might give one an eye sore and a headache having to keep up with the multiple characters in the storyline, there is an air of independent film-making that transcends the film's confusion. One should also note how excellent the camera-work is for those who enjoy the Italian Neo-realist films of the 1940's and 50's.

This film is perhaps one of the most interesting of films on Chinese history told from the perspective of the Chinese themselves. The background, actors, crowded train stations and gunfights, would seem difficult to recreate in an independent film. However, the director succeeds in creating 1930's Japanese occupied Shanghai and how war affects those who are involved, both politically & non-politically. For anyone who hasn't seen a film from China other than the heavily laden Kung Fu movies made here in the U.S., Purple Butterfly is both a refresher and an excellent look at Neo-Realism in Chinese Cinema today.

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China | France


Mandarin | Japanese | Vietnamese

Release Date:

17 September 2004 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

紫蝴蝶 See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,970, 28 November 2004

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

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