7.6/10
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1,143 user 183 critic

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

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2:10 | Trailer
Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.
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1,547 ( 59)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashton Kutcher ... Evan
Melora Walters ... Andrea
Amy Smart ... Kayleigh
Elden Henson ... Lenny
William Lee Scott ... Tommy
John Patrick Amedori ... Evan at 13
Irina Gorovaia ... Kayleigh at 13 (as Irene Gorovaia)
Kevin G. Schmidt ... Lenny at 13
Jesse James ... Tommy at 13
Logan Lerman ... Evan at 7
Sarah Widdows Sarah Widdows ... Kayleigh at 7
Jake Kaese Jake Kaese ... Lenny at 7
Cameron Bright ... Tommy at 7
Eric Stoltz ... Mr. Miller
Callum Keith Rennie ... Jason
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Storyline

Evan Treborn grows up in a small town with his single, working mother and his friends. He suffers from memory blackouts where he suddenly finds himself somewhere else, confused. Evan's friends and mother hardly believe him, thinking he makes it up just to get out of trouble. As Evan grows up he has fewer of these blackouts until he seems to have recovered. Since the age of seven he has written a diary of his blackout moments so he can remember what happens. One day at college he starts to read one of his old diaries, and suddenly a flashback hits him like a brick! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Change one thing, Change everything. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Butterfly Effect See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,100,000, 25 January 2004

Gross USA:

$57,938,693

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$95,707,652
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Evan's cigarette burn scar looks very much like an outline of the Mandelbrot set, often a symbol of Chaos theory at the heart of the butterfly effect. See more »

Goofs

When Evan goes to burn his journals with his buddy in the large metal can, he pours the gasoline into the can and then sets down the gasoline right smack next to the can and proceeds to light the match and watch it go up in flames. Although in Hollywood this clearly is a very dangerous move that could incite an explosion, in real life liquid gasoline doesn't explode. Gasoline must be evaporated to 1-15 ratio to air in order to explode, which is very hard to achieve outside controlled lab environment, despite what numerous Hollywood films show. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[reading aloud as he writes a note]
Evan: If anyone finds this, it means my plan didn't work and I'm already dead. But if I can somehow go back to the beginning of all of this, I might be able to save her.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title, "The Butterfly Effect," is superimposed over a depiction of a butterfly beating its wings, which is itself superimposed upon an X-ray profile of a human brain. See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut contains a few new scenes:
  • Evan discovering that his grandfather had the same gift, and also was considered crazy, like his father
  • Evan and Andrea go to a palm reader that tells Evan he has no lifeline
  • Andrea telling Evan she was pregnant twice before he was born.
  • A scene in the prison where the prisoners publicly read Evan's journals.
  • A scene in the prison where the other prisoners come to rape Evan one night.
  • An extended hospital scene where Evan is visiting sick Andrea.
  • An alternate ending.
See more »

Connections

References The Usual Suspects (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

My Elastic Eye
Written by Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons and Bernard Estardy
Performed by The Chemical Brothers
Courtesy of Virgin Astralwerks Records
Under license from EMI & TV Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Much Better Movie Than You Would Suspect...
21 November 2004 | by hokeybuttSee all my reviews

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT- THEATRICAL CUT (4 outta 5 stars)

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT- DIRECTOR'S CUT (3+ outta 5 stars)

Now normally I tend to prefer movies that let the writer/director tell the story that they want to without having to water it down for mass consumption. In this case I have to say that the ending they they were forced to re-shoot for the theatrical release of this movie is a much more emotional, resonant and appropriate ending than the bleak, cold and grotesque finale they had originally planned. On the US DVDs you get the choice of which version to see (foreign editions only have the less compelling director's version)... so North American viewers can make up their own mind about which ending they prefer. I would suggest watching the theatrical cut first... and then check out the director's cut... which would you prefer to think of as the "real" ending?

As for the movie itself... don't be put off by the idea of Ashton Kutcher in the lead role. He does quite a good job in a serious part quite different from his usual TV persona. He plays a college student who, having been plagued by mental blackouts all his life, devotes himself to the study of human memory. Eventually he finds that by re-reading old journal entries he can will himself back in time to experience the events he had blacked out... and even CHANGE THEM using the knowledge that his older self possesses. Unfortunately one small change in the past causes some HUGE ramifications in his present day world. Can't say too much more about the plot without giving away the many fun surprises. Believable performances and a basic seriousness give the film an urgency that is sometimes missing in modern fantasy films of this type.


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