Butterflies Are Free

Synopsis: All Don Baker wants is a place of his own away from his over-protective mother. Don's been blind since birth, but that doesn't stop him from setting up in a San Francisco apartment and making the acquaintance of his off-the-wall, liberated, actress neighbor Jill. Don learns the kind of things from Jill that his mother would never have taught him! And Jill learns from Don what growing up and being free is really all about.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Director(s): Milton Katselas
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
109 min

"I knew the day you met me"

"I could love you if you let me"

"Though you touched my cheek and said how"

"easy you'd forget me"

"On that velvet morning"

"when our love was forming"

"I said it wouldn't hurt me"

"if you left me without warning"

I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

It's warm here.

How is it in Hillsborough?

Well, it's warm here, too.

Hello, Mother.

- How did you know?

- When you call, the phone doesn't ring.

It says,

"M" is for the million things she gave.

"O" is... I forgot what O is for.

You seemed to have forgotten

a lot of things lately.

- How are you feeling?

- I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

Very well. How's the weather?

It's warm here. How's it in Hillsborough?

- Warm.

- It's warm here, too.

- How's the apartment?

- Oh, great! I love it.

- What'd you do last night?

- Last night? I didn't do anything.

I mean, I didn't go out.

I had some friends in.

It was just a little party.

I don't know how many people there were.

Do you have to have a number?

- Twelve and a half. How's that?

- Did they stay late?

They didn't stay too late.

- I'd like to come by and see you.

- No!

Donnie, I'm coming into town

tomorrow, anyway.

- I have to go to Saks.

- I said no, and I mean it.

I don't give a damn, I said no.

Because we had an agreement, that's why.

We agreed to two months.

I have one month left

and I want every minute of it.

Donnie, you are so irritating.

I could absolutely cry.


- What is that noise?

- It's coming from next door.

- Who lives next door?

- A girl.

What's her name?

I don't know. I haven't met her yet.

I can hardly hear you. Call me tomorrow.

Hey! Will you lower your television?

I can't hear you. Wait a minute.

Sorry. I couldn't hear you.

Please lower your television.

You don't have to turn it off.

Just hold it down.

It's not a television. It's a radio.

- Whatever. The walls are like paper.

- I know.

You can practically see through them.

No, not really.

Hey, how about a cup of coffee?

No, thank you. I just had some.

I meant for me.

Yeah, sure. Come on in.


It's open.

Hi. I'm Jill Tanner.

- Don Baker.

- Would you mind zipping up my blouse?

I can't reach back there.

Hope you don't mind my inviting myself in.

Not at all. Water will be hot in a minute.

Your living room is much bigger than mine.


- How long have you been here?

- A month. That's not the living room.

That's the whole apartment

plus the bathroom.

I've got three rooms,

if you count the kitchen.

God, you're neat.

Everything's so tidy.

It's easy when you haven't got anything.

I don't have anything,

but it manages to wind up...

all over the place.

I'm afraid I'm a slob.

Oh, hey, I like your skylight.

I don't have one.

- What's this?

- What?

This thing on stilts.

That's my bed.

Your bed!


This is wild!

You like it?

Oh, it's the greatest bed I've ever seen,

and I've seen a lot of beds.

Did you build it?

No, some hippies lived here before me.

They built it.

Suppose you fall out?

Gee, you could break something.

You could break something

falling out of any bed.

That's true.

I could've had your apartment.

I took this one for the bed.

Cream or sugar?

Just black, thanks.

- Here you go.

- Thanks. This coffee will save my life.

I bought flowers and dumb things

like dishtowels, paper napkins...

but I forgot coffee.

You need any dishtowels or paper napkins?


I got some light bulbs, too.

May I ask you a personal question?

Yeah, sure.

- Why don't you want your mother here?

- How'd you know that?

Well, if you can hear me, I can hear you.

I guess the sound must come right up

from under that door.

What's that door for, anyway?

Your apartment and mine

were once one apartment.

When they converted it into two,

they just locked that instead of sealing it.

- You didn't answer my question.

- I forgot what you asked.

Why don't you want your mother here?

It's a long story.

No, it's a short story.

It's been going on for a long time.

She didn't want me to leave home.

She thinks I can't make it on my own.

Finally, we agreed letting me try it

for two months.

She's to keep away from me

for two months. I got a month to go.

Why did you tell her you had a party?

- You don't miss anything in there, do you?

- Very little.

I always tell her I had a party

or that I went to one.

She wouldn't understand...

why I'd rather be alone,

than keeping her and the cook company.

She's going to hate this place.

She hates it now without even seeing it.

She'll walk in and say,

"I could absolutely cry."

- Does she cry a lot?

- No, just threatens to.

If she really wants to cry,

send her in to look at my place.

At least you're neat.

You know, you're old enough to live alone.

I'm 19.

- How old are you?

- As far as my mother's concerned, I'm 11.

Going on 10.

We must have the same mother.

My mother would love for me to stay

a child all my life so she won't age.

She loves it when people say to her

we look like sisters.

And if they don't say it, she tells them.

Have you got a job?

No, but I play guitar and

I got a few prospects.

I know.

I heard you last night.

- Oh, I'm sorry.

- No. It was good. Really!

I thought it was a record

till I kept hearing it over again.

I can't read music, so I got to learn by ear.

- I'm trying to put together an act.

- And then what?

I'll try to cash in on some of those ideas.

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Leonard Gershe

Leonard Gershe (June 10, 1922 - March 9, 2002) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and lyricist. Born in New York City, Gershe made his Broadway debut as a lyricist for the 1950 revue Alive and Kicking. He wrote the book for Harold Rome's musical stage adaptation of Destry Rides Again in 1959, and in 1969 a play, Butterflies are Free. Later Gershe wrote another play, Snacks, intended for Tony Danza. He wrote the lyrics for the "Born in a Trunk" sequence from the Judy Garland/James Mason musical A Star Is Born. In the 1950s, Gershe wrote ten scripts for the Ann Sothern sitcom Private Secretary. He also wrote a number of episodes of The Lucy Show. His screen credits include Funny Face, 40 Carats, and Butterflies Are Free. According to World of Wonder Gershe had a long-term relationship with composer Roger Edens.Gershe died in Beverly Hills, California from complications from a stroke. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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