Butterfield 8 (Movie)

Title — Butterfield 8
Available on — Google Play Movies, YouTube, Apple TV, Movies Anywhere
Production Country — United States
Release Date — 1960
Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar as Gloria Wandrous, a stylish call girl who yearns to go straight, especially after she thinks she's found Mr. Right.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

“Butterfield 8” is a captivating portrayal of the turbulent life of Gloria Wandrous, played by the iconic Elizabeth Taylor. The movie, based on John O’Hara’s novel and loosely inspired by socialite Starr Faithfull, delves into the complexities of desire and morality in 1960s New York.

The story unfolds as Gloria wakes up in the lavish apartment of wealthy executive Weston Liggett, played by Laurence Harvey, only to find herself entangled in a web of seduction and betrayal. Despite her glamorous facade as a model and socialite, Gloria grapples with inner turmoil, torn between her desires and her conscience.

As Gloria navigates a world of indulgence and excess, she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic married man, Steve Carpenter, portrayed by Eddie Fisher. Their forbidden affair sets off a chain of events that lead to tragic consequences, challenging Gloria to confront the consequences of her choices.

Directed by Daniel Mann, “Butterfield 8” offers a raw and intimate look into Gloria’s unraveling psyche, highlighting the tension between societal expectations and personal freedom. The film’s sensuality is juxtaposed with the underlying melancholy of Gloria’s inner struggle, creating a poignant narrative that explores the complexities of human nature.

Elizabeth Taylor’s performance as Gloria Wandrous earned her the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress, solidifying her reputation as a powerhouse in Hollywood. The movie’s poignant ending leaves audiences with a haunting question of redemption and self-discovery, as Gloria’s journey comes full circle.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, Eddie Fisher, Dina Merrill, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, Jeffrey Lynn, Susan Oliver

Actor Role
Elizabeth Taylor Gloria Wandrous
Laurence Harvey Weston Liggett
Eddie Fisher Steve Carpenter
Dina Merrill Emily Liggett
Mildred Dunnock Mrs. Wandrous
Betty Field Mrs. Francis Thurber, friend of Mrs. Wandrous
Jeffrey Lynn Bingham Smith
Kay Medford Happy
Susan Oliver Norma
George Voskovec Dr. Tredman

💬 Reviews and feedback

Lights, camera, action! Grab your popcorn and settle in for a glamorous ride as we dive into the world of the classic movie “Butterfield 8.”

Imagine a blend of drama, romance, and scandal swirling together like a martini in this 1960s film. Starring the iconic Elizabeth Taylor as Gloria Wandrous, a Manhattan call girl with a penchant for living on the edge, “Butterfield 8” takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions through the bustling streets of New York City.

The plot unfolds as Gloria finds herself entangled in a tragic affair with a wealthy married man, played by Laurence Harvey. As their worlds collide and passion ignites, the consequences of their forbidden love send shockwaves through their lives.

Now, let’s dissect this cinematic gem piece by piece and see what makes “Butterfield 8” shine brighter than a Broadway marquee.

Acting and Characters:

Elizabeth Taylor’s performance as Gloria is nothing short of mesmerizing. She flawlessly embodies the character’s complexity, balancing vulnerability with strength in every scene. Taylor’s portrayal captures Gloria’s inner turmoil and external allure with such finesse that it leaves you spellbound. Laurence Harvey complements her effortlessly, bringing depth to their tumultuous relationship. The chemistry between the two leads crackles on screen, drawing you into their world of passion and heartache.

Binge-watching Tip: Keep an eye out for Taylor’s captivating screen presence and subtle nuances in her acting that elevate Gloria from a mere character to an unforgettable icon.

Direction and Cinematography:

Under Daniel Mann’s direction, “Butterfield 8” exudes an air of sophistication intertwined with raw emotion. The film beautifully captures the essence of 1960s New York City, showcasing its vibrancy and allure while also delving into its darker corners. The cinematography paints each frame with elegance and grit, mirroring Gloria’s own juxtaposition of glamour and despair. Every shot is meticulously crafted to draw you deeper into the characters’ inner worlds.

Binge-watching Tip: Pay attention to how Mann uses lighting and framing to enhance the mood of each scene, creating a visual feast for cinephiles.

Production Design and Special Effects:

From luxurious penthouses to seedy bars, the production design in “Butterfield 8” transports you back to a bygone era of elegance and excess. The attention to detail in recreating 1960s New York is commendable, immersing you in a world where opulence meets decay. The seamless integration of special effects adds an extra layer of authenticity to the setting, making every moment feel palpably real.

Binge-watching Tip: Take note of the set decorations and costumes that reflect each character’s personality and status within society—a visual feast for vintage fashion enthusiasts!

Score and Editing:

The musical score in “Butterfield 8” sets the mood perfectly for each scene, heightening tension or romance with its evocative melodies. The editing keeps the pace brisk yet allows moments of quiet introspection to shine through. Transitions between scenes are seamless, guiding you effortlessly through Gloria’s tumultuous journey without missing a beat.

Binge-watching Tip: Listen closely to how the score enhances emotional beats throughout the film—it’s like music to your ears!

Dialogues and Pace:

The dialogues in “Butterfield 8” pack a punch—sharp, witty, and at times cutting like a knife. Each line reveals layers of nuance in character dynamics and drives the narrative forward with precision. The pacing keeps you engaged from start to finish, never letting go of your attention as Gloria navigates through love, loss…

And that’s why “BUtterfield 8” is worth your time! Overall rating: 8/10

So grab your favorite cocktail (shaken or stirred), dim…

Pros Cons
Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar-winning performance Widely dismissed by critics
Box-office success Dated treatment of sex
Entertaining classic melodrama Absurd ending
Intimate and sexy film Shallow intimacy
Enjoyable storyline Rough and O’Harrowing dialogue
Strong portrayal of New York call girl Some critics found it turgid and nonsensical


  • BUtterfield 8 - Wikipedia

    BUtterfield 8is a 1960 American drama film directed by Daniel Mann, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. Taylor won her first Academy Award for her performance in a leading role. The film was based on a 1935 novel of the same name by John O’Hara.

    BUtterfield 8
    Directed by Daniel Mann
    Screenplay by
    Based on BUtterfield 8

    by John O’Hara

  • BUtterfield 8 (1960) - IMDb

    `The most desirable girl in town is the easiest to find. Just call Butterfield-8!’ So trumpeted the posters of this, Elizabeth Taylor’s first Oscar winning performance. The film is a modernization of the 1935 novel by John O’Hara, which was based on the real life of the 1920’s New York City call girl Starr Faithful.Miss Taylor was dead set against playing Gloria Wandrous. She felt was a deliberate play by M.G.M. to capitalize on her recent notoriety in the Liz-Eddie-Debbie scandal. Also, she was anxious to move on to her first ever million-dollar role in Fox’s Cleopatra. She was told by M.G.M that if she did not fulfill her contractual obligation to her home studio for one final film on her eighteen year contract that she would be kept off the screen for two years and miss making Cleopatra all together. She swore to the producer Pandro S. Berman that she would not learn her lines, not be prepared and in fact not give anything more and a walk through. Mr. Berman knew her better than she suspected. In the end Elizabeth Taylor turned in a professional, classic old style Hollywood performance that ranks at the top with the best of her work. She brings a savage rage to live to her searing portrait of a lost girl soaked through with sex and gin. A woman hoping against all hope to find salvation in yet one last man. Weston Leggett, a man who is worse off than she is in the self-esteem department. In her frantic quest for a clean new life Gloria finds that the male establishment will not allow her to step out of her role as a high priced party girl. She is pigeon holed by her past and the narrow mores of the late 50’s are not about to let her fly free. Not the bar-buzzards of Wall Street, not her best friend Steve who abandons her at his girlfriend’s insistence. Not even her shrink Dr. Treadman believes in her. The three women in her life are blind to who she really is. Her mother will not admit what Gloria has become. Mrs. Thurber will not believe she can ever change and Happy, the motel proprietor is too self involved in her own past to care who Gloria is She is the dark Holly Golightly and this is the lurid red jelled Metro-Color Manhattan that is the flip side of Billy Wilder’s The Apartment (also 1960). Wilder’s New York is cynical. Liz’s tony East Side phone exchange rings only one way, the hard way. This New York is dammed. Recrimination and death are Gloria’s final tricks, and she goes out in a melodramatic blaze that Douglas Sirk might have envied in place of his usually unsettling, unconvincing happy endings. In the end we have a bravura performance by the last true star of the old system. Yes she deserved the Oscar more for `Cat’. Yes it was given to welcome her back from the brink of death in London. And even Shirley MacLaine’s lament on Oscar night, `I lost the Oscar to a tracheotomy.’ can not diminish this must see performance by Miss Taylor.In what one could call a perfect example of what an `Oscar scene’ is all about she says it all. `I loved it! Every awful moment of it I loved. That’s your Gloria, Steve. That’s your precious Gloria!’ She gave it to us with both barrels blazing, and Metro, and Berman be dammed.

  • BUtterfield 8 (1960) - Plot - IMDb

    • A beautiful New York model and socialite enjoys a very active night-life, but all things change when she falls for a married man and the consequences are tragic.
    • Gloria Wondrous awakens in a luxurious bedroom that’s not hers. She swallows a jolt of distilled courage, tosses aside $250 left by an admirer, leaves a scornful reply in lipstick on the mirror, dials her service for messages and slips into a mink coat she finds in the closet. The day and the movie are off to a roaring start. Moviegoers and Hollywood left a message of “Hurrah!” for Elizabeth Taylor and Butterfield 8. Audiences made the film, co-starring Laurence Harvey and Eddie Fisher as a married lover and platonic friend who matter to Gloria, a box-office hit. And Taylor won her first Best Actress Academy Award as a woman whose life comes with a complete set of emotional baggage. For a glossy, good time, don’t call. Watch.
    • Beautiful Gloria Wandrous (Dame Elizabeth Taylor), a New York City fashion model engages in an illicit affair with married socialite Weston Amsbury Liggett (Laurence Harvey). However, Gloria’s desire for respectability causes her to reconsider her lifestyle.—alfiehitchie
    • The movie opening credits play, while we watch a sleeping Gloria (Elizabeth Taylor) snoozing in the morning. She wakes up, and surveys her surroundings purposefully – in search of a morning cigarette. Making do with a glass of scotch instead, she meanders through the apartment, brushing her teeth, washing her face, going through a closet and trying on a mink coat for size. As she goes to into the living room, she finds her dress torn on the floor. With a sigh, she heads toward her purse on the table, and finds a note for her with some cash. “Gloria – I hope $250.00 is enough. -L”Anger washes over her face, as she reels away from the note. Lipstick in hand, she scrawls “No Sale” on a large mirror in the living room, and leaves the cash on the mantle. She leaves a few dollars next to the scotch bottle to pay for her drink, and leaves the posh apartment in only her slip and the fur coat.After hailing a taxi to a more middle-class area, she knocks on the door of her friend, Steve Carpenter, a composer. At his piano, he makes sarcastic comments as Gloria parades around the apartment. She takes off the coat and teases him – he quietly tenses and commands her to put the coat back on. Gloria persists in teasing him, flirting with him, until she sees that he is being very serious. She puts on the coat, and is about to leave – making sure to proclaim that he is “the only person [she] can be honest with.” He replies back that he wishes she wouldn’t – he doesn’t want to have to see her throw away her life like this. After making to leave – he finally calls her back. Both forgiving, he makes coffee and breakfast for both of them. She coyly says that she’ll need something to wear home, and that her mother will be appalled if she goes home dressed – or rather undressed – like that. Steve says that he is sure that her mother will not be surprised – but Gloria insists that though her mother is probably aware of her nightlife, they both quietly ignore it. She finally convinces him to call up his girlfriend Norma to bring over a suit for her.Norma arrives with the suit, but is not too pleased to be seeing Gloria in the morning. The hatred is clear on both parts, but eventually, Gloria leaves while blowing Steve an antagonizing kiss. After she leaves, Norma makes her displeasure known to Steve and after a quick argument, proclaims that she can’t be with him while he’s in love with Gloria. Though he protests, she leaves, saying that it is her or Gloria.Gloria arrives home in her little red two-seater car, to her mother’s extreme delight. The neighbor is over having a cup of tea with Gloria’s mom, and doesn’t miss an opportunity to direct a sarcastic and biting comment to Gloria when the chance comes. Gloria tells her mother that she spent the night at Norma’s apartment, which the neighbor scoffs at. While Gloria goes to shower, she gets a call from Butterfield 8 (the phone code used to call the upper east side in the 1960s), connecting Mr. Ligget to her. He had come home to see the lipstick, and wants to meet up with her tonight if she is able. She says that she’ll be in the neighborhood, and hangs up.Meanwhile, Weston Ligget, known as “Wes,” travels upstate New York by train with his friend, whom he formerly worked with in a law practice. The friend can tell that Wes is troubled, and after Wes complains about married life, he tells him that he is a first-class heel. He offers him a job at the law firm again, whenever Wes would like, but Wes seems resigned to his job – which soon is revealed to be a leading role in his wife’s family chemical company.Wes arrives at his wife’s family home, and shoots skeet with his wife Emily. She has been staying with her mother while the mother was ill, but Wes did not join her. As they shoot, it is clear that Wes is determined on self-deprecation, making it clear that he is merely a face, with no power, at the chemical company. Emily, unsure how to react, only tries to cheer him up.That night, Weston Ligget waits at a bar in New York for Gloria to meet him. She arrives, and the chill between them fills the air. Her pride has been hurt by the morning money, but he is persistent in chasing her. After a heated exchange, he grabs her wrist hard. They quietly struggle, him twisting her wrist, while she digs her high heel right into his foot. Both grimacing in pain, he finally relents and lets go. She follows suit, but still stares defiantly at him. She finally says that she has to work – she is being paid to visit three different bars wearing the dress she had on. He agrees to go with her.They manage to visit two of the bars, with Wes sitting and scowling at Gloria, chatting with the men at the bar, and being photographed with them. As they leave the second, he tells her that he is “no chauffeur,” but she reminds him that he called for her, and not the other way around. Anger turns to passion, and they decide to go to a motel, “Happy’s Motel,” that is owned by an older vaudeville starlet.Back at Steve’s apartment, a man is picking up the newly written sheet music for a play. Norma enters as the man leaves – she is hopeful that it is because Steve has given up on Gloria. When she opens up the closet to leave her coat, she sees that the mink coat Gloria had “borrowed” from Emily is still hanging there. Knowing that Steve is still friends with Gloria, she goes to leave. Steve insists on explaining his relationship with Gloria once and for all — they had been kids growing up together. Gloria’s father died when she was really young, and Steve felt like it was his duty to look after her, and take care of her. If he didn’t, who would – Norma seemed to understand, but still couldn’t handle it being three in the relationship, instead of two.The next day, Gloria and Wes breakfast at a nearby diner, and they decide to spend the week together, exploring. After this, they travel to the place where Wes was born, spending a day on his old boat, acting as if he wasn’t married, and she wasn’t a tramp. On the final day, they are walking down Fifth Avenue, and Gloria has them stop in a men’s shop. She buys an attache case, and has the clerk monogram it with the initials “S.C.” for Steve Carpenter. Clearly jealous, Wes snubs Gloria, until Gloria reveals that she had also bought a present for him earlier, and it was waiting at the shop — a gold lighter engraved with “BU8” They kiss, and then Wes confesses that he has to leave her to see his wife, who was returning that night. Gloria said that she always knew this would happen, and said that she had to see her friend Steve for his birthday – and to give him the case. When he goes to hang her coat, she gasps when she sees the mink still hanging in the closet. She explains “She’s coming home today!” as she runs out of the apartment, determined to return the mink before she comes back.As Gloria pulls up in her car to Wes’s apartment, she walks up to the door as Emily arrives. The doorman greets Emily as Mrs. Ligget, and Gloria looks astonished at her. She quickly loses her nerve, and runs back to her car, and speeds off.Wes arrives home later, and greets his wife. Emily mentions that her mink is missing – Wes had not known that the coat was gone. At first he doesn’t know how – but then he realizes that it had to have been Gloria. He quickly turns into a rage – refuses to allow Emily to call the police, and says that he will hire a private investigator to find the coat. Emily – confused and worried about his behavior – tries to reassure him that she will do whatever he wants, as his wife. He leaves in a hurry, to go out and find Gloria. He searches all of her favorite haunts, the bars, the clubs. He calls her, but no answer. While at one of the last bars he checks, some friends greet him. They see t
  • BUtterfield 8 (1960) - Turner Classic Movies

    BUtterfield 8(1960), and they’d end her contract with it.John O’Hara’s 1935 novelBUtterfield 8was based on the life and death of a real-life call girl named Starr Faithfull. Because of the restrictions of the Production Code, the novel had never been filmed, and even in 1959 some changes had to be made before it could be filmed. The film makes the call girl a “model,” although it makes it clear she’s a nymphomaniac and an alcoholic. The story focuses on her doomed affair with a married man, and grants them both a sort of redemption through the story’s tragic outcome.Taylor’s conditions for agreeing to make

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the 1960 film “Butterfield 8,” Elizabeth Taylor takes on the role of Gloria Wandrous, a character inspired by the real-life tragic story of Starr Faithfull. The movie revolves around Gloria’s tumultuous life and relationships, portraying her as a glamorous but troubled woman caught in a web of societal expectations and personal struggles.

The storyline follows Gloria Wandrous as she navigates the complexities of her life, including her affairs with married men and her own internal conflicts. Laurence Harvey plays Weston Liggett, a wealthy playboy who becomes entangled with Gloria. Eddie Fisher portrays Steve Carpenter, a man who genuinely cares for Gloria despite her turbulent lifestyle. Dina Merrill appears as Emily Liggett, adding another layer to the intricate relationships depicted in the film.

Set against the backdrop of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the movie captures the essence of upper-class society in the 1960s. The title “Butterfield 8” refers to a telephone exchange associated with an answering service catering to the affluent neighborhoods of New York City. This exchange number symbolizes the privileged world Gloria inhabits and the facade she presents to society.

Filming locations include City Island in the Bronx, Stony Point, and West Nyack in Rockland County, New York, adding a touch of authenticity to the on-screen portrayal. The chemistry between Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey is palpable, bringing depth to their characters’ interactions and emotions.

Upon its release, “Butterfield 8” received mixed reviews from critics. While some praised Elizabeth Taylor’s performance as captivating and Oscar-worthy, others criticized the film for its shallow narrative and questionable melodrama. Despite the varied reception, the movie proved to be a financial success for MGM, becoming the studio’s top-grossing film of the year.

In conclusion, “Butterfield 8” stands as a classic Hollywood drama that delves into themes of love, desire, and societal expectations. Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal of Gloria Wandrous shines as a poignant reflection of a woman struggling to find her place in a world filled with contradictions and complexities.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:

Butterfield 8 (1960) is rated R for mature themes, including references to prostitution, infidelity, and tragic consequences, as well as some scenes of sensuality and substance use.

Parental Guide:

Parents should be aware that Butterfield 8 contains mature content that may not be suitable for younger viewers. Here is a detailed breakdown of the elements parents may want to consider:

  • Sex & Nudity: The film includes themes of prostitution, infidelity, and sexual relationships. There are scenes of sensuality, kissing, and implied sexual activity.
  • Violence & Gore: The movie features tragic consequences, including a character’s death by falling under a paddle wheel. There are also instances of physical confrontations and emotional turmoil.
  • Profanity: Some mild to moderate language is used throughout the film.
  • Substance Use: Characters are shown consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes in various scenes.

Due to the mature themes and content, it is recommended that Butterfield 8 is suitable for viewers aged 17 and above. Parents are advised to preview the film and consider the themes and content before allowing younger audiences to watch.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Google Play Movies You can purchase or rent ‘Butterfield 8’ on Google Play Movies.
YouTube You can watch ‘Butterfield 8’ on YouTube.
Apple TV You can watch ‘Butterfield 8’ on Apple TV.
Movies Anywhere You can purchase ‘Butterfield 8’ on Movies Anywhere and stream instantly or download offline.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • I was the slut of all time!
    Elizabeth Taylor
  • Mama, face it. I was the slut of all time.
    Gloria Wandrous

🤖Butterfield 8 Reddit Talks

Opinions on Butterfield 8

Despite Elizabeth Taylor winning an Oscar for her performance in the 1960 film Butterfield 8, the movie received mixed reviews from critics. Some praised Taylor’s performance, while others dismissed the film as a melodramatic and bowdlerized adaptation of John O’Hara’s novel. Despite the negative reviews, the film was a box-office success, partly due to Taylor’s star power.

Elizabeth Taylor’s Performance

Elizabeth Taylor’s performance in Butterfield 8 is often cited as one of her best. She plays Gloria Wandrous, a high-class call girl who falls in love with a married man. Taylor brings a raw and emotional intensity to the role, capturing Gloria’s vulnerability and desperation. Many critics believe that Taylor’s performance is the only thing that saves the film from being a complete disaster.

The Film’s Critics

Critics of Butterfield 8 argue that the film is a melodramatic and clichéd soap opera. They point to the film’s predictable plot, unrealistic characters, and heavy-handed moralizing. Some critics also argue that the film’s depiction of prostitution is outdated and offensive.

The Film’s Defenders

Defenders of Butterfield 8 argue that the film is a well-made melodrama that provides a realistic and sympathetic portrayal of a woman struggling with addiction and self-destructive behavior. They also argue that Taylor’s performance is one of the best of her career.

Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar Win

Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar win for Butterfield 8 is often cited as one of the biggest upsets in Academy Award history. Many critics believe that Taylor should have won for one of her previous nominations, such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Suddenly, Last Summer. However, Taylor’s performance in Butterfield 8 is undeniable, and it is clear that the Academy was impressed by her work.


Butterfield 8 is a flawed film, but it is also a fascinating one. Elizabeth Taylor’s performance is one of the best of her career, and it is worth watching the film just to see her in action. However, viewers should be aware that the film is a melodrama, and it is not for everyone.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

What is the plot of the movie Butterfield 8?

Butterfield 8 is a tragic tale loosely based on the life of socialite Starr Faithfull. It follows the story of Gloria Wandrous, a promiscuous New York model, who gets entangled in a tragic affair with a wealthy married man, leading to dire consequences.

Is Butterfield 8 based on a true story?

Butterfield 8 is inspired by the real-life events surrounding Starr Faithfull, although the movie takes creative liberties with the story. The film is a cinematic adaptation of the 1935 novel of the same name by John O’Hara.

Why did Elizabeth Taylor win an Oscar for Butterfield 8?

Elizabeth Taylor secured her first Academy Award for her outstanding performance in a leading role in Butterfield 8. Her portrayal of Gloria Wandrous, a complex and troubled character, resonated with audiences and critics alike.

Who played Elizabeth Taylor’s mother in Butterfield 8?

In Butterfield 8, Mildred Dunnock delivered a stellar performance as Elizabeth Taylor’s on-screen mother. Her portrayal added depth and emotion to the relationship dynamics within the movie.

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