Papillon

1973

Action / Biography / Crime / Drama

141
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91%
IMDb Rating 8 10 113357

Synopsis


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Cast

Steve McQueen as Henri 'Papillon' Charriere
Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega
Dalton Trumbo as Commandant
Bill Mumy as Lariot
1080p.BLU
2.16 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 31 min
P/S 6 / 104

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by thinker1691 10 / 10

" How did you know I had dry leprosy? . . . . I didn't"

Henri 'Papillon' Charriere, was a lifetime inmate under the French government's harsh penal system in French Guiana. In his declining years he wrote his memoirs describing his years of incarceration, his cruel mistreatment and daring, multiple escapes. Weather or not he was the actual character of his own book, is disputed to this day. But the fact that he was an inmate is true enough and fits in with the actual site which came to be known as 'Devil's Island.' Court records indicate that Henri Charriere (Steve McQueen) later called " Papillon " which is french for Butterfly, was indeed a minor burglar and safe cracker. His claim he was innocent of murder, may be true enough, due to an unreliable source accusing him in court, yet producing little supporting evidence. Nevertheless, the infamous thief was given a twenty year sentence, which was extended due to his numerous escapes. During his imprisonment, he becomes lifelong friends with an equally famous treasury forger named Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman). Don Gordon (a real life friend of McQueen) plays Julot, an experienced prisoner with his own intentions of escape. Anthony Zerbe is hideously interesting as Toussaint, a ravaged leper, who aids escaping prisoners. The entire film is one remarkable story and becomes an incredible journey, one which transcends the screen and offers audiences, the raw reality of life under the most severe and brutal penal systems in the world. The infamous 'Devil's Island ' today has become synonymous with a hellish place of unspeakable conditions. A fantastic movie for those in search of true-life Classic. ****

Reviewed by ccthemovieman-1 9 / 10

A Fine Film Which Does The Book Justice

Usually, after reading a long book filled with many interesting adventures, watching a two-hour film later winds up being a big disappointment. There is no way a film can give you anywhere near the info you glean from a book, especially one over 500 pages as is the case with "Papillion." Yet, despite most of Henri Charriere's incredible feats of survival, ("Papillion" was Charriere's nickname) this movie is above average and basically does the book justice. The movie runs about two-and-a-half hours and gives enough of a flavor to have the viewer appreciate - at least to some degree - the brutal trials and tribulations Papillion went through in real life.

If you enjoyed this film, the book is a "must-read" for you and very highly-recommend You won't believe all the things Charriere experienced: good and bad. In real life, the man escaped something like eight times and each time went through hell.

Steve McQueen, playing "Papillion," was excellent. He was particularly good at showing the physical effects of years of solitary confinement. By the way, in real life, Charriere was much younger went sent to jail than McQueen was at the time this movie was shot. Papillion should have been played by a younger actor, but who's going to complain when you get an actor of McQueen's caliber?

Dustin Hoffman also was great as Papillion's friend, "Louis Dega," who had a bigger role in the movie than he did in the book. For the most part, Papillion had a number of friends, all helping him over the years. Hoffman also provided some good comic relief to the movie and, heaven knows, it needed it. Take it from someone who has read the book: this is a grim story, worse than what you saw on screen here.

Nevertheless, thanks to the two leading actors and the wonderful work by Director Franklin Schaffner and Cinematograher Fred Koenekamp, this long film entertained. No, it wasn't the caliber of the book, but it's didn't insult it, either, and is definitely worth a look.

Reviewed by classicsoncall 8 / 10

"Forget France, and put your clothes on."

"Papillon" is the kind of movie that shows to what lengths persevering men will go to, to achieve freedom. I've not read the Henri Charriere novel that was the basis for the film, though I'm guided in that direction by the film and other reviewers here. Just contemplating the horrors of being an inmate at St. Laurent Prison is enough to make one ill; seeing some of them depicted is downright nauseating. Eating bugs and going dark in solitary is not a pleasant prospect.

Steve McQueen is excellent in one of his career defining roles, and it was interesting to see hints of Ratso Rizzo ("Midnight Cowboy") and the future Raymond Babbitt ("Rain Man") in Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of Louie Dega. The one disconnect I had with the picture though was with Dega's reputation as the best counterfeiter in France. Bereft of any possessions in prison, especially when banished to a French Guiana penal colony, what resources did he have to produce all the currency Papillon used for his various bribes? An additional scene or two, even brief ones, might have shed some light on that.

But overall, this is an engaging film with an established star of the era (McQueen), and a notable celebrity in the making (Hoffman). It's taken me a long while to get around to this picture and now I'm glad I did. If this is anyone's first look at McQueen, be sure to take note of those incredibly blue eyes of his. They're almost unnatural.

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