A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Indian Chief
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Julot
...
Toussaint
Robert Deman ...
Maturette
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Clusiot
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Lariot
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Dr. Chatal
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Zoraima
...
Warden Barrot
...
Pascal
...
Antonio
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Sergeant (as Victor Tayback)
...
Guard
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Storyline

Henri "Papillon" Charierre is sentenced to life in prison and transported to the penal in French Guyana. Aboard ship on the voyage over, he meets Louis Dega, a forger. They form a bond that will last them a great many years. The conditions at the penal colony are horrific and Papillon desperately wants to escape. His first attempt ends quickly in failure and as a result he spends 2 years in solitary confinement. His next attempt is somewhat more successful and he actually spends a idyllic time with a tribe of Central America Indians. Once caught however, he does 5 years in solitary confinement. Once released, he decides to make one final attempt at freedom. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For Papillon survival was not enough .... he had to be free See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

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Release Date:

16 December 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Leptir  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$53,267,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(magnetic prints)| (optical prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theft and pillage by the locals were a constant problem. When the production ended, before properties could be packed and shipped, locals raided and stripped the set, making off with costumes (600 pairs of shoes alone), machinery, and lumber. In all, $30,000 was lost. See more »

Goofs

During the sailboat escape, the boat is seen sailing right to left against the setting sun, that is, due south. But sailing from the prison in French Guyana would require sailing north and/or west. See more »

Quotes

Woman: [to Papillon as he is marched aboard ship bound for penal colony] Papillon! Papi! You'll be back, Papillon. Don't worry, you'll be back.
Julot: No, you won't.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Six: The Mark Unleashed (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballet Music from Faust
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Gounod
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
May I never have to go to the pen
27 May 2000 | by (Broken Bow, Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

Terrifying film dealing with life in prison. Not just any prison, but one way off to itself with few fellow human beings around. I think this was McQueen's finest film ever, and perhaps Hoffman's also. I know it has had a lasting effect on me through the years; I have never forgotten the awesome loneliness the prisoners went through. Great picture, thumbs up.


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Prison tame compared to other movies CrescentRoses
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Great movie, but I call 'Bull *beep* le-fantome
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