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Papillon (1973)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 70,442 users  
Reviews: 149 user | 50 critic

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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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Papillon (1973)

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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:
...
...
...
Indian Chief
...
Julot
...
Toussaint
Robert Deman ...
Maturette
...
Clusiot
...
Lariot
George Coulouris ...
Dr. Chatal
...
Zoraima
...
Warden Barrot
...
Pascal
...
Antonio
...
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 Degas, 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 attempts 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:

Two men with nothing in common but a will to live and a place to die See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dalton Trumbo:  Uncredited, the film's scriptwriter as a Devil's Island Prison Commandant. 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

Warden Barrot: [to Papillon upon his release from solitary confinement after five years following his second escape attempt] Your five years in solitary confinement are at an end. You've paid part of your debt to France.
See more »


Soundtracks

Ballet Music from Faust
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Gounod
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Unflinching look at brutal penal colony...gripping but exhausting...
25 May 2005 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Brutal treatment in a penal colony has been explored on the screen before in such earlier films as I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, but never has there been a more graphic expose of the sort of conditions prisoners faced under the worst sort of environment.

At times the film is extremely harrowing to watch, and at other times the story tends to drag a little. But there can be no doubt that STEVE McQUEEN and DUSTIN Hoffman create believable and sympathetic (yet quirky) characterizations and do some of the finest acting of their careers. Their roles are physically demanding and always played with total conviction.

Not for the squeamish, but extremely well acted by the entire cast, great location photography and a nice background score by Jerry Goldsmith. The first half of the story is much more compelling than what happens in the final years and the last half-hour of the film is a bit sluggish in pacing. But overall, a memorable escape film that ranks with the best of other escape stories.

My first viewing of the film years ago made an indelible impression on me, but I must confess that later viewings convinced me that it is not exactly flawless in that the pacing is sometimes much too slow and the ending is somewhat unsatisfying.


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