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After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
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
The film was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name by 'Henri Charriere' was first published in 1969. A sequel to this book, "Banco", was first published in 1973, the same 1973 year that this picture was released, as well as the same 1973 year that Charrière died. The sequel has never been filmed. See more »
When Papillon first visits the lepers, the leper he speaks to does not move his lips (probably because of makeup). See more »
[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 »
Although media promotion hinted that this was another version of "The Great Escape", the movie, and Steve McQueen, avoided what would have been a fatal pratfall - remaking the 1962 POW war film with different costumes.
In fact, this was an excellent film that stood on its own merit(despite the fact that historians claim the story is not true) It was an excellent depiction of the French penal colony in Guana. It would have been great even without McQueen in the title role.
Dustin Hoffman was his usual superb actor, making the most out of his role. McQueen wisely avoided playing himself, and as a result, his role was stronger and believable.
Location scenes and overall plot were superb.
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