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
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Warden Barrot
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Pascal
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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:

The greatest adventure of escape ever filmed! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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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

Franklin J. Schaffner and editor Robert Swink had to cut the film under great pressure from the producers and backers in order to have it ready for simultaneous holiday-season openings in New York, Paris and Tokyo. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, when Papillon is floating on his bag of coconuts, a scuba diver is clearly visible in the water beneath that bag. See more »

Quotes

Warden Barrot: [to Papillon upon his release from solitary confinement after two years following his first escape attempt] Your term is completed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Justified: Measures (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

This actually happened

Steve McQueen plays Henri "Papillon" Charriere who is sentenced to life in a French penal colony for a murder he didn't do.There he befriends with an other convict Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman).Henri's only goal is to escape.Franklin J. Schaffner's Papillon (1973) is based on a true story.Charriere actually went through all this and then wrote a book. The acting work is unique.Steve McQueen (1930-1980) is superb in the lead.Also Dustin Hoffman (1937-) is excellent as always.This movie is filled with incredible scenes.Everything works perfectly in this amazing movie.If you want to see a dramatic adventure masterpiece this is a movie for you to see.


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Prison tame compared to other movies CrescentRoses
McQueen deserved the Oscar ganggreen1960
No accent? jakholman
and the moral of the story is... flatlinebeforedeath
I think this movie is an insult to the book (founded) deboas
Great movie, but I call 'Bull *beep* le-fantome
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