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.

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,080 ( 197)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bullitt (1968)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn
Spartacus (1960)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Allied P.O.W.s plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
The Getaway (1972)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A recently released ex-con and his loyal wife go on the run after a heist goes awry.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An up-and-coming poker player tries to prove himself in a high-stakes match against a long-time master of the game.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Edward G. Robinson
Marathon Man (1976)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and... See full summary »

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Candice Bergen
Patton (1970)
Certificate: GP Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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.

Director: David Lean
Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan
Edit

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
Edit

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:

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The real-life Papillon, Henri Charrière, was 25 when he was sent to Devil's Island. See more »

Goofs

When the random prisoner has his head cut off, if you watch it slowly, you can see the blade come down and stop, then the next cut (at the same angle) has a dummy's head rolling. Additionally, in the latter cut the Sun's position has changed, so it is now in the frame. See more »

Quotes

Judge in Dream: I accuse YOU... of a WASTED LIFE!
Papillon: Guilty... guilty... guilty...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in ALF: Pennsylvania 6-5000 (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


75 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss Papillon (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?