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Papillon is one of my all-time favorites films. Steve McQueen is fantastic in the lead role. Dustin Hoffman is at his finest as Louie Dega. Very memorable, unforgettable performances, shocking action scenes and psychological thrills and twists. I cannot write enough good things about this film. After years of looking, I recently found this film on DVD and added it to my collection. This is the kind of movie that you can watch again and again and continue to see things you've never noticed before. This film never gets old and you never grow tired of watching Papillon. Some of the cast includes Vic Tayback also known as Mel from the hit TV series "Alice." He is convincing as a mean, surly prison guard. Also, Billy Tumy known for his role in "Lost in Space" as Will Robinson, plays a young, doomed inmate. There are other character actors included in the cast that you will more than likely recognize throughout the film. I give this film the strongest and highest of recommendations.
I felt so moved after watching this film. Steve McQueen did a terrific job acting as Henry. Although at times, he just acted as McQueen, he did a wonderful job expressing suffering in the solitary confinement scene, and great towards the end of the movie. Hoffman is always an exceptional actor and in this movie he is no different. Unfortunately it neither won for, nor got nominated for an Oscar, and it deserved to win 3 (supporting actor, actor, picture). As much as I loved the Sting, this movie was better for that year.Some critics gave it a bad review, even a 1973 Roger Ebert article criticized this film. I guess you cant blame them too much, movies were better those days. Note that 1973 was sandwiched between 2 Godfather years.Maybe some people figured that McQueen was just redoing his Great Escape role. Either way, nowadays films are so bad I am just thirsting for a movie this deep. But if the best Hollywood can do nowadays is a glittzy trashpiece like Chicago, we cant expect too much from our times.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forget the Shawshank Redemption this great adventure story based on real events is the best prison movie ever made. As a child this was the first movie that really had a profound impact on me & moved me to tears. Even now the final scenes of Papillon on Devils Island trying to convince his friend Dega to make one last final break for freedom with him swell the emotions within me! Great performances from McQueen & Hoffman and great location work coupled with an arousing musical score. Once you have seen this film it is hard to ever forget it. A true classic of cinema. It may be a little long and slow paced at times ... but then that is the solitude & boredom of a dismal penal colony existence.
This is the second greatest "run after freedom" movie i've ever seen. Two great actors Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen are able to present you disappointment, happiness, loyalty, patience, hope, insanity, friendship and depression perfectly. Every single scene in the picture has a lot of things to say to you. You might get emotionally confused when watching this movie, you might even sense a little bit of friendship or love between the prison guardians and the prisoners and at the same time you might be able to sense the unreasonable hate. When you are not free, then you have nothing else to lose thus you have to run after your freedom, however do not believe in freedom until you get what you used to have before losing it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Papillon' is the forceful portrait of a defiant man, who survives
harrowing years of his life in small solitary cells, suffering the
worst type of brutality and despair... It is the amazing true life
story of a man of character called Henri Charriere, a Frenchman
sentenced to life at Devil's island for a murder he did not commit...
Henri gains his nick name 'Papillon' for the large butterfly (symbolic
of freedom) tattooed on his chest...
The film recounts Papillon's tenacity and indomitable spirit, planning and executing a series of failed attempts of escape over many years... We watch his multiple adventures through hundreds of miles of swamp, reaching an encounter with a kind leper colony, a friendly tribe of Indians, and a traitorous nun... Papillon is seen pursued by Indian trustees, and harassed by brutal guards... The power of the movie lies on Papillon's triumph over oppression, his continual perseverance, humanity, honesty, his quiet dignity, and sheer spirit...
Guided this time by one of the most creative directors who offered handsomely 'Planet of the Apes' and 'Patton,' Steve McQueenas Papillon exhibits a raw vitality, a complete spectrum of emotions, and a sure command of his technical acting-resources that are breathtaking in their impact..
Dustin Hoffmanin perfect rapport with his role, perceptively invading its every nuance and implication portrays a quality of character exhibited in the face of impossible adversity... His last scene with McQueen attempting to convince his friend not to leave the island, represents one of the film's most moving, and effective sequence...
Schaffner gives a stirring picture of forsaken men, and takes up the challenge and proceeding to 'beat the system' against incalculable odds... He certainly gives rise to some of the great epics of human courage and fortitude...
Excellent movie. Entertaining and realistic.
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.
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.
Usually, after reading a long book filled with many interesting
adventures, watching a two-hour film later winds up being a big
disappointment. There is no way a film can give you anywhere near the
info you glean from a book, especially one over 500 pages as is the
case with "Papillion." Yet, despite most of Henri Charriere's
incredible feats of survival, ("Papillion" was Charriere's nickname)
this movie is above average and basically does the book justice. The
movie runs about two-and-a-half hours and gives enough of a flavor to
have the viewer appreciate - at least to some degree - the brutal
trials and tribulations Papillion went through in real life.
If you enjoyed this film, the book is a "must-read" for you and very highly-recommend You won't believe all the things Charriere experienced: good and bad. In real life, the man escaped something like eight times and each time went through hell.
Steve McQueen, playing "Papillion," was excellent. He was particularly good at showing the physical effects of years of solitary confinement. By the way, in real life, Charriere was much younger went sent to jail than McQueen was at the time this movie was shot. Papillion should have been played by a younger actor, but who's going to complain when you get an actor of McQueen's caliber?
Dustin Hoffman also was great as Papillion's friend, "Louis Dega," who had a bigger role in the movie than he did in the book. For the most part, Papillion had a number of friends, all helping him over the years. Hoffman also provided some good comic relief to the movie and, heaven knows, it needed it. Take it from someone who has read the book: this is a grim story, worse than what you saw on screen here.
Nevertheless, thanks to the two leading actors and the wonderful work by Director Franklin Schaffner and Cinematograher Fred Koenekamp, this long film entertained. No, it wasn't the caliber of the book, but it's didn't insult it, either, and is definitely worth a look.
Henri 'Papillon' Charriere, was a lifetime inmate under the French government's harsh penal system in French Guiana. In his declining years he wrote his memoirs describing his years of incarceration, his cruel mistreatment and daring, multiple escapes. Weather or not he was the actual character of his own book, is disputed to this day. But the fact that he was an inmate is true enough and fits in with the actual site which came to be known as 'Devil's Island.' Court records indicate that Henri Charriere (Steve McQueen) later called " Papillon " which is french for Butterfly, was indeed a minor burglar and safe cracker. His claim he was innocent of murder, may be true enough, due to an unreliable source accusing him in court, yet producing little supporting evidence. Nevertheless, the infamous thief was given a twenty year sentence, which was extended due to his numerous escapes. During his imprisonment, he becomes lifelong friends with an equally famous treasury forger named Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman). Don Gordon (a real life friend of McQueen) plays Julot, an experienced prisoner with his own intentions of escape. Anthony Zerbe is hideously interesting as Toussaint, a ravaged leper, who aids escaping prisoners. The entire film is one remarkable story and becomes an incredible journey, one which transcends the screen and offers audiences, the raw reality of life under the most severe and brutal penal systems in the world. The infamous 'Devil's Island ' today has become synonymous with a hellish place of unspeakable conditions. A fantastic movie for those in search of true-life Classic. ****
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