8.0/10
108,391
186 user 63 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.

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (screenplay), Lorenzo Semple Jr. (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,745 ( 461)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Papillon I (2017)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Wrongfully convicted for murder, Henri Charriere forms an unlikely relationship with fellow inmate and quirky convicted counterfeiter Louis Dega, in an attempt to escape from the notorious penal colony on Devil's Island.

Director: Michael Noer
Stars: Rami Malek, Charlie Hunnam, Tommy Flanagan
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Allied prisoners of war 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
Bullitt (1968)
Certificate: M/PG 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
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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Henri 'Papillon' Charriere
Dustin Hoffman ... Louis Dega
Victor Jory ... Indian Chief
Don Gordon ... Julot
Anthony Zerbe ... Toussaint
Robert Deman Robert Deman ... Maturette
Woodrow Parfrey ... Clusiot
Bill Mumy ... Lariot
George Coulouris ... Dr. Chatal
Ratna Assan ... Zoraima
William Smithers ... Warden Barrot
Val Avery ... Pascal
Gregory Sierra ... Antonio
Vic Tayback ... Sergeant (as Victor Tayback)
Mills Watson ... Guard
Edit

Storyline

A semi-fictional account of Henri Charrière's time in the penal system in French Guyana - some of it spent on infamous Devil's Island - is presented. It's the early 1930s. Charrière - nicknamed Papillon because of his butterfly tattoo - and Louis Dega are two among many who have been convicted in the French judicial system, they now being transferred to French Guyana where they will serve their time, never to return to France even if they are ever released. A safe-cracker by criminal profession, Papillon is serving a life sentence for murdering a pimp, a crime for which he adamantly states he was framed. Dega is a wealthy counterfeiter, who expects his well-to-do wife eventually to get him released. On Papillon's initiative, Papillon and Dega enter into a business arrangement: Papillon will provide protection for Dega, while Dega will finance Papillon's escape attempt. As Papillon and Degas' time together lasts longer than either expects, their burgeoning friendship ends up being an ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For Papillon survival was not enough .... he had to be free See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

19 December 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Leptir See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$53,267,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints)| Mono (optical prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Dustin Hoffman's then-wife, former dancer Anne Byrne Hoffman, made a brief appearance at the beginning as Dega's well-heeled wife. 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

Camp Commandant: Make the best of what we offer you, and you will suffer less than you deserve.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tian bian yi duo yun (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
" How did you know I had dry leprosy? . . . . I didn't"
29 October 2008 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

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. ****


36 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 186 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed