2 h 30 min1973X-RayPG
Unable to fly, Henri Charriere virtually willed himself free. He persisted until he did the impossible: escape Devil's Island.
Franklin J. Schaffner
Steve McQueenDustin HoffmanVictor Jory
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Anthony ZerbeDon GordonRobert DemanWoodrow ParfreyBill MumyGeorge CoulourisRatna AssanWilliam SmithersVal AveryGregory SierraVic Tayback
Robert DorfmannFranklin J. Schaffner
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.7 out of 5 stars

4211 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Rod SeversonReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
What people will do for freedom
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I love this movie, excellent acting, cinematography and written by the late, great Dalton Trumbo...
For a country that prides itself on liberty, France's penal colony was the worst in recorded history, to
think that 40% of the condemned would never see their freedom and had their minds and hearts
pulverized should make everyone look at how bad the prison system is here in the USA, the industrial
prison complex...Ad nauseum...
I feel that McQueen and Hoffman should have received Oscars for their performance, nobody could
have portrayed these people better...This is on my top 10 lists of favorite movies...
29 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on September 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing story of survival and friendship
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Papillon is a 1973 classic based upon a true story featuring Steve McQuen as Henry Charriere aka Papillon and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega. Both were convicted in France and sentenced to what amounted to life in prison in French Guyana. The story is about friendship and survival.

The film works on many levels. First, there’s the relationship between Papillon and Dega. At first Papillon wanted to exploit Dega but eventually they become best friends. There’s the hardships in the prison. The boat trip there one many says 40% of the prisoners will die their first year in Guyana. They get beaten, betrayed and there’s solitary confinement. Finally, there’s the spirit of Papillon. He never loses hope. He constantly tries to escape. Even when he’s an old man he still talks to Dega about freedom.

The movie is quite amazing. The toll Guyana takes on Papillon and Dega is beyond belief. The two actors go through a dramatic transformation. By the end they look like ancient men they have gone through so much. Their friendship is never broken.
10 people found this helpful
Dexter HavenReviewed in the United States on June 2, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Reminds me of the real Midnight Express escape
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Adam Corolla got me to see this. He said this movie was an underrated classic. He said Dustin Hoffman deserved the Oscar for supporting actor far more than Alan Arkin did for Little Miss Sunshine. I agree. Hoffman can say a line in a funny way. He's got an expressive voice. This dragged on a bit and the emotion was sorrowful. But Papillon was a true, daring fighter. If you haven't seen the real story of the Midnight Express escape, which is unlike the movie, and by water also, check it out on YouTube. The real guy tells his story, one of the best stories ever told. It is part of the "Locked up Abroad" TV series. The photo attached is an aerial shot of Hell's Gate on Devil's Island, maybe from where he escaped from...
22 people found this helpful
Elvis41330Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
McQueen and Hoffman? and you havent seen it? since 1973?
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Despite what it says on Google, I am sure that both McQueen and Hoffman were nominated for Oscars for this film. I was there, when the TV Guide was like a Bible, back when it was small, they had the nominees in it. I remember thinking that nominating both was an effort in futility as you could not possibly choose one over the other so naturally they cancelled each other out, so to speak. I could be wrong, but when you watch it, you will not only see two Oscar worthy performances, you will see that this is truly, one of the great all-time classic epics.
6 people found this helpful
DavidReviewed in the United States on March 20, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Terrible Transfer--UPDATED
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The one-star rating is for the blu-ray transfer, not the film itself. I was looking forward to seeing Papillon on blu-ray. But upon popping it into my player, the film played in a herky-jerky style that was unwatchable. It was as if every frame of the movie was distinct. There was no fluidity. It almost made me physically nauseous. I skipped ahead chapter by chapter, and it was the same throughout. A waste of money. Important Update--before throwing out the disc, I tried one more time to play it, and it worked fine this time. The picture is not crisp compared to more recent movies, but apparently that was the way it was filmed, not a result of the blu-ray transfer. So please ignore my earlier comments.
6 people found this helpful
RafaelReviewed in the United States on January 2, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Original vs remake
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This remake of Papillon is like most remakes, not as good as the original. Although Charlie Hunnam (Papillon) & Rami Malek (Dega) are fine actors in their own right, kudos go to the late Steve McQueen (Papillon) & Dustin Hoffman (Dega). The set on the original also appeared more authentic than the remake. The makeup crew did not do a good job; Charlie's makeup as an older Papillon looked fake and loses credibility to the character and picture. I watch remakes to compare to the original and some are done better; the 1983 remake of Breathless (Richard Gere & Valerie Kaprisky) vs the original 1960 Breathless (Jean-Paul Belmondo & Jean Seberg), is one that comes to mind. Both films are good, but I prefer the remake in this case, but not so with Papillon.
6 people found this helpful
H J DuffReviewed in the United States on March 19, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great classic movie
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As a die hard McQueen fan it's my pleasure to give one of his most epic movies 5 stars.
A true to life bad @$$ playing another true to life bad @$$ in a 150 minutes of classic film.

Movies from 30-40 years ago were more subtle than anything made in the last 20,
and this one is even more subtle than most,
so Papillion won't blow you away with crazy special effects, heart pumping chase scenes, or romance.

What you get is 2 & a half hours reliving Papillion's pain and perseverance, suffering and surviving.
I saw this movie as a kid, and always associated it with Mr McQueen's difficult life, and the struggles he overcame at an early age.
10 people found this helpful
Jack E. LevicReviewed in the United States on July 5, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Steve McQueen is planning another escape in PAPILLON. Based on Henri Charriere's amazing true story, PAPILLON is the story of one man's determination to do the impossible and escape from DEVIL'S ISLAND. Charriere is known as Pappilon (Butterfly in French) because of the large tattoo on his chest. Here is a raw and engrossing story of human despair and desperation. Anyone attempting an escape from Devil's Island earns 2 years in solitary confinement. The second escape earns 5 years in solitary. Papillon's spirit is damaged by not broken and his determination is beyond belief.
Dustin Hoffman also stars as Dega, a notorious forger who befriends Papillon. Dega's stash of cash bankrolls Papillon's escape attempts. The chemistry between Hoffman and McQueen is evident as their characters became fast friends. Sometimes true stories are harder to believe than fiction and yet PAPILLON is based on fact.
PAPILLON probably was McQueen's role of a lifetime. Yes, he starred in several great films but PAPILLON proves what a talented actor he was. McQueen gets to use facial expressions and body movements to tell the story of a man who will not be broken. The wide-eyed look of amazement as Papillon is released from solitary is one of McQueen's finest.
We have an epic of a film that lasts 2 1/2 hours. It's a brutal look at a horrible prison system that many did not survive. Papillon escapes and is betrayed and captured and yet he never gives up. The version I have has a feature of the real Henri Charrierre's return to the long closed Devil's Island. Yes, the man survived.
17 people found this helpful
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