DVD - 1997
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Thrilling adventure of an escape from a French Guiana prison.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, 1997
Edition: Widescreen version
ISBN: 9780790733470
Branch Call Number: DVD PAPIL
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (151 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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I remember being impressed with this film in the theatre, back so long ago, Mcqueen was still alive. Hoffman was great, and, for an action hero, Macqueen keeps up with him. Of course, it's a rather taciturn part. By the way, 'papillon' means 'butterfly.' So, I wonder if Nabokov might have enjoyed this movie. I wonder if it would be too much trouble for staff to insert the original date of the movie. if it is like this one, the dvd was at least two decades earlier than the theatrical release. if I had to guess, I would say the original print was released in 1978, making this film one of the best of 1978. I was really so impressed with the acting of both of them. Who would have been nominated as the supporting actor?

Apr 29, 2018

This varies from the book a little & the author made some fiction of his adventures - overall, the acting by legends Steve McQueen & Dustin Hoffman are excellent, probably the second best in McQueens career. Hoffman is exceptional in this role, down to his speech patterns. How he managed to wear those glasses without permanent damage to his eyes amazes me.

I did find it almost unbelievable that the French had these prisons into the mid-20th C., let alone still used the guillotine. I thoroughly enjoyed this after some 30 years of it's making.

Oct 10, 2017

I remember seeing this film as a kid, but didn’t remember much of it (released in 1973). Based on the book Pappillon written by Heni Charriere (the real Papillon, so named because of the butterfly tattooed on his chest.) Papillon is convicted of murdering a pimp (which he denies throughout the film) he is sentenced to the penal colony in French Guiana (located in South America bordering Brazil). He makes 8 attempts to escape (earning himself years in private solitude when recaptured). He is finally moved to the islands off shore (Devil’s Island) which is supposed to be inescapable because of the tides and sharks. He makes a last escape attempt from the island hoping to ride out the tide on a bag of coconuts. Steve McQueen plays Papillon and Dustin Hoffman plays his imprisoned buddy Dega. The film is very long (2.5 hours) and after the first few attempts you wonder why they continued to trust anyone willing to take their money (they usually take their money and then turn then into the authorities), but they keep making escape attempts. Hoffman and McQueen are great, penal colonies look very miserable. The extras has Charriere on the set where he gets freaked out by the reality of the sets. So, set it aside for a cold day when you have hours to kill and can sit through alligator wrestling, eating bugs and wondering how many people ever actually escaped from the place or even survived the place.

May 26, 2017

This consummate prison-break epic features Steve McQueen's greatest transformation of character creation over the course of his estimable film career.

May 16, 2017

Great movie to watch with Steeve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman actings performances. Hardship, friendship and escape plan in an isolated prison where escape is quite impossible.....

May 13, 2017

This is a 1973 American docudrama directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, based on the best-selling autobiography by the French convict Henri Charrière.
The title is French for "Butterfly," referring to Charrière's tattoo and nickname.
Henri Charrière (Steve McQueen), a safecracker nicknamed Papillon because of the butterfly tattoo on his chest, is wrongly convicted of murdering a pimp.
In 1933 he is sentenced to life imprisonment within the penal system in French Guiana.
En route, he meets a fellow convict, Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a forger and embezzler who is convinced that his wife will secure his release.
The two eventually develop a friendship.
In the end, the two men make two floats out of bagged up coconuts.
As the two men stand on the cliff side, Dega decides not to escape and begs Papillon not to take the leap, which will probably kill him.
Papillon leaps from the cliff, but the film doesn't show how he reaches his freedom after viewing for two and half hours.
It is a big letdown after giving the audience a big expectation.

Sep 02, 2016

This film was written by Dalton Trumbo after the death of the Hollywood blacklist period. The story is based upon the “autobiography” written by Papillon about his encarcerations and escape attempts from France’s penal colonies. While Papillon (Steve McQueen) and Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman) were really in a French Penal colony together, some of the events in both the book and film were probably events related to other prisoners. The last incredible three minutes of the film are believed to be accurate.

Aug 13, 2015

The story should have stopped when they escape by boat. Afterwards, it drags on. Steve McQueen acts superbly in this film. He is natural, and has subtle facial expressions.

Apr 03, 2015

In 1933 convicted murderer Henri Charrière—nicknamed “Papillon” (Butterfly) for the tattoo on his chest—was sent to the infamous penal colony in French Guyana despite his strenuous pleas of innocence. Surrounded by swamps, malaria, and an ocean teeming with sharks and deadly currents he nevertheless attempted several jailbreaks, even making it all the way to Colombia where he was adopted by a tribe of natives before being recaptured. His flights led to increasingly dire punishments from the camp commandant until, several years later, he was finally able to take one last stab at freedom as he planned an escape from Devil’s Island itself. Based on Charrière’s bestselling memoirs (which have since fallen into disrepute as mounting evidence suggests he may have fabricated many of his adventures) Frank Schaffner’s grand prison epic still manages to entertain and enthral thanks in large part to Dalton Trumbo’s visceral script, elaborate tropical sets (shot in Jamaica), and the combined star power of leads Steve McQueen as Papillon and Dustin Hoffman as fellow prisoner and loyal sidekick Louis Dega. Starting with a march of shame through the streets of Paris as the prisoners are boarded onto ships bound for South America, Schaffner goes heavy on the grit and squalor: the trip to Guyana resembles a migration of slaves, the prison itself is rife with dangers both natural and human, and everyone from the guards to a morally suspect Mother Superior is on the take. Papillon’s incarceration is shown in wretched detail, especially a harrowing two-year stint in solitary confinement in which he shared his narrow cell with bats and supplemented his meagre diet with centipedes and cockroaches. Juxtaposing these jail scenes with widescreen panoramas of palm-fringed beaches and impossibly blue skies Schaffner makes you feel his protagonist’s intense yearning for freedom as well as his soul-crushing defeats as plans fall apart and an implacable prison staff seem intent on breaking his mind, body, and spirit. Even if the “true story” on which it is based is suspect, this remains both an affecting tale of one man’s perseverance against impossible odds and a condemnatory statement on man’s ability to inflict cruelty on others. Highly watchable.

Mar 23, 2015

This is an enthralling adventure and a film about escape, action, and the bonds between men in desperate situations--escaping a penal colony in the jungles of South and Central America. Stylistically it has the scope and editing of an epic classical-era Hollywood film, but it also has the manic edge of "New American Cinema." This is a guy's film through and through, but like a good guy film it doesn't just shoot guns and flex muscles--it has some brains and a lot of suspense. You are less of a man if you haven't seen this film. Check it out!!

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Aug 28, 2012

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

Aug 28, 2012

Papillon (floating on the ocean): "Hey you bastards! ...I'm still here...!"


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