They called him Papillon, meaning "butterfly." If only he had wings to go with the name. Unable to fly, Henri Charriere virtually willed himself free. He persisted until he did the impossible: escape Devil's Island. Based ... more »on Charriere's bestseller and shot in Spain and Jamaica, Franklin J. Schaffner's film of Papillon united two stars at key career junctures. After a decade of fine work in The Great Escape, The Sand Pebbles and Bullitt, Steve McQueen found in Charriere another ideal tough-guy role. Coming off The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy and Little Big Man, Dustin Hoffman again distinguished himself as Dega, Charriere's scruffy friend. DVD Features:Other:Vintage Featurette: The Magnificent RebelTheatrical Trailer:« less
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 08/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Papillon is a great movie based on fact that contains many scenes that will stick with you for a long time. Henri Charierre is a safecracker framed for the murder of a pimp and sent to French Guiana, the prison system in South and Central America. Along the way, Papillon meets counterfeiter Louis Dega played to perfection by Dustin Hoffman. The two men struggle to survive amidst the horrible conditions in the prisons. However, the only thing that keeps Papillon alive is the thought of escape and freedom. This is a very bleak movie, at times you might not even recognize McQueen with all the makeup, but the ending does offer hope. The scenes of Papi's solitary confinement and the hallucinations he has while there are very effective and not easily forgotten. Also, the film decides to show prison life as it is. This is not a whitewashed version of it, but instead a fairly graphic depiction of the horrors of the French prison system. Nonetheless, this is still an excellent movie that will keep you interested throughout. Papillon is up there with The Sand Pebbles as Steve McQueen's finest performances. His role as Henri "Papillon" Charierre is fully believable as he attempts over and over again to escape to freedom. Dustin Hoffman is just as good as Louis Dega, the prisoner who hires McQueen to protect him. The two become friends as they try to adjust to their new lives. The friendship between the two men is very good and some of the better parts of the movie involve their relationship. Don Gordon plays Julot, a veteran prisoner who tries to help them adjust. Robert Deman and Woodrow Parfrey are also very good as Maturette and Clusiot, two fellow prisoners who attempt escape with Papillon. I have to add about Jerry Goldsmith's very good score that perfectly fits the film. The DVD offers a widescreen presentation that looks great, a documentary made during filming that contains interviews with cast, crew, and even Henri Charierre, and also the theatrical trailer. This is a very dark movie, but it is still a great character study that never really slows down. McQueen fans will love this classic!"
Juan | Puerto Rico | 08/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am from Cuba and I read this book (it was illegal for the goverment) someone let me read it and spire on me to figth for my fredoom. For a period of TWO years I tried to leave Cuba, 10 times took me to get to Miami USA, reading this book gime the corage to take a raft and risk my live in the water...... Now, I live in Puerto Rico, I still read this book and ones every other year I see the movie over and over It is great and I recomend it for every body that love fredoom or dream to be free one day even if you have to die to get IT !"
MCQUEEN AT HIS FINEST!
KELLY PERKINS | Tyler, TX | 05/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is the best example of Steve McQueen's acting skills, bar none. Everyone who thought he was a one note player should look close and hard at this magnificent film. The chemistry between McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is a real tear-jearker. This should have been McQueen's Oscar, but he was not one to kiss anybody's butt for the statue. For me, this is a true tale of the survival spirit, really better than the GREAT ESACPE as far as serious pathos is concerned. Let's not forget Dustin Hoffman's character Dega. This was a composite of several people in the book. The final scene on the cliff should go down as a classic moment in cinema. Steve, we miss you!"
A DVD review
Steve C. Yabut | PA USA | 04/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An extremely well done video transfer to DVD, especially for a movie of this age. Some newer movie transfers to DVD have a lot of scratches and blotches. Some interesting documentaries featuring the person the movie was based on. Probably the best value on DVD around."
Improves With Each Viewing
D. Mikels | Skunk Holler | 01/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of this film since it came out in theaters, and PAPILLON continues to impress and inspire with each subsequent viewing. In my opinion, this is Steve McQueen's absolute best role as Henri Charriere, a man wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to spend the rest of his life at Devil's Island in brutal French Guiana, South America. Henri, also known as "Papillon" (due to the tattoo of a butterfly on his chest), is determined to escape--even though the consequences of getting caught entail solitary confinement under the harshest conditions. Papillon escapes, and is caught and punished, escapes again, is caught and punished even more severely, and once he is banished to Devil's Island--an impenetrable rock amidst a fierce sea--his yearning for freedom is still not diminished.
McQueen shows some impressive range; stoic and rather one-dimensional in most of his other roles, the actor delivers a considerable variety of emotions. Dustin Hoffman is equally exceptional as Dega, Papillon's humble and unassuming friend. Based on a true story, director Franklin J. Schaffner has made a masterpiece about the indomitable will of the human spirit. --D. Mikels, Author, WALK-ON"