Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Cast: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory

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The autobiography of Henri Charriere, one of the few people to successfully escape from the notorious French penal colony of Devil's Island, served as the basis for Papillon. Steve McQueen plays the pugnacious Charriere (known as "Papillon," or "butterfly," because of a prominent tatoo), incarcerated--wrongly, he claims--for murdering a pimp. He save the life of fellow convict Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a counterfeiter who will later show his gratitude by helping Charriere in his many escape attempts, and by smuggling food to Charriere when the latter is put in solitary confinement. One breakout, which takes Charriere and Dega to a leper colony and then to a native encampment, is almost successful, but Charriere is betrayed (allegedly because he stopped for an act of kindness) and back the prisoners go to French Guinea. Years later, Dega is made a trustee and is content with his lot, but the ageing, white-haired Charriere cannot be held back. A tribute to the unquenchability of the human spirit, Papillon brought in an impressive $22 million at the box office.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/31/2005
UPC: 0012569700970
Original Release: 1973
Rating: PG
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Time: 2:30:00
Sales rank: 8,923

Special Features

Closed Caption; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; Vintage featurette The Magnificent Rebel; Theatrical trailer; English and French subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steve McQueen Papillon
Dustin Hoffman Dega
Victor Jory Indian Chief
Don Gordon Julot
Anthony Zerbe Leper Colony Chief
Robert Deman Maturette
Dar Robinson McQueen's Cliff Stunt
Ratna Assan Zoraima
Val Avery Pascal
Mills Watson Guard
Ron Soble Santini
E.J. Andre Old Con
Richard Angarola Commandant
Jack Denbo Classification Officer
Len Lesser Guard
John Quade Masked Breton
Fred Sadoff Deputy Warden
Allen Jaffe Turnkey
Liam Dunn Old Trustee
Vic Tayback Sergeant
Woodrow Parfrey Clusiot
Bill Mumy Lariot
George Coulouris Dr. Chatal
William Smithers Warden Barrot
Gregory Sierra Antonio
Barbara Morrison Mother Superior
Ellen Moss Nun
Don Hanmer Butterfly Trader
Dalton Trumbo Commandant
Jim Malinda Guard
Billy Greene Actor
Harry Monty Actor

Technical Credits
Franklin J. Schaffner Director,Producer
Derek Ball Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Baur Casting
John Courtland Camera Operator
Robert Dorfmann Producer
Emmett Emerson Production Manager
Jerry Goldsmith Score Composer
Fred Koenekamp Cinematographer
Tony Masters Production Designer
Jack Maxsted Art Director
Richard Portman Sound/Sound Designer
Anthony Powell Costumes/Costume Designer
Ted Richmond Executive Producer
José Lopez Rodero Asst. Director
Juan Carlos Lopez Rodero Asst. Director
Hugh Scaife Set Decoration/Design
Charles Schram Makeup
Lorenzo Semple Screenwriter
Robert Swink Editor
Dalton Trumbo Screenwriter
Alex C. Weldon Special Effects

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. France Disposes [3:53]
2. Ship Confidences [4:22]
3. Protection Offer [2:10]
4. Closer to the Heat [4:52]
5. Attempt on Dega [1:34]
6. Arrival at Cayenne [5:15]
7. March to Prison [3:25]
8. Dealmaking/Death [4:36]
9. Croc in Kilo '40 [4:44]
10. Butterfly Hunters [5:33]
11. First Escape [3:16]
12. A New Experience [1:57]
13. Solitary [5:31]
14. Give and Take [5:16]
15. Guilty [1:47]
16. Half-rations [8:54]
17. "You're Dead" [2:04]
18. Term Completed [3:00]
19. What He Wants [5:18]
20. Very Great Favor [3:16]
21. Pact With Killer [3:05]
22. "You They Own" [2:02]
23. The Escape [6:48]
24. Broken Boat/Leg [2:57]
25. Masked Rescuer [1:58]
26. Bargain for Boat [4:40]
27. Money for Journey [1:42]
28. Rough Seas [3:18]
29. Hostile Reception [3:24]
30. Prey for Islanders [3:32]
31. Butterfly's Mark [8:20]
32. Watches/Betrays [4:10]
33. Debts Paid [3:25]
34. Devil's Island [3:36]
35. The Only Ones Left [2:28]
36. An Escape Idea [3:29]
37. The Experiment [4:00]
38. Taking the Plunge [3:05]
39. Coda/End Credits [3:37]

Customer Reviews

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Papillon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steve McQueen did a great job in this movie, along with Dustin Hoffman. ''Papillon's'' many escape attempts leave him in more and more trouble each time he tries to accomplish them. This movie is totally worth the two hours and thirty minutes, just to see if he makes it or not. It is amazing to see the way the prisoners are treated and how truly offal some people can be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
what Papillon went through with mental and physical torture- he was strong-minded he escaped, and was caught 3 times he escaped on the 4th time and ended up being saved and remained the rest of his life living in america
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is really one of the best movies ever made. One of the few dramas that I would buy. I'm always amazed at the number of people who have not seen this movie and how transfixed they are to the TV for 2 1/2 hours when I play it for them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember when I was a kid and my dad used to watch this movie all the time, telling me how amazing it was and I would just look at him and say what are you thinking. I am almost 21 and now understand what this movie is all about. Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman two artists who mastered their art in this movie. You should see it for yourself!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just watched this film again, after more than 30 years, and it was exactly what I remembered it to be: a disappointment. The initial Papillon book, published in 1970, was an instant bestseller, surprising everyone, including the author. The book (translated from the French by Aubrey-Maturin novelist Patrick O'Brian) was exciting, exotic, and for most readers, the first close-up look ever at the notorious French penal system in the Guianas. Unfortunately, none of these qualities made it to the film. I love Steve McQueen, but he was horribly, disastrously miscast as Papillon. Presumably his role as Hilts, the Cooler King in 'The Great Escape', might have influenced the choice, but he never seems to get in action as Papi. There's a lot of squinting and grimacing and suffering, but that's about it for emotive force. The Papillon in the book was clearly a rogue who loved a good time, laughed a lot, and could get tough, but McQueen, although charsimatic in his own way, just isn't that guy and I never believe him for a minute. I always see Steve McQueen, not Papi. The movie needed a far more versatile lead, like Peter O'Toole. Dustin Hoffman's character Louis Degas, the forger (yikes, 'The Great Escape' again) looks and walks too much like Ratso Rizzo of 'Midnight Cowboy'. Hoffman tries, but just can't start a fire with McQueen, and I never believe their friendship either. Director Frank Schaffner, who did 'Patton', uses his typically crisp, scenic, wide-angle style, but it doesn't fit the claustrophic atmosphere of the story and the ultra-realistic treatment gets turned by some bothersome details, like Papi's inexplicable failure to lose weight after 7 years of reduced rations in solitary confinement. His hair turns gray and his teeth turn black, but Papi still looks far too robust. By the end of this film, I was as happy as Papi when he escapes Isle du Diable, because it meant my 150-minute incarceration watching this film was over. This movie is like a can't-miss recipe, all the right ingredients, a good cook, a hungry and expectant table, but the dish turns out tasteless, and even worse, boring. Shortly after the first book was published, Henri Charriere, the real Papillon, was accused of misrepresentation and fraud by French researchers, but few cared because the book was so enjoyable, fact or fiction. Papi, after all, is a self-admitted rogue, and easy to like. I would never grant the film the same indulgence. It's just a plain old fraud.