• Papillon (1973)


Release Date: 1973

DVD Release Date: December 14th, 1999

PG |2 hr 30 min

Plot Summary

Convicted murderer Henri Charriere (Steve McQueen), known as "Papillon" for his butterfly chest tattoo, is transported to French Guiana to serve his sentence in a work camp. Determined to escape, Papillon forms an unlikely relationship with the frail but notorious forger Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), who reluctantly joins in the attempt. Despite the harshness of solitary confinement, brutal conditions and constant threats of betrayal, Papillon leads a desperate escape off the island.

Cast: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon, Anthony Zerbe, Robert Deman, Woodrow Parfrey, Bill Mumy

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

Genres: Thriller

Production Co: Solar Productions, Allied Artists Pictures Corporation

Keywords: Friendship, Doctor, 1930s, Underdog, Dark, Sacrifice, Escape, Gritty

Ratings & Reviews

  • 60
    Ian NathanEmpire

    One of the greatest behind-bars movies ever, the result finds director Franklin J. Schaffner making the most of both his sun-drenched locations and his leading man, who squintily acts even co-star Dustin Hoffman well off the screen. show more

  • 50
    Time Out

    With Schaffner unable to find the necessary perspective to prevent the film from becoming unevenly episodic, it ends up looking as if it were tacked together by at least three different directors. show more

  • 50
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    An expensive, exhaustive, 150-mintue odyssey that doesn’t so much conclude as cross the finish line and collapse. It has been outfitted with expensive stars and a glossy production, but it doesn’t really make us care. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Music (Original Dramatic Score)