Papillon (1973)

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… More

Rated: PG
Running Time:
DVD Release Date: December 14, 1999
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Critic Score: 82% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine

McQueen works hard and al most manages to triumph over his star presence, while Hoffman submerges himself eccentrically and amusingly in his coward's role.

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Michael Booth
Denver Post

A rousing drama of endurance, opportunism and friendship under fire.

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David Parkinson
Radio Times

But Dustin Hoffman produces a splendid depiction of cunning corruption that acts as a perfect balance to McQueen's superstar charisma.

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Don Druker
Chicago Reader

Director Franklin J. Schaffner has succeeded in making a two-and-a-half-hour film that seems like six.

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Chris Petit
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.

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TV Guide

Schaffner, who expertly captured the gritty story of Patton, does not flinch from showing every conceivable horror of the French penal system.

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Variety Staff

The script is very good within its limitations, but there is insufficient identification with the main characters.

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

A big, brave, stouthearted, sometimes romantic, sometimes silly melodrama with the kind of visual sweep you don't often find in movies anymore.

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Christopher Hudson
The Spectator

Papillon was not a complicated man but his experiences changed him almost beyond recognition, and McQueen does a good job of portraying the survivor, broken in body, but not in spirit.

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More reviews for Papillon

Flixster Audience Score: 90% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalh„es
With an excellent performance by Steve McQueen and a stunning cinematography that employs a large depth of field to explore the setting and thus the gravity of… More
Lucas Martins
Tense and scary, Papillon it's with no doubt about it, is one of the most breathtaking escape movies that I ever saw, with a likable duo, form by McQueen… More
Chris Weber
Based on a true story, but taking a number of liberties, this is Franklin J. Schaffner's sprawling portrait of Henri Charriere- a wrongly imprisoned… More
xGary Xx
A true story based on the life of an infamous safecracker played by Steve McQueen, who is sent to a notorious French prison colony and forms a close bond with… More
Mike S
What greater escape from boredom, than watching two of the finest actors in Hollywood history, making their own grand escape from the shackles of imprisonment.… More
familiar stranger
I was drawn towards it because of its high IMDb rating and all the more because it's based on real life events. However, the length of the movie is too… More