Papillon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Papillon Reviews

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½ March 29, 2017
Hugely disappointing for what is considered by many to be one of the all-time best prison escape movies. It was too bizarre and I couldn't get into it. It's long, boring and really wears on you. (First and only viewing - 3/29/2017)
February 26, 2017
Papillon, Henri Charrière's autobiography turned film in 1973 starring Steve Mcqueen and Dustin Hoffman is possibly the best film of imprisonment, hope and freedom ever made and by far Steve Mcqueens best performance.
Lovers of The Great Escape, Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption must make this their next film to enjoy, with the overriding knowledge that this really happened.
½ January 31, 2017
- Wonderfully exotic escapist movie about a convict in the French penal system who makes a pact with another inmate to escape only to be caught and dealt a harsher sentence each time. The title character is not honest and therefore it is difficult to sympathise with him but his ongoing escape attempts in spite of the possible consequences, say much about the resilience of the human spirit. Whether you care or not about him escaping, his unmitigated desire to escape is the point to his existence.
January 29, 2017
This movie really just goes on and on and I'm afraid was unable of fully holding my attention. It seems like every kind of scene from every kind of war prisoner movie was tossed in here and after awhile it only feels punishing to the viewer no matter how well it is shot or how ahead of it's time it was in terms of content.
December 19, 2016
Epic prison flick shot on location in Jamaica (substituting for Devil's Island and surrounds in French Guyana) with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman doing it tough after their convictions for pimp-killing and counterfeiting, respectively (although McQueen claims to be innocent). Focused primarily on action rather than on thoughts (apart from dreams of escape), the film lacks the depth I had hoped for (and you can see this in other films by the same director, Schaffner: Planet of the Apes, Patton, Boys from Brazil). McQueen does a nice job of transforming from a steely tough guy to an addled old fool with rotten teeth (still dreaming of escape) but Hoffman's performance seems rather one-note (if dedicated). Based on a supposedly true story by Papillon himself (Henri Charriere), the film has that seventies blockbuster look and feel but it doesn't rise to the status of the great classics. Still, if you can handle the length, there are enough struggles and setbacks for the prisoners to hold your interest and the scenery looks great.
October 7, 2016
I love both Dustin and Steve but this movie failed to keep me engaged, didn't finish watching the whole movie.
July 29, 2016
Tied with Bullitt for third best McQueen film, Papillon is a smart and entertaining motion picture with a bittersweet ending and a plethora of emotional scenes. Franklin J. Schaffner delivers yet another great film.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2016
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 the situation, this compelling prison film works so very well despite losing some of its credibility in the third act.
June 22, 2016
A great movie, I loved it ! Saw it in '73 bought and have enjoyed seeing eveyo
½ April 13, 2016
Papillon (Steve McQueen) was sent to a penal colony on Devil's Island for a crime of passion. He's been trying to break out of there ever since. Derived from the memoirs of Henri Cherriere, Papillon gives Steve McQueen plenty of material for pathos, triumph, and tragedy. His performance dominates the film, but Dustin Hoffman's turn as a callow inmate is noteworthy in more than a few scenes. Overall, Papillon has an endearing slow burn that makes it a minor treasure of its era.
March 12, 2016
Hey you bastards, I'm still here!

Two men are locked up in a unique prison on a deserted island. They try to plan their escape but one of the men is consistently in solitary confinement. The other man has the money to buy their release, but it's hard to work well together. The man in solitary confinement gets desperate and eventually they make an elaborate escape effort.

"Your friend is kind of quiet, isn't he?"
"He's dead."

Franklin Schaffner, director of Patton, Planet of the Apes, Lionheart, The Stripper, The Good Years, The War Lord, Islands in the Stream, and Welcome Home, delivers Papillion. The storyline for this picture is well paced and contains excellent characters. It does run a bit long but the acting is very good. The cast includes Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon, and Val Avery.

"How do you fail an examination like this?"

I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and had to watch it. I am a huge McQueen fan and this was a unique character for him. It was good, and he was great, but the overall film could have been better and shorter. I recommend seeing this once but wouldn't add it to my collection.

"You owe me nothing."

Grade: B+/A-
½ February 14, 2016
Interesting plot and well acted.
January 5, 2016
Saw this on 4/1/16
The incredibly unbelievable true story of Papillon is what sets it apart from many prison break films despite it's glacially slow pace. In this Steve McQueen epic, prison escape is extremely different from his own The Great Escape. The escape has no real point, it's simply a desperation of the character to break free and it may or may not be the right thing to do. Steve McQueen provides a terrific performance as the titular character with unbelievable character transformation shown in a mainstream cinema and Hoffman equally contributes. The film has a few strongly memorable scenes, definitely.
½ November 17, 2015
Incredible movie. Timeless performances.
October 31, 2015
Papillon give me the toughness of living.
2nd, BS, 2015/11/1
October 26, 2015
Steve McQeen stretches a bit, and he reaches. Hoffman greatly dives into the role with shear pleasure. Carried by the performances, but greatly so.
½ September 1, 2015
A good enough prison escape drama. Hoffman and McQueen are phenomenal, but it is difficult to overlook the overly long run time and the awkward national geographic-type nudity.
½ August 29, 2015
Near perfect prison-escape-buddy drama. McQueen's best.
August 9, 2015
Freedom is the most important thing for prisoner Papillon. and his longing for freedom is stronger than longing for living.... excellent roles created by Steve and Dustin....
August 7, 2015
Steve McQueen as Papillon is sent to the French Guyana prison camp on Devil's Island for murder. On the road he makes friends Louis Dega, a counterfeiter, and their friendship lasts quite a long time, this proves that this is the only thing that makes 2 men to hang on to as the long years of captivity.

McQueen and Hoffman are excellent, director Franklin J. Schaffner creates an great atmosphere in the prison as well as in the jungle.
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