Papillon  (1973)

IMDB Rating 8.1/10  151 min - Rated 15 Action |  Drama

Stars:            Steve Mcqueen,  Dustin Hoffman,  Victor Jory Director:      Franklin J. Schaffner

1931: Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere is a petty criminal wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in a penal colony in French Guyana, South America. Dega (Hoffman) is also a resident of the colony. Papillon makes repeated attempts to escape but is always recaptured and thrown into solitary confinement.  Based on the ‘true story’ of Henri Charriere, whose nickname ‘Papillon’ (French for ‘butterfly’) was the title of his best selling account of escape from a penal colony, Schaffner’s film version cast Steve McQueen as the dogged escapee. The film strives for grimy authenticity in its depiction of the penal colony as a brutal hellhole. With each escape attempt, Papillon is set on an endurance course of blood, sweat and leprosy which the spectator goes through with him. The film marked the end of a run of highly successful films for McQueen, including The Great Escape, Bullit and The Getaway in which he established his screen persona as a rugged, impassive survivor.