Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from the most infamous prisons in the world.
Henri "Papillon" Charierre is sentenced to life in prison and transported to the penal in French Guyana. Aboard ship on the voyage over, he meets Louis Dega, a forger. They form a bond that will last them a great many years. The conditions at the penal colony are horrific and Papillon desperately wants to escape. His first attempt ends quickly in failure and as a result he spends 2 years in solitary confinement. His next attempt is somewhat more successful and he actually spends a idyllic time with a tribe of Central America Indians. Once caught however, he does 5 years in solitary confinement. Once released, he decides to make one final attempt at freedom. Written by
The prison set was the largest in the film, an 800-foot expanse resulting from two years of research by production designer Anthony Masters. It was built near Falmouth on the north shore of Jamaica. See more »
At a scene in St. Laurent, there are mountains in the background, presumably on the Suriname side of the river. There are no mountains in that part of Suriname. See more »
[Papillon is contemplating a daring leap from a cliff to escape]
It seems so desperate. You think it will work?
Does it matter?
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Although media promotion hinted that this was another version of "The Great Escape", the movie, and Steve McQueen, avoided what would have been a fatal pratfall - remaking the 1962 POW war film with different costumes.
In fact, this was an excellent film that stood on its own merit(despite the fact that historians claim the story is not true) It was an excellent depiction of the French penal colony in Guana. It would have been great even without McQueen in the title role.
Dustin Hoffman was his usual superb actor, making the most out of his role. McQueen wisely avoided playing himself, and as a result, his role was stronger and believable.
Location scenes and overall plot were superb.
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