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Papillon [Blu-ray Book]

440 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

They called him Papillon, meaning buttlerfly. If only he had wings to go with the name. Unable to fly, Henri Charriere virtually willed himself free. He persisted until he did the impossible: escape Devil’s Island. Based on Charriere’s bestseller and shot in Spain and Jamaica, Franlin J. Schaffner’s film of Papillon united two stars at key career junctures. After a decade of fine work in The Great Escape, The Sand Pebbles and Bullitt, Steve McQueen found in Charriere another ideal tough-guy role. Coming off The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy and Little Big Man, Dustin Hoffman again distinguished himself as Dega, Charriere’s scruffy friend.

Special Features

Featurette: The Magnificent Rebel
Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Anthony Zerbe, Don Gordon
  • Directors: Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Writers: Dalton Trumbo, Lorenzo Semple
  • Producers: Franklin J. Schaffner, Ted Richmond, Robert Dorfmann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2011
  • Run Time: 151 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (440 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,494 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Papillon [Blu-ray Book]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 82 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on August 22, 2003
Format: DVD
Papillon is a great movie based on fact that contains many scenes that will stick with you for a long time. Henri Charierre is a safecracker framed for the murder of a pimp and sent to French Guiana, the prison system in South and Central America. Along the way, Papillon meets counterfeiter Louis Dega played to perfection by Dustin Hoffman. The two men struggle to survive amidst the horrible conditions in the prisons. However, the only thing that keeps Papillon alive is the thought of escape and freedom. This is a very bleak movie, at times you might not even recognize McQueen with all the makeup, but the ending does offer hope. The scenes of Papi's solitary confinement and the hallucinations he has while there are very effective and not easily forgotten. Also, the film decides to show prison life as it is. This is not a whitewashed version of it, but instead a fairly graphic depiction of the horrors of the French prison system. Nonetheless, this is still an excellent movie that will keep you interested throughout.
Papillon is up there with The Sand Pebbles as Steve McQueen's finest performances. His role as Henri "Papillon" Charierre is fully believable as he attempts over and over again to escape to freedom. Dustin Hoffman is just as good as Louis Dega, the prisoner who hires McQueen to protect him. The two become friends as they try to adjust to their new lives. The friendship between the two men is very good and some of the better parts of the movie involve their relationship. Don Gordon plays Julot, a veteran prisoner who tries to help them adjust. Robert Deman and Woodrow Parfrey are also very good as Maturette and Clusiot, two fellow prisoners who attempt escape with Papillon. I have to add about Jerry Goldsmith's very good score that perfectly fits the film.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Marty Gillis TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 6, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
I am a Steve McQueen fan and I think this movie is one of his very best performances if not THE best. The fact this film was not nominated for Best Picture and Steve McQueen for Best Actor of 1973 escapes me. He was known not to 'play ball' with the Hollywood system and was very much his own man, that may have had a hand in this film being so grossly overlooked in that respect. With that said, this review is going to deal with the actual Blu Ray transfer , both video and audio , and not the plot or performances contained in it.

Papillon comes to Blu Ray on a BD-50 disc with plenty of room for the 2 and 1/2 hour film, uncompressed 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack and a few small extras. It is currently being offered in the Blu Ray book format, with some nice glossy production photos and stills, but not much written content. It is a pleasing presentation but I would have been just as happy with the disc itself in an Eco case for the same price. Still, it is a nice classy way to store and display this wonderful film.

I had read many online reviews before purchasing this title and it had been pointed out to me that for perhaps the first 10 to 20 minutes the picture quality may not be all that it should with the remainder of the film blossoming into a beautiful 1080p HD presentation that belies the films age (38 years now) and lets you get lost in the stark harshness of the prison, the lush beauty of the jungle , the leper colony at night, the exhilaration of the ocean and the paradise of the West Indies where Papillon finds temporary respite. Skin tones throughout the film are natural, and besides the overabundance of grain in the first 20 minutes Papillon has a very pleasing look to it.
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85 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Juan on August 25, 2001
Format: DVD
I am from Cuba and I read this book (it was illegal for the goverment) someone let me read it and spire on me to figth for my fredoom. For a period of TWO years I tried to leave Cuba, 10 times took me to get to Miami USA, reading this book gime the corage to take a raft and risk my live in the water...... Now, I live in Puerto Rico, I still read this book and ones every other year I see the movie over and over It is great and I recomend it for every body that love fredoom or dream to be free one day even if you have to die to get IT !
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By KELLY PERKINS on May 17, 2000
Format: DVD
This movie is the best example of Steve McQueen's acting skills, bar none. Everyone who thought he was a one note player should look close and hard at this magnificent film. The chemistry between McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is a real tear-jearker. This should have been McQueen's Oscar, but he was not one to kiss anybody's butt for the statue. For me, this is a true tale of the survival spirit, really better than the GREAT ESACPE as far as serious pathos is concerned. Let's not forget Dustin Hoffman's character Dega. This was a composite of several people in the book. The final scene on the cliff should go down as a classic moment in cinema. Steve, we miss you!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Mikels on January 19, 2007
Format: DVD
I've been a fan of this film since it came out in theaters, and PAPILLON continues to impress and inspire with each subsequent viewing. In my opinion, this is Steve McQueen's absolute best role as Henri Charriere, a man wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to spend the rest of his life at Devil's Island in brutal French Guiana, South America. Henri, also known as "Papillon" (due to the tattoo of a butterfly on his chest), is determined to escape--even though the consequences of getting caught entail solitary confinement under the harshest conditions. Papillon escapes, and is caught and punished, escapes again, is caught and punished even more severely, and once he is banished to Devil's Island--an impenetrable rock amidst a fierce sea--his yearning for freedom is still not diminished.

McQueen shows some impressive range; stoic and rather one-dimensional in most of his other roles, the actor delivers a considerable variety of emotions. Dustin Hoffman is equally exceptional as Dega, Papillon's humble and unassuming friend. Based on a true story, director Franklin J. Schaffner has made a masterpiece about the indomitable will of the human spirit.

--D. Mikels, Author, WALK-ON
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Papillon [Blu-ray Book]
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