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Papillon [DVD] [1973] [1974]

131 customer reviews

Price: £5.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon, Anthony Zerbe
  • Directors: Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Writers: Dalton Trumbo, Henri Charrière, Lorenzo Semple Jr.
  • Producers: Franklin J. Schaffner, Emanuel L. Wolf, Robert Dorfmann, Robert O. Kaplan
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: English, German, Swedish, Finnish, Danish
  • Dubbed: German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Dec. 2000
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000050GQ8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,234 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Henri 'Papillon' Charriere's account of life in the infamous and reputedly inescapable Devil's Island prison, brought to the screen with Steve McQueen as its eponymous hero. Refusing to surrender to the cruelty of the prison regime, Papillon protects the bespectacled Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman) from an abusive guard, makes a bid for freedom, and ends up spending a long spell in solitary confinement. When he is finally released back into the main prison, he again refuses to surrender and, along with Dega, makes another escape attempt.

From Amazon.co.uk

Franklin J Schaffner's Papillon is quite possibly the definitive prison escape drama. Not as thrilling as The Great Escape, nor as emotionally cathartic as The Shawshank Redemption, its unflinching emphasis on the barbarism of "civilised" societies is nevertheless unparalleled. Significantly, the only characters to display any real kindness in this film are the social outcasts: the lepers and native Indians; everyone else has been corrupted and debased by the true villain, the penal system itself. Based on Henri Charrière' s heavily fictionalised "autobiography", the film's timeless themes of man's insatiable desire for freedom and the indomitability of the human spirit are thankfully not dependent for their impact on the source material's veracity. Dalton Trumbo's liberal-minded screenplay echoes the themes of his earlier script for Spartacus, and Schaffner's innate gift for epic cinema (this was made just two years after his great war biography Patton) is fully equal to the task of realising it on screen. The director's painterly eye for widescreen composition and his careful pacing impart a gravitas to proceedings even during the film's most squalid depictions of brutality, of which there are many emphasising the cheapness of human life among the convicts and their equally criminal prison guards in the penal colony of French Guiana. Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman form a remarkable screen pairing, with Hoffman outstanding as the pusillanimous Dega. McQueen magnificently overcomes his tough-guy persona in the extraordinary solitary confinement sequences as he is gradually reduced to a shambling, cockroach-eating wreck. Longtime collaborator Jerry Goldsmith, who had previously scored Schaffner's Planet of the Apes and Patton, attained yet another career high with his music.

On the DVD: The anamorphic widescreen print of the original Panavision 2. 35:1 ratio looks fine without being as stunning as some more modern prints; the Dolby 5.1 audio does however do great service to Jerry Goldsmith's score, which can also be selected separately from the Audio Setup menu as an isolated track (note that there's no music at all in the first 20 minutes of the film). The 12-minute "Magnificent Rebel" featurette was made at the time of the film's release , and includes some fascinating footage of Henri Charrière touring the prison se t, reminiscing about his experiences and pontificating ("Society does not want free men, society wants conditioned men"). --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By IP TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Dec. 2014
Format: DVD
The perfect gift for all movie buffs is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Papillon is a prison movie,based on a memoir of the same name by Henri "Papillon" Charriere.The central character is Papillon himself,an unjustly(we don't really know) convicted man,who is sent to an infamous French prison on Guiana.En route there, he meets a very wealthy convict, Louis Dega and becomes his protector.

From the minute they set foot on Guiana and with Dega's financial backing,Papillon starts devising plans about their possible escape.
The rest of the film,is all about their attempts at breaking out as well as the harsh conditions they have to overcome in order to survive.

The relationship between the two men is at the core of the movie. Despite them being very different in character,the honest attitude they have towards one another brings them very close and makes them actually care about each other's fate.

Both Steve McQueen as Papillon and Dustin Hoffman as Dega are wonderful and the chemistry between them is very solid as well.The rest of the cast in mainly consisted of unknown actors,who make up for some very interesting characters.

Over the years it has been written numerous times that the book on which this movie is based, is mainly a work of fiction rather than a biography, like its writer suggested.Or probably a collection of real events that have happened to different persons and Papillon combined them to make its central character.It really doesn't make any difference as the movie is very compelling on its own.

An overall very good film,that with the use of some excellent location shots,reminds us that some films Hollywood can't make any more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Robinson VINE VOICE on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have been aware of Papillon for many years but only got round to watching the movie recently. While watching this glorious looking print I was reminded of how films used to look, big and wide with huge vistas but still having a story big enough not to get lost in all that technicolour glory. McQueen and Hoffman and the supporting cast are just superb in a film that somehow feels important. The directors last two movies had been The planet of the Apes and Patton, both of which had been commercial and critical successes.

Although based on a "true story" it is a Hollywood blockbuster with a huge budget, huge stars and a fantastic story of personal courage and perseverance in difficult circumstances. Papillon, our hero, imprisoned for a crime he did not commit will not give up on his quest to escape. Filmed on location, the film has a "real" feel to it and looks fabulous. The DVD box tagline "The greatest escape adventure ever filmed" (a nod to the Great Escape made a few years earlier) is probably correct.

Huge films like this can sometimes lose the most important element in any film, the relationships and character of the main protagonists. Not so with Papillon, McQueen and Hoffman remain real and human through out and do not lose their humanity even in a film which could do so. McQueen gives the performance of his life and is very unlike those of earlier films.

If you like your films big but with a heart then this may be for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dunner on 1 Dec. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Steve McQueen was my all time hero. I have enjoyed nearly all his films the Papillon being no exception. I thought the quality of the DVD was excellent in spite of the fact it is an old film. His co star Dustin Hoffman played an excellent part as well. Good value for money I enjoyed every minute
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gareth James Lee on 5 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The DVD Papillon is a film that I have watched many times and one that I will continue to watch, over and over again, because it is so good that there is always something new to notice about the film, due to the excellence of the film. I would recommend it to anyone as an indication of what tenacity in fact is, in reality and what it involves in terms of the problems that go with being tenacious; in everyday affairs and life in general. Since the film has so much detail that It goes a long way towards explaining what tenacity is; in real life terms, despite this just being an escape storyline film.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. Johnston on 26 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A pretty stark depiction of the human spirit and how quickly normal people can become dehumanised by their conditions, but balanced out by the characters played by McQueen and Hoffman (together with the chaacters that come into the story and help them out). It's not always the actions of the prisoners that are brutal either, the establishment - both guards and civilians - are also portrayed in a damming light. Brilliant acting from McQueen and Hoffman as they are able to pick up their characters and bring out their differing but complimentary personalities perfectly.

I'd agree with the comment that you wouldn't watch it much more often than once every five years as it's a long film and quite heavy going; but when you do you'll be drawn into it without fail.

Cinematically it's also very impressive with brilliant use of locations and atmospheric sound, including effective use of silence when some films may have shied away and felt that they needed music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gerrard on 12 Mar. 2013
Format: Blu-ray
this has english audio in DTS-HD 5.1 only with optional subtitles in english, french and spanish.the only extras are a 12 min short featurette called The Magnificent Rebel where Henry Charriere revisits Devil's Island on the set of the film and a theatrical trailer.there is no commentary track unfortunately.this comes in digibook format with some biographical info and pics.it is also region free.whether the picture quality is worth the upgrade from dvd i'm not sure.the dvd is available for less than a fiver,amazon are currently asking £20 for the blu-ray.If you really can't live without this film on blu-ray it might be better to buy it from one of the marketplace sellers for half that price which is what I did.
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