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4.7 out of 5 stars176
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 7 January 2013
I had this sent to a friend who has not reported on it yet .
Saw the film years ago , a marvellous experience to view , dramas and harshness for the poor prisoners on a French island , West Indies . My sympathies were strongly invoked .
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on 16 February 2016
VIDEO:

Papillon arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. For some unknown reasons, whether due to outright choices by Schaffner and DP Fred Koenekamp or due to what must have been extremely difficult location shooting challenges, the picture, at the first 10 – 15 minutes, was filled with heavy grain, slight noise, random blurriness, and lack of detail. The rest of the film, over two hours worth, was magnificent and truly spectacular. Detail was consistent, with soft shots nowhere to be found, and images were amazingly deep and beautiful. Compared with the previous DVD outing, colours are now incredibly lush and beautifully saturated. Some of the jungle scenes now reveal levels of shadow detail. The luscious location photography of Papillon really glistens now with increased sharpness and detail. (4/5)

AUDIO:

Papillon arrives on blu-ray with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio lossless track, which is passable and pure, but hardly enveloping. The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. Goldsmith's compositions, characterized by a late romantic symphonic and impressionistic style suffused with a metered, exotic timbre (using instruments from Caribbean folk music), are distributed mainly in the second half of the film. I personally love this soundtrack, especially the Title Theme. You will instantly recognize it as soon as you hear it. The soundtrack is finally available on CD from Universal Music S.A. France (2002), still readily available on Amazon.ca. In the film, however, dialogue is crisp and clear. (4/5)

MOVIE:

Papillon is a movie about Henri "Papillon" Charierre (Steve McQueen), sentenced to life in prison, meeting Louis Degas (Dusty Hoffman), forming a bond that will last them a great many years, and the many escapes that they experienced. The film's title is French, meaning "Butterfly" in English, which is referring to the tattoo and nickname that Charriere was given. The film is a slow burn, that isn't about the escape as much as it is the experience, with the attention to the most minor of details only making the plot seem more truthful. You believe everything you see, you accept the actors for their characters, and as they fail, you suffer along with them as the film drags out the misery and pain. (4.5/5)

PACKAGING:

I bought the more expensive digibook version, but I feel it’s worth it. The book itself is the same as all of Warner's other efforts, though the extreme glossiness of this book makes it very neat looking, with 34 pages detailing the story and actors with many beautiful pictures.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Papillon isn't for everyone, due to its very tough pace, which makes the runtime seem an hour longer than its already lengthy journey. Still, Steve McQueen is fascinating to watch, bringing his character to such amazing life that it's hard to not be captivated by his every action or inaction. Warner's digibook release of the escape flick has video that goes from blah to fantastic in fifteen or so minutes, and good audio, both of which show no signs of wear. The 34-page book is great with glossy pages, great essays and fantastic pictures. This is a heavy film. I personally enjoyed both the film and soundtrack. The blu-ray book is highly recommended.
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on 12 March 2013
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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on 1 December 2012
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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on 26 September 2006
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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on 24 February 2012
this movie is the best prison escape film ever made not only that you have two of the greatest actors of all time mcqueen and hoffman and if thats not good enough in my opinion these are the roles that are their best.this is the story of two men serving time in a brutal french penal colony and their attemts at escape,it is based on a true story and shows the inhumane treatment of the prisoners.if you want an all action film this is not for you but if you like a film with a proper story ,engaging characters and real depth you cant do better.
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on 3 December 2013
Excellent Plot, Excellent Acting, Excellent Location and scenes, A MUST SEE, those that have given less stars
and bad write ups should stick to reading nursery rhyme books SMH!!
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on 31 January 2014
This film is a testament to the human spirit. Never give up. Powerful performances from Duston Hoffman and Steve McQueen, gripping until the last.
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on 4 October 2014
I was surprised I hadn't heard of this prison escape film based in French Guiana until I saw it on IMDb top 250 films. Although no attempt was made at French accents, Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman were simply outstanding in this realistically portrayed epic. A lesson in raw determinism, cunning, and friendship in a convincingly hot, unforgiving environment. I was gripped for all 2.5 hours, as McQueen’s fate unfolded, though some segments were slower paced. And the make-up for aging them was brilliant. Although one cannot help but compare it with pretty much unbeatable The Great Escape, French Guiana makes a fascinating alternative setting for this epic about survival, though essentially, about freedom.
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on 20 July 2011
This warner bros US import is region free and plays perfectely on my UK sony player.

This disc is a must have if you are a Steve Mcqueen or Dustin Hoffman fan.

The film itself is a classic and if you're reading this review i'm sure you're interested in the Blu Ray quality the 1080P transfer has plenty film grain some parts of the film look soft especially the opening credits but once the film gets started the picture is very good and miles better than the sd version. The Blu Ray is also a digibook which is great.

The special features on the disc are poor which is unfortunate but if you are a fan of this movie it is worth importing this disc.
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