Papillon (1973)

FRANKLIN J. SCHAFFNER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB

USA/France, 1973.  Corona-General.  Screenplay by , , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Franklin J. Schaffner.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Another prison movie for Steve McQueen, and once again he’s trying for the great escape. He plays a French petty criminal who is wrongly accused of murder and, after a few unsuccessful attempts to break free, is sent to a maximum security prison in Guyana. All manner of degradation is detailed graphically for the eye to see, including sadistic sex among prisoners and torturous periods of isolation, and each detail only makes the experience less pleasant. It’s a pretty dull film, with the only worthwhile scenes coming from Dustin Hoffman‘s lively performance as McQueen’s awkward prison buddy. Based on a true story, McQueen’s title character keeps trying to break out throughout the whole film without ever giving up.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Original Dramatic Score

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Actor-Drama (Steve McQueen)

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