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Papillon

Papillon is a 1973 historical drama prison film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr. was based on the 1969 autobiography by the French convict Henri Charrière. The film stars Steve McQueen as Charrière ("Papillon") and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega. Because it was filmed at remote locations, the film was quite expensive for the time ($12 million), but it earned more than twice that in its first year of release. The film's title is French for "Butterfly," referring to Charrière's tattoo and nickname.

Plot

Henri Charrière (Steve McQueen), a safecracker nicknamed "Papillon" because of the butterfly tattoo on his chest, is wrongly convicted of murdering a pimp. In 1933 he is sentenced to life imprisonment within the penal system in French Guiana. En route, he meets a fellow convict, Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), an infamous forger and embezzler who is convinced that his wife will secure his release. Papillon offers to protect Dega if he will fund the former's escape once they reach Guiana. Enduring the horrors of life in a jungle labor camp, the two eventually become friends.