Papillon (2017 film)

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Papillon 2018 poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Noer
Produced by
Screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski
Based on Papillon and Banco
by Henri Charrière
Music by David Buckley
Cinematography Hagen Bogdanski
Edited by
  • John Axelrad
  • Lee Haugen
  • Czech Anglo Productions
  • Ram Bergman Productions
  • FishCorb Films
Distributed by Bleecker Street
Release date
  • September 9, 2017 (2017-09-09) (TIFF)
  • August 24, 2018 (2018-08-24) (United States)
Running time
133 minutes
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • United States
Language English
Box office $4.5 million[1]

Papillon is a 2017 biographical drama film directed by Michael Noer. It tells the story of French convict Henri Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), nicknamed Papillon ("butterfly"), who was imprisoned in 1933 in the notorious Devil's Island penal colony and escaped in 1941 with the help of another convict, counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek). The film's screenplay is based on Charrière's autobiographies Papillon and Banco, as well as the former's 1973 film adaptation, which was written by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr. and starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.[2]

Papillon premiered on September 9, 2017, in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[3][2] The film was released in the United States on August 24, 2018, by Bleecker Street.


Henri "Papillon" Charrière, a safecracker from the Parisian underworld, is framed for murder. Though he has an alibi from his lover, Nenette, Papillon is convicted and condemned to the notorious penal colony on Devil's Island in French Guiana — a hellish prison from which nobody has escaped.

On the boat to South America, Papillon is awakened as two convicts murder the prisoner sleeping next to him in order to cut open his stomach and steal the money he had swallowed. He forms an unlikely alliance with a quirky counterfeiter named Louis Dega, who is targeted by the other prisoners who suspect him of also hiding money. Papillon saves Louis' life one night and is punished for fighting by the guards. In exchange for Papillon's protection, Louis agrees to finance Papillon's escape, ultimately resulting in a bond of lasting friendship.[4]



Papillon was shot in different locations around Europe including Montenegro, Malta, and significantly, in Belgrade, Serbia.[5]


Papillon released in the United States by Bleecker Street on August 24, 2018.[6]


Box office[edit]

As of August 26, 2018, Papillon has grossed $1,585,045 in the United States and Canada, and $2,180,684 in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $3,765,729.[1]

The film debuted to $1.2 million from 544 theaters in its opening weekend, finishing 16th.[7]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 54% based on 77 reviews, and an average rating of 6.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Papillon puts its own well-acted, solidly produced spin on a previously adapted tale, although it may not be quite enough to erase viewers' memories of the 1973 version."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9]

Sarah Melton from Exclaim! gave the film a mixed review, saying, "It's by no means a bad story, but it's unsatisfyingly safe in a way that such a brutal tale probably shouldn't be."[10]


  1. ^ a b "Papillon (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Harvey, Dennis (8 September 2017). "Toronto Film Review: 'Papillon'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  3. ^ Pond, Steve (15 August 2017). "Aaron Sorkin, Brie Larson, Louis CK Movies Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup". TheWrap. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin (3 August 2016). "'Mr. Robot' Star Rami Malek Joins Charlie Hunnam in 'Papillon' Remake". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  5. ^ Kay, Jeremy (5 December 2016). "US Briefs: Red Granite Pictures wraps 'Papillon'". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  6. ^ Carson, Rene (22 May 2018). "Brand New photos, poster and trailer revealed for true-life escape thriller Papillon". Film Fetish. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  7. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 26, 2018). "'Why 'Happytime Murders' Reps A Solo Career B.O. Low For Melissa McCarthy In A 'Crazy Rich' Weekend – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "Papillon (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Papillon Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  10. ^ Melton, Sarah (August 22, 2018). "'Papillon' Review: A Brutal Tale Is Played a Little Too Safe". Exclaim!. Retrieved August 22, 2018.

External links[edit]