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A Movie A Day: Quint watches PAPILLON (1973)
McQueen wrestles a live Croc!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s movie: PAPILLON. I think this is the first “What the fuck?” title, the first of many films of the column that I should be ashamed of having gotten to so late in life. “How can you write about film if you haven’t seen this movie?!?” etc etc. Well, now I’ve seen it and yes, I don’t know why it took me this long. The movie’s great. PAPILLON is a prison break flick, one of the best I’ve seen. And know what I loved about it? It’s fucking gory as hell! The guillotine scene? It’s sick, in all ways sick can be construed. But the real greatness comes from the character work and performances, most notably Steve McQueen as the title character and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega. There’s something magical about the late ‘60s to late ‘70s Dustin Hoffman. THE GRADUATE, PAPILLON, MARATHON MAN, LENNY, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, STRAW DOGS… He was one of the undeniable kings of this era. Hoffman, in is the perfect counter to the manly man quality McQueen brings to his role. Hoffman’s a man that can get things going, a man of wealth and assurance that his prison term isn’t a life sentence. The two are thrown together on the boat over to the island prison. Hoffman has the means to fund an escape, but has no interest in trying to escape and getting caught and put in isolation. He has faith that his influential wife will get him out via other less dangerous means. McQueen knows this is a life sentence for him and he’s getting the fuck out, but he doesn’t have the means. However, he is a badass and soon trades his protection for the funding of his escape. This was one of my favorite parts of the movie… the nighttime attack on Hoffman which results on McQueen cutting up a lowlife. Like, I said above, nice and gory. They do a really good job at making the prison a hellhole, but as bad as the prison is it’s the Four Seasons compared to solitary. After McQueen’s first failed escape he is sentenced to a year in solitary… and he doesn’t have a good time, to say the least. With each passing reel, the need for escape becomes more desired and more difficult to attain. The power of the film is it draws you in and when the big attempt is made at the end you really pull for our characters, especially since you know that if they’re caught then it means years in solitary, a process McQueen barely survived. In the movie we see: Steve McQueen tangle with a live crocodile, lepers, butterfly catching, lots of native boobs, people getting cut up, heads being removed and McQueen advised against masturbating in solitary… to save his strength. The writing was done by Dalton Trumbo, who has a fascinating story that we’ll get to in tomorrow’s report, in addition to Lorenzo Semple Jr. Unlike Semple’s collaboration on THE DROWNING POOL, everything clicks and moves in PAPILLON. The stakes are clear, the characters are incredibly well designed and the pace is always up. If you haven’t seen it, don’t be like me and put it off for years. I will say the DVD transfer that was in the McQueen box set isn’t very good… it’s murky, from a bad print, but regardless… see this movie. Thursday, June 5th: GUN CRAZY (aka DEADLY IS THE FEMALE) (1950) Friday, June 6th: NEVER SO FEW (1959) Saturday, June 7th: A HOLE IN THE HEAD (1959) Sunday, June 8th: SOME CAME RUNNING (1958) Monday, June 9th: RIO BRAVO (1959) Tuesday, June 10th: POINT BLANK (1967) Wednesday, June 11th: POCKET MONEY (1972) So, how alone was I in coming to this movie late? There’s a movie coming next week that should get my movie nerd card permanently stripped from me, so save your ammunition for then… and then there’s a movie at the end of the month, a musical, that everyone in the world has seen, including starving Ethiopian children, I’m sure, except for me. But in regards to PAPILLON, what’s the good word? What’s your favorite part? Let the discussion continue in the talkbacks below!

Tomorrow we jump to our first (of many) noirs with GUN CRAZY (aka DEADLY IS THE FEMALE), but we’ll be back to McQueen the movie after that. -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool

Readers Talkback
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  • June 4, 2008, 2:59 p.m. CST


    by Budcrud

  • June 4, 2008, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Twice in one week!!!

    by Budcrud

  • June 4, 2008, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Guess I'll read the article now...

    by Budcrud that I'm first.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Awesome Flick

    by Prof. Pretorious

    I love the leper part, "how'd you know I have dry leprosy?"

  • June 4, 2008, 3:08 p.m. CST

    love crocadile?!?!?!?!

    by unkempt_sock


  • June 4, 2008, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Haven't seen it either

    by Flying Spaghetti Monster

    But got it in the mail today, along with Jeremiah Johnson??(Recommended by a buddy along with with Papillon) God bless netflix

  • June 4, 2008, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Nothing wrong with not seeing these great flicks late

    by Aloy

    I only saw Papillion for the first time about 4 years ago and since I got TCM a couple of years ago there's a ton of flicks that I'm catching up on (and that I can appreciate more now anyway). It's nice to get a first time perspective from you Quint.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Based on a true story...

    by Scorpio1031

    This movie is based on a true story. I read the book when I was a kid, because my Mom wouldn't let me see the movie. It is a amazing movie and even a better book. I was in 3rd grade and did a 21 page summer book report on it. My 4th grade teacher freaked. True story.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Awesome Flick

    by Series7

    I like this movie it was pretty hellish. Like the scene where it showed what they were eating. Hey quint, was it you that was doing the One thing I love a little while back? Becuase who ever did it did something about an aswesome Speed Racer collectors DVD set and I can't find it anywhere nor the story on this site.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Love this movie

    by I am the most horrible

    I've seen it so many times, but when I'm surfing channels and pass by this flick I always linger, sometimes 'til the end. That says something.<p> Great character actors throughout. I love seeing that dude from the Clint Eastwood movies, whose name escapes me. He was the tattoo faced bounty hunter guy they encountered on escape attempt. What ever happened to that guy?

  • June 4, 2008, 3:15 p.m. CST

    The butterfly

    by MovieWhore

    Holy Shit Quint!! Your a Move Whore and it took you this long to see Papillon .. my daddy introduced it to me at the tender age of 8 or 9 with a double feature of the Great Escape and Ive loved Steve McQueen ever since

  • June 4, 2008, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Spag Monster

    by I am the most horrible

    The scene in Jeremiah Johnson with the beaver lodge is based on a true story too. I believe it happened to John Coulter after the Lewis and Clark expedition.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:18 p.m. CST

    great f'n movie

    by JeanLuc Dickhard

  • June 4, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST

    still haven't seen it...

    by dannyocean

    which is weird, because I have seen really bad McQueen movies like Tom Horn.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Great ,Great Film

    by npjs55

    The ending where they say farewell, never read the book or the follow-up.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Damn fine film

    by HeWhoCannotBeNamed

    damn fine. Now to read the review.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    i'm a fan...

    by blackthought

    of this flick...what took u so long to see it quint? was it episodes 1,2,3 of star wars or something similar?

  • June 4, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I know what I'm renting tonight.

    by g-ride9000

    yes folks, we have video/DVD rental places that have this and other rare titles, here in San Francisco. Go to the local video store, blow up blockbuster.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST

    struggling with a love crocodile.

    by frankenfickle

    i'm struggling with a booze crocodile. crocodiles are assholes.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST


    by HeWhoCannotBeNamed

    You're in for a treat as you can well surmise. Happy viewing.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Hollywood needs to take a walk down memory lane

    by rogueleader66

    Today's film makers need to look at movies like Papillon, and see what great movie making really is. Hollywood lost it's greatness a long time ago, they need to get their imaginations back. Sadly, it doesn't look like that's gonna happen anytime soon. Just read in VARIETY magazine: Remakes on the Hollywood horizon-The Karate Kid, Super Mario Brothers, The Goonies, Back To The Future, Vacation, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Die Hard. Brett Ratner, Uwe Boll, Paul WS Anderson, and Michael Bay, Have decided to put the names of those movies in a hat and they will take turns picking what films they will "Reimagine".

  • June 4, 2008, 3:37 p.m. CST

    I was about 8 or 9 when I saw it first too

    by HeWhoCannotBeNamed

    Wow. I remember really feeling fulfilled during the final shots/credits.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Don't make em like that anymore

    by skimn

    Good ol' pro direction from Schaffner. Another collaboration with Jerry Goldsmith. Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, when he bothered to act instead of nowadays.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST

    I hate Hollywood

    by HeWhoCannotBeNamed

    but I love film. Rhetorical question the first: What the hell happened?

  • June 4, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Quint, I'm going to give you another WTF..

    by Gwai Lo

    You haven't seen Rio Bravo? WTF??? Nah, it's alright. I've only seen it once and I barely remember it at all. And I haven't seen Papillon! But when it comes down to prison escape movies, my favorite is Le Trou. It's better than the Great Escape, better than Escape From Alcatraz.. Those Frenchies really know how to make digging out of jail suspenseful as fuck.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:46 p.m. CST

    It's been a while...

    by mooli_mooli

    But if I remember right the film is missing the scene in the book where he fucks a bull...

  • June 4, 2008, 3:49 p.m. CST

    I've seen Papillon...

    by Boba Fat

    and yes I love it. It's been a while though and this write up makes me want to see it again. Sort of the movie a day idea working in reverse. I love the Leper scene, smoking the cigar between those nubs and Hoffman, eatings bugs etc. <P>There's a great chapter in Steve Martins book "Born Standing Up" about the time he dated Trumbo's daughter and a dinner party at this house.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Don't Forget Goldsmith!

    by Morlock1

    One of Jerry Goldsmith's best scores. And that is saying something.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:55 p.m. CST

    I saw this when I was 7

    by messi

    fucking awesome film.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:56 p.m. CST

    The Jail bit and the cutting on the boat stuck with me

    by messi

    those are scenes and imagery that always stayed with me, aswell as Hoffman being distant at the end.

  • June 4, 2008, 3:57 p.m. CST

    papillon is awesome

    by m_reporter

    But seriously dude, how come you never saw Rio Bravo? Papillon I can kinda understand. But Rio Bravo? Point Blank being on that list is also... you know... kinda embarrassing.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:01 p.m. CST

    i have quite a few things to piss on Rio Bravo

    by Prossor

    just waiting to revolver whip wayne and martin in their nutsacks....

  • June 4, 2008, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Papillon, along with Midnight Express...

    by Sledge Hammer one of the movies that really stuck with me as a kid, and helped form not just my love of film, but also helped form my appreciation of the 'punch in the gut' power that film could have. Great, great stuff.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:30 p.m. CST

    God, I hated this movie...

    by grendel824

    I watched this years ago when a friend brought it over - he fell asleep about 7 hours into the movie, so he missed half of it. By the time the pro-wrestler jumped out of the forest at them, I hated this movie...

  • June 4, 2008, 4:37 p.m. CST


    by calvinballs

    good movie...pretty damn long though...A Man Escaped is bettah

  • June 4, 2008, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Everyone has classic 'name' films that they've never seen for wh

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...I, myself, have still, to this day, never seen E.T., how's that for shocking? <p>Gotta remember too, that before the age of the internet and dvd, we were all basically slaves to whatever the local video store had in stock, or what played the local movie house or on tv. Movie fans these days don't realise just how lucky they've got it, living in a world where, one way or another, almost anything can be gotten and watched if you want it bad enough.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:40 p.m. CST

    The guillotine scene

    by KnightShift

    Yes, it's obvious that it's a dummy's head that lands in the basket. But everything else about that scene is scary as hell, especially how the poor shlub about to get his noggin sliced off is FREAKING OUT, his eyeballs are completely bulging from his skull as he's screaming and spitting. Then the way the camera looks up into his face from the basket as the lunette closes, he goes quiet, not knowing when the moment comes, the warden nods and the blade comes down. The head drops and the blood flies and THEN comes the really hilarious part, the prisoner behind Dustin Hoffman casually asks:<p>"Mr. Dega, did you get the money?"<p>Darn, I need to watch this again after reading this write-up. Glad you liked it Quint! :-)

  • June 4, 2008, 4:41 p.m. CST

    Terrific movie, haven't seen it in a while

    by psychedelic

    The scenes that left the biggest impressions on me are the ones of McQueen in solitary. It truly is a hellhole and these scenes might be the finest acting of McQueen's career. There's a scene he imagines in solitary where he walks up to a council. He pleads innocence to his crimes, then they say he's guilty of living a wasted life. He walks away saying, "Guilty, guilty, guilty." It's a scene that's always stuck with me. <p> My inclination is to wait for a Blu-Ray release where hopefully it will be cleaned up, looking marvelous. I'll get it at that time to watch again. That would be fun.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:44 p.m. CST

    I have never seen:

    by Gwai Lo

    Gone With The Wind, Doctor Zhivago, The Sound of Music, Titanic (I watched the last hour but that's it), It's a Wonderful Life, The English Patient, hmmmm let me think...

  • June 4, 2008, 4:50 p.m. CST

    I pray to Steve McQueen

    by Liberty Valance

    He's more of a god than any of those frauds from a few millenia ago.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Speaking of McQueen's finest acting roles...

    by Sledge Hammer

    Quint, you absolutely need to watch The Sand Pebbles if you haven't done so already. Probably my favourite McQueen performance, and without doubt one of his most under appreciated films.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:54 p.m. CST

    And it was also directed by one of the greats

    by football

    Quint, your review failed to mention Franklin J. Schaffner. His previous movies Patton and Planet of the Apes were damn good aswell. Anyway, I share your love for this movie. First saw it on the big screen, front row, and I've never forgotten it.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:04 p.m. CST

    I have never seen cont:

    by Gwai Lo

    Well I was pleasantly surprised to find out I made it to #30 in the IMDB top 250 before I hit something I hadn't seen. Let me continue through the list, I have never seen: The Treasure of Sierra Madre (#50, own on DVD haven't watched), Double Indemnity (#54, have always meant to watch), Das Boot (#63, have seen parts of this on cable but never the whole thing), Modern Times (#74), Rebecca (#75), Singing in the Rain (#77), All About Eve (#78), City Lights (#85), On the Waterfront (#89, I KNOW I KNOW), Cinema Paradiso (#94). The numbers are gettting annoying so I'm dropping them. The Great Dictator, Strangers on a Train, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Bicycle Thief (own this, no excuse), High Noon, The Big Sleep, Notorious, Cool Hand Luke (four more movies I have no excuse for not getting around to yet) It Happened One Night, Lights of Cabiria, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Killing (for some reason I have owned this DVD for years and haven't watched it. Along with Killer's Kiss it is Kubrick that I have inexplicably delayed) Les Diaboliques (I REALLY want to see this but haven't yet), Brief Encounter, Night of the Hunter (own, passed out one night after watching 15 minutes and haven't gone back to it yet), Judgement at Nuremburg, The Princess Bride (it looks shitty to me. Shut up.), Gandhi, Shadow of a Doubt, Witness for the Prosecution, Gone With the Wind, The African Queen, Harvey, The Grapes of Wrath, The Adventures of Robin Hood (haven't seen this but I have seen Errol Flynn's pirate shit.), The Gold Rush, Duck Soup, Patton (own), The Best Years of Our Lives, Sleuth, Beauty and the Beast (I have seen the Disney version!), The Lost Weekend, The Day the Earth Stood Still (I did see this when I was like 5 but it might as well not count at that age), Glory, Umberto D, Stalag 17, The Oxbow Incident, Grave of the Fireflies (downloaded recently, haven't watched), Sunrise, The Philadelphia Story, Anatomy of a Murder, Dial M For Murder, Rope, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Roman Holiday, Harold and Maude, Infernal Affairs, Howl's Moving Castle, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Kid, Bringing Up Baby, La Dolce Vita, Wings of Desire, Great Expectations (own these last two and haven't watched yet.) PHEW. A lot of inexcusable titles in there but not bad for a 24 year old if I don't say so myself. This has actually been quite an interesting exercise, I am going to make a point of watching any of these films I can get my hands on now.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST

    "I'm still here, you bastards"

    by No Respectable Gentleman

    PAPILLON -- notwithstanding a couple of hokey scenes, this is a GREAT GREAT film, superbly crafted, richly atmospheric, and manly as hell. Barack Obama is right: America needs CHANGE. And so does Hollywood. Sweep out the spineless sequel-addicted executives and bring in book-readers with the balls to greenlight epics like PAPILLON. You can start with SHANTARAM. STEALING THE GENERAL is another. And A SENSE OF THE WORLD (look 'em up on Amazon).

  • June 4, 2008, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Gwai Lo

    by Knuckleduster

    Go watch City Lights now! Right fuckin now, you hear me? Bad Gwai Lo.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:23 p.m. CST

    You're better off...

    by Lenny Nero

    ...not watching "The Sound of Music," if that's the musical to which you refer. Utter overrated piece of schmaltzy shit, and this is coming from the guy who defended the "Sex & The City" movie.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Don't let them give you crap, Quint

    by psychedelic

    Everybody has gaps in their movie watching. I hadn't seen Doctor Zhivago from beginning to end until last month. Fortunatly, I got to see it in all it's glory on a big screen. Here are the movies on IMdB's all-time top 250 that I have not seen: Once Upon A Time In The West, M, To Kill A Mocking Bird [want to read book first], City Lights (1931), The Elephant Man [and I adore David Lynch], The General (1927), Wild Strawberries, Judgment At Nuremberg, The Grapes of Wrath [want to read book first], The Lion King [my sister and mother said it sucked when it first came out, so I never bothered] Umberto D, Stalag 17, The Ox-Bow Incident, Stalker (1979), The Kid (1921), Bringing Up Baby [saw parts of it years ago], Great Expectations (1946) [fell asleep in a movie theatre while watching].

  • June 4, 2008, 5:31 p.m. CST

    It's actually quite remarkable

    by Gwai Lo

    How hard it is to watch EVERYTHING. I wish I could trade in some of the shittier movies I've watched, I mean I have no need for the experience of stuff like Van Helsing, Elektra or Blade 3 anywhere in my brain.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:32 p.m. CST


    by Gwai Lo

    Once Upon a Time in the West is my all time favorite film. The Elephant Man is probably top 20 as well.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Oh and..

    by Gwai Lo

    I didn't notice Stalker in there as well. It's a mind fuck. I've only seen three of Tarkovsky's films (Solyaris, Andrey Rublyov and Stalker) but they're all masterpieces and all in my top 30 or so. The guy just works in God Mode at all times. Someone told me that he shot Stalker on some sort of experimental film stock that the Russian government gave him, but then the whole fucking thing turned out to be unusable. He was in despair for a while but then decided to re-film the entire movie and the end result is what we have today. No idea if that's true or if I'm getting the details right but that's a little factoid from my brain that came from somewhere.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Steve McQueen in the Great Escape

    by Gwai Lo

    Does anyone else think that Michael Keaton in Jackie Brown was playing Steve McQueen in the Great Escape? Whenever I watch Jackie Brown I just imagine that's the direction that Tarantino gave him. "Be Steve McQueen in the Great Escape." It's kind of eerie. But no, Danny Glover's Dick Blood, I have not see Love With a Proper Stranger. But you know who is hot? Anna Karina. Yeah. I want to Stay Tuned into Pierrot Le Fou and give her a crotch hickey.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Excellent film

    by TRON

    I happened to stumble upon this gem some years back.... definately a character driven story.... Somehow prison storys happen to be the best dramas for film... Birdman of Alcatraz (Karl Malden was excellent)and Shawshank Redemption are also great prison films. In fact I just rented this the other day... Another great Dustin hoffman flick is Little Big Man....

  • June 4, 2008, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Just watched this for the first time

    by scruffytbk

    Just finished watching papillon for the first time. I'm sorry to say that if it wasn't for this column I still wouldn't know that this film existed. Thanks for that because the film was awsome! My favourte part is when papillon is in solitary and he is put on half rations. I love that there's almost no dialogue during that sequence it's just carried by Steve McQueen acting his balls off. Also the whole part on the leper colony is great. The leper sitting in the shadows smoking a cigar was pretty creepy. Thanks again for turning me on to this, it was a great film. Hopefully there will be more films this good that i've never heard of!

  • June 4, 2008, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Brilliant, unique film

    by loafroaster

    The ending still sticks with me after seeing it over ten years ago. Just awesome.

  • June 4, 2008, 6:03 p.m. CST


    by Gwai Lo

    Also get the Stepfather released on DVD. Do It. Now. Shake My Hand. Do It. Terry O Quinn. Do It Now.

  • June 4, 2008, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Watched it yesterday

    by ThornBalls

    A couple of thoughts: - It was hard for me not to compare it with Shawshank. And since that's one of the best films ever I had a hard time appreciating Papillon. - I don't usually go back and watch older movies so things stick out when I do. What really stuck out for me on this is the long stretches of silence that would have been filled with mood music to some degree in any film made today. The silence wasn't a good thing. All in all though I liked it. It's probably one I'll never see again though.

  • June 4, 2008, 6:42 p.m. CST

    "Straight Time"...

    by REDD

    ...great Dustin Hoffman flick from 1978. It's available on DVD (it has an interesting commentary Hoffman and director Ulu Grosbard). Harry Dean Stanton, M. Emmet Walsh are great in it also (and look for a young Gary Busey, Theresa Russell and Kathy Bates).

  • June 4, 2008, 6:57 p.m. CST

    The Silence in Papillion

    by Flummage

    <p>I can understand that, Thornballs.</p> However, for me, the quietness of Papillion is one of it's greatest strengths, I found. What more appropriate time for silence than solitude? And this particular (cinematic) kind of solitude. It fits the nature of the story, at least. And if not something so weighty, just having MqQueen and Hoffman's faces on screen, doing some of their better storytelling, kind of goes someway to making up for any absence in the typical sensory outputs...</p> <p>Like I said, for me anyhow.<p> <p>And this talkback is not the first time I've been told that the book is even better than the film. Yup, I guess I should probably do something 'bout that.</p> <p> Another thing to look forward to, another to tell me that I'm still stumblin' to catch up no matter how fast my loping, lanky legs will carry me.</p> <p>Gods damn you, and your overabundance of beauty, Humanity.</p>

  • June 4, 2008, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Love with the Proper Stranger...

    by Lance4431

    That is a great, romantic movie. DG Dickblood is right: Natalie Wood is as hot as it gets, at least I always thought so.

  • June 4, 2008, 7:09 p.m. CST

    The Man who would be King (1975)

    by teacherman

    Sean Connery and Michael Caine in a great film directed by John fucking Huston !

  • June 4, 2008, 7:14 p.m. CST

    Damn You Michael Bay


    Damn You Michael Bay

  • June 4, 2008, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Just seeing Papillon now? You're a poser.

    by Vulcan Deathgrip Productions

    You got no business writing for this website if you're just seeing this movie for the first time now. Quit and write for the Drudge report or something.

  • June 4, 2008, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Same goes for Point Break. You suck.

    by Vulcan Deathgrip Productions

  • June 4, 2008, 7:28 p.m. CST

    This Just In...

    by loogenhausen

    Vulcan Deathgrip Promotions is a poser. Pass it on...

  • June 4, 2008, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Vulcan Deathgrip Productions

    by Gwai Lo

    He's not talking about Point Break.

  • June 4, 2008, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Fantastic movie.

    by mrfan

    Glad to see so many people enjoyed it and so many willing to see it. First time I saw it was about ten years ago.Better to see this now than the crap they have out there to watch.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:02 p.m. CST

    I still can't believe that The Man Who Would Be King...

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...still doesn't have a proper dvd release. I mean this thing is only out on a featureless flipper disc for fuck's sake. Such a great, great movie too. Straight Time and especially Little Big Man, both mentioned above, are really great too.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:06 p.m. CST

    As a stand alone film it is excellent..

    by C Legion

    as an adaptation it is a little disappointing. Henri Charrière's novel is utterly mesmerizing, there is so much more to the story that could not realistically be crammed into the film. I'd recommend you read it when you get the time Quint, its sequel "Banco" is also a good read, but doesn't reach the heights of "Papillon".<p> Glad you enjoyed it though mate.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:15 p.m. CST

    by Spymunk

    PAPILLON is a fantastic movie. I'm surprised you've never seen it, Quint. But now that you have, I hope to someday discuss it with you. And, by the way - you've never seen RIO BRAVO either? Oh my gosh, you're in for a treat.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Little Big Man

    by Roy Neary

  • June 4, 2008, 8:16 p.m. CST

    great flick.....

    by cameron fry

    love the column....and you're improving my netflix list...was running out of good shit and didn't really want 'Rambo'....I haven't seen a lot of these either...though Point Blank is one of my all time favorites, you'll love it.....

  • June 4, 2008, 8:17 p.m. CST

    cant wait till the remake with shia labouf

    by bacci40

    you know they will do it...

  • June 4, 2008, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Little Big Man

    by Roy Neary

    was one of Hoffman's best and is one of the most under appreciated films of that era. No one ever seems to mention it. I saw it as a kid and I watch it when I've come across it ever since. I've never liked Dances With Wolves because of it. Sorry.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:27 p.m. CST


    by 40ozToFreedom

    Loved the review, Quint, and thanks for sparking some actual film conversation on these talkbacks. Much better than the complaining and insult hurling I usually see around here. Here's hoping the column has a long run!

  • June 4, 2008, 8:29 p.m. CST

    these are always my favorite talkbacks quint

    by Jackie Boy

    people just discussing their love of film. No flaming, no hating, no fighting. Just passionate discussions of film. it's beautiful.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:56 p.m. CST

    The acting in Papillon....

    by Sparhawk38

    has got some special sauce going, to me. Some times the lightning strikes with great talent and great material. I love Shawshank, but I don't think the acting is a match. I don't mean the acting is bad in that is very good. I just think movies like Papillon take it all to another level.

  • June 4, 2008, 9:14 p.m. CST

    You are an ignorant!

    by darthlapin

    You see fit to mention native boobs, but not the fact this movie was inspired from a book that Mr Papillon wrote himself from his personel experience in that jail. This is a true story! You are pathetic.

  • June 4, 2008, 9:15 p.m. CST

    One of the coolest deliveries ever . . .

    by ScottsWillie

    I don't remeber the exact line but . . . After he smokes the cigar offered by the leper. L - "How'd you know I had dry leprosy and not infectious?" P - "I didn't." Just cool.

  • June 4, 2008, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Don't wanna knock THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION ...

    by No Respectable Gentleman

    ... which is a fine flick, but it borrows heavily from ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, BIRDMAN FROM ALCATRAZ, PAPILLON and other, earlier prison movies ... making its inordinately high rating on the IMDB 250 list a little vexing.

  • June 4, 2008, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Jerry Goldsmith's score is genius

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    NO ONE can write that blend of hard-edged horror/suspense and heartbreaking melody anymore. Terrific movie, as well (and if it makes you feel better, Quint, I never saw it until two years ago myself.

  • June 4, 2008, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Haven't thought about this movie...

    by KCViking

    In years! Was one of those films I was allowed to stay up and watch as a youngin' 'cause my father loved it. I'll have to watch it again because I seem to have forgotten parts of it (crocodile wrestling?).Come to think of it I have never seen it w/out commercials.

  • June 4, 2008, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Kinda Boring

    by Funketeer

    It seems a lot of people here really like it but I thought it was kinda boring. Maybe it's just because I expected a different kind of movie out of McQueen but I was disappointed.

  • June 4, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST

    I don't understand why Shawshank is number 2

    by messi

    and I never will. All i hear is Morgan Freeman's voiceover. Great heart warming film where justice seems done in the end but number 2!?

  • June 4, 2008, 11:37 p.m. CST


    by ThornBalls

    Shawshank is such a great film. But this isn't the thread to argue that though. I brought it up earlier to make a point that I totally missed finishing. That point is that this movie was made before I was born. So like most people my age or younger I saw Shawshank before Papillon and loved it. So when I finally saw Papillon there were a lot of similarities between the two and I had a hard time appreciating this film since I consider Shawshank to be the better of the two. To use another situation - I think the original Halloween is the best slasher type horror movie ever made. But someone who was born in 1987 might have been exposed to a lot of inferior movies from the same genre that have used the same scare tactics that Halloween originated. Then they go to watch Halloween and they can't see what a monumental film it really was because they've seen too many similar examples. I'm sure if I had seen Papillon in 1975 I would have appreciated it much more because it would have seemed much more original.

  • June 5, 2008, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Just finished watching it...

    by Flying Spaghetti Monster

    I thought it was really well done. Acting, setting, everything was pretty freaking awesome, but I can't help feel like after they get off the island and hit the shores of honduras, everything feels kinda foggy, like a dream. <p> I totally thought it was going to pull a Jacobs ladder and Papillon would wake up in his cell. By the way, i absolutely loved the POV shots in solitary confinement.

  • June 5, 2008, 12:06 a.m. CST

    A great movie!

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    I really like it.

  • June 5, 2008, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Hoffman could do just about anything back then

    by BenBraddock

    And I agree, both Little Big Man and especially Straight Time are brilliant movies. Totally engrossing, well acted and directed. Why haven't they been remade yet? ;-)

  • June 5, 2008, 1:15 a.m. CST

    since when have caimans been crocodiles?

    by beamish13

  • June 5, 2008, 5:21 a.m. CST

    The leper was played by Anthony Zerbe

    by Clancy Van Lustbader

    ... a character actor who's showed up in many a great genre film over the years (particularly in the early 70s). Thought he was great in his small role in this film. Among other things Zerbe played a dissident Irish miner in 'The Molly Maguires', a sadly neglected film from '68 which co-starred Sean Connery and Richard Harris. I'd like to see this column cover that one at some point. It's well worth a reappraisal.

  • June 5, 2008, 5:39 a.m. CST

    Hoffman's run

    by Napoleon Park

    Dustin could do no wrong there for a while, then he took "who is Harry Kellerman and why is he saying those horrible things about me?" and "John and Mary," a casual sex romance with Mia Farrow. though his tan corduroy slacks in that one were the tits.

  • June 5, 2008, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Harry should give Quint a box

    by Napoleon Park

    like the ones at the bottom of the page for comics, dvds and harry's reviews, or Herc's Coaxial sidebar. Someplace to cluster these movie a day reviews together for the benefit of the folks who may not come here every single day. This is truly an awesome undertaking and deserves to be archived in a way that keeps it accessible.

  • June 5, 2008, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Here's one for you to watch Quint

    by KnightShift

    "Mother, Jugs & Speed". The movie that dared to put Bill Cosby, Harvey Keitel and Racquel Welch in the same ambulance. Funny as hell and probably the darkest comedy that the Cos has EVER done. If you've never seen it before, put it on your must-watch list post-haste!

  • June 5, 2008, 6:52 a.m. CST

    wasn't Billy Mumy in this?

    by Maniaq

    oh the pain! the pain! Actually I thought this shat all over The Great Escape. I'd like to say it was better than Shawshank, but that's a tough one coz they're quite different... <p> I will say one thing about Papillon - Michael Schofield OWNS his ass!

  • June 5, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST

    What's wrong with tan corduroy slacks?

    by BenBraddock

    *Looks down*

  • June 5, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST


    by Series7

    Little Big man was on a couple weeks back on TCM and I didn't have enough DVR space to record it. Damn you 30 days of Oscars! Taking up all my DVR space with movies I haven't found the time to watch......and mind of mencia reruns. (no JK I would never hurt my TV like that).

  • June 5, 2008, 8:26 a.m. CST

    I talked with an old man

    by CuervoJones

    who met Papillon in a whore house i nSouth America. What a moment.

  • June 5, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Excellent column

    by m_prevette

    People need to be watching THESE movies and not every damn Asian Monkey Fu thing that hits DVD or God Forbid Fucking Apatow piece of shit movies. Damn some real movies. Although I understand, younger readers just were not around to see these movies originally, it's great to see them getting some geek love. Eat 'em up people.

  • June 5, 2008, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Dalton Trumbo is an American treasure.

    by rbatty024

    He's one of our greatest screenwriters. I can't wait for Gun Crazy. I just wrote a term paper on it (along with several other movies). He's a damn fine novelist too. If you have the time pick up Johnny Got His Gun. Great book.

  • June 5, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST

    They should totally remake this...

    by JAGUART

    With Damon and Affleck, the greatest actors of this generation.

  • June 5, 2008, 11 a.m. CST

    Mother, Jugs, & Speed

    by psychedelic

    It's totally worth checking out, Quint. It has it's value just in novelity factors but it is quite good and entertaining too.

  • June 5, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    I have seen that one a few times, actually. Where else would you hear Bill Cosby say that "Bambi's mom had nice tits,"?

  • June 5, 2008, 11:49 a.m. CST

    More MJ&S

    by psychedelic

    ...Or Bill Cosby getting a massage from naked women who use dildos...or Bill Cosby burbing into a CB mic...

  • June 5, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Oh, excuse me

    by psychedelic

    That's VIBRATING dildos.

  • June 5, 2008, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Prequel to Le Scaphandre et le Papillon,' oui?

    by Prague23

    I'm just le kidding.

  • June 5, 2008, 12:10 p.m. CST

    That old nun in Papillion was a bitch

    by Tacom

    I hated her guts.

  • June 5, 2008, 12:38 p.m. CST

    "The greatest adventure of escape" ?

    by ArcadianDS

    What the hell does that even mean?

  • June 5, 2008, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Nice, it's got a real

    by g-ride9000

    don't ever stop giving it to the man kinda vibe.

  • June 5, 2008, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Did you cry?


    I frickin love films like this! Films that seemed real and carved from life in places you can't imagine! Seeing them young is amazing not knowing who Hoffman or McQueen even were just soaking up the horror and humour and adventure of it all! stuff like this and Midnight Express and watching the Warriors and 48 Hours with my dad and not having the Baggage of knowing Eddie Murphy because he just got Scary Spice up the duff or is planning a PG Beverly Hills Cop4! I'm sure it's the same for kids these days but i can't imagine how all these CG remakes can possibly be as mindblowing as curling up on the sofa next to your mum aged 10 and shitting it thru The Thing or Marathon Man or Taxi Driver.

  • June 5, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST

    "The greatest adventure of escape" ?

    by Prossor

    it means the adventure which escapes the bestest.

  • June 5, 2008, 5:45 p.m. CST

    I didn't realise Steve McQueen almost played RAMBO!!!

    by football

    I was jut reading David Morrell's June WHAT'S NEW page where he talks about the recent death of Sydney Pollack, who was one of his five favorite film directors. And that he was originally scheduled to direct FIRST BLOOD when Steve McQueen was scheduled to play Rambo.

  • June 5, 2008, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Yeah, that nun was a bitch

    by I am the most horrible

    I hated her guts as well...nobody likes a narc.<p> I am amzaed at how riled up I got just being reminded of that horrible old twat.

  • June 5, 2008, 9:06 p.m. CST

    John Quade

    by I am the most horrible

    ...was the "Masked Breton" in Papillon to answer your question. Wait, that was my question. Thanks for nothing cinema brainiacs!<p> I sure would like to know what ever happened to that guy though. Anyone? wikipedia disappoints.

  • June 5, 2008, 10:37 p.m. CST

    have you people lost all..

    by nolan bautista

    ..sense of credibility? How could anybody forget Vic Taybacks performance? 'Mel' from the T.V. series "Alice" as a prison guard. The billing should have been Tayback/McQueen/Hoffman and Tony Zerbe as the dry leper dude..

  • June 6, 2008, 4:56 a.m. CST


    by BenBraddock

    Hoffman was to play Rambo too. No joke! As for watching Taxi Driver aged 10, curled up on the sofa with my mum, err, no thanks. But I absolutely get where you're coming from

  • June 6, 2008, 1:38 p.m. CST

    I think McQueen would've been better than Dustin as Rambo

    by football

    Thanks for the extra info though, BenBraddock.

  • June 7, 2008, 1:37 p.m. CST

    My favorite part?

    by XxSoulFlyxX

    When he escapes of course! Just the right wave after jumping off the cliff. Cowabanga! In all honesty. Its one of my favorite movies ever.

  • June 17, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    just caught it last night...

    by just pillow talk

    Good, solid movie. I'll tell you, good 'ol Stevie really showed that solitary confinement beat the living shit out of him...but not quite.<p>Thanks for this column Quint!

  • July 2, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST

    I thought it was TWO years in solitary...

    by jawsfan

    I thought Pappy got 2 years in solitary for his first escape attempt (it was 5 years for the second attempt).

  • July 5, 2008, 10:53 p.m. CST



  • Aug. 13, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST


    by alcester

    best prison movie ever! sorry Turkey.

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