Papillon (book)

Papillon is the autobiography of Henri Charrière, (* 16. November 1906; † 29. July 1973), a Frenchman, who had been condemned because of murder to lifelong hard labour in French Guayana.

Charriere (pointed name Papillon) always protested its innocence, without being able to prove these. Still in the prison in Paris make friends he with the counterfeiter Louis Dega, which had succeeded, a large sum of money to carry itself forward (in one “flat”, in the after of hidden metal cylinders), as well as with Julot Marteau, which was for the second time on the way after Guayana. This told it of the life in the penal colony.

After the arrival in French all three experienced Guyana that one them on the Îles you Salut (three small islands before the coast, Île Royale, Île pc. Joseph and Île you would send Diable, the devil island), which applied due to the sharks and the current as. Thereupon they pretended diseases, in order to come into the hospital. Julot succeeded alone the escape. Papillon makes friends itself with Clusiot and Maturette and it planned together the escape. Dega, which did not think anything from its plan, decided, to try its luck on the way on the islands which did not succeed to it however.

Clusiot, Maturette and Charrière wanted with a trick the custodian into the hall to lure and from it then the keys remove. The escape, which took place with a boat, led it across Trinidad and Curaçao to Colombia. There all were arrested and put into a prison. Papillon succeeded again the escape and went into an Indian area, which belonged to this time neither to Colombia nor to Venezuela. There it took itself two indianische women. After a half year it went again back to Colombia and after a few weeks was again arrested and with its colleagues at France delivered.

Afterwards it became on the island pc. Joseph (the middle island of the Îles you Salut) banishes, where he had to serve two years heavy solitary confinement. Afterwards it came on the Île Royale (largest island of the Îles you Salut). After several escape attempts and after it became a fellow prisoner, who had let its planned escape fly up, had murdered, it eight years solitary confinement condemned: guarida Fluchtversuch del für del drei y wegen Mordes del fünf. The relatively mild measure of punishment for the murder came along that several witnesses stated, it would have seen that the other one had seized first to the measurer. Since many single prisoners committed suicide or at scurvy gotten sick and the conditions flew up with the attendance of a higher member of the government, an exit was made possible weekly. With one of these exits it tried to save the girl of a prison attendant high-posed from drowning. Due to its it became after one and a half years from the solitary confinement to dismiss.

Again it planned the escape: A friend had suggested a plan, which they wanted to implement to him. Charrière played the crazy person and became into the hospital on the Île pc. Joseph brought, in which this friend worked. They tried the escape at night together. But the sea was too strong. Charrière succeeded it to come country but its friend drowned. Charrière was brought on the devil island.

It, again in company of a friend, fled center of the 1940er who died however in the driving sand before the Guyanese coast, over British Guyana to Venezuela, where it was arrested for short time into a labour camp. The book ends with its release from the camp.

After the large success of Papillon it published shortly thereafter the novel Banco, which reports of the events after the release and before the condemnation. It died 1973 in Spain.

The book was filmed 1973 with Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen.

The film deviates however in the following points:

  1. he in the film after an escape attempt and not after the first large escape (those nearly one year lasted) for two years arrested
  2. was condemned he because of a murder to the further five years solitary confinement and not because of an escape attempt.
  3. it had to serve the five years not completely (see above).
  4. its friend Louis Dega has it (in the film: Dustin Hoffmann) only once on an escape attempt accompanied, even if the two had planned together the escape (Dega held Charrières plan for too risky)
  5. have Louis Dega its punishment completely on the Île Royale served and the refugee were not Julot (
  6. mentioned “L'homme outer marteau”) on the escape murdered on the devil island never became, it did not succeed the escape and Charrière saw it year later by a coincidence again
  7. was never Charrière in the Camp kilometer of 40 or in another labour camp on the mainland

Web on the left of


  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)