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Papillon (1973)
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Papillon (1973)

A semi-fictional account of 'Henri Charriere' (qv)'s time in the penal system in French Guyana - some of it spent on infamous Devil's Island - is presented. It's the early 1930s. Charriere - nicknamed Papillon because of his butterfly tattoo - and Louis Dega are two among many who have been convicted in the French judicial system, they now being transferred to French Guyana where they will serve their time, never to return to France even if they are ever released. A safe-cracker by criminal profession, Papillon is serving a life sentence for murdering a pimp, a crime for which he adamantly states he was framed. Dega is a wealthy counterfeiter, who expects his well-to-do wife eventually to get him released. On Papillon's initiative, Papillon and Dega enter into a business arrangement: Papillon will provide protection for Dega, while Dega will finance Papillon's escape attempt. As Papillon and Degas' time together lasts longer than either expects, their burgeoning friendship ends up being an important factor altering their original plans, needed as they work with and against others who are trying to achieve their own goals, sometime conflicting with Papillon and Dega's. (Read More)

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The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
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The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

The film deals with the situation of British prisoners of war during World War II who are ordered to build a bridge to accommodate the Burma-Siam railway. Their instinct is to sabotage the bridge but, under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson, they are persuaded that the bridge should be constructed as a symbol of British morale, spirit and dignity in adverse circumstances. At first, the prisoners admire Nicholson when he bravely endures torture rather than compromise his principles for the benefit of the Japanese commandant Saito. He is an honorable but arrogant man, who is slowly revealed to be a deluded obsessive. He convinces himself that the bridge is a monument to British character, but actually is a monument to himself, and his insistence on its construction becomes a subtle form of collaboration with the enemy. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission into the jungle, led by Warden and an American, Shears, to blow up the bridge. (Read More)

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Cool Hand Luke (1967)
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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Luke Jackson is a cool, gutsy prisoner in a Southern chain gang, who, while refusing to buckle under to authority, keeps escaping and being recaptured. The prisoners admire Luke because, as Dragline explains it, "You're an original, that's what you are!" Nevertheless, the camp staff actively works to crush Luke until he finally breaks. (Read More)

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Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972)
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Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972)

A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction? (Read More)

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Lock Up (1989)
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Lock Up (1989)

Frank Leone is nearing the end of his prison term for a relatively minor crime. Just before he is paroled, however, Warden Drumgoole takes charge. Drumgoole was assigned to a hell-hole prison after his administration was publicly humiliated by Leone, and has now arrived on the scene to ensure that Leone never sees the light of day. (Read More)

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Ben-hur (1959)
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Ben-hur (1959)

Judah Ben-Hur lives as a rich Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Together with the new governor his old friend Messala arrives as commanding officer of the Roman legions. At first they are happy to meet after a long time but their different politic views separate them. During the welcome parade a roof tile falls down from Judah's house and injures the governor. Although Messala knows they are not guilty, he sends Judah to the galleys and throws his mother and sister into prison. But Judah swears to come back and take revenge. (Read More)

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The Count Of Monte Cristo (2002)
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The Count Of Monte Cristo (2002)

'The Count of Monte Cristo' is a remake of the Alexander Dumas tale by the same name. Dantes, a sailor who is falsely accused of treason by his best friend Fernand, who wants Dantes' girlfriend Mercedes for himself. Dantes is imprisoned on the island prison of Chateau d'If for 13 years, where he plots revenge against those who betrayed him. With the help of another prisoner, he escapes the island and proceeds to transform himself into the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo as part of his plan to exact revenge. (Read More)

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The Blue Lagoon (1980) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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The Blue Lagoon (1980)

On a journey to San Francisco, Richard, his father and cousin Emmeline find themselves on a ship about to explode. Rushed to a lifeboat with Paddy Button, the two children escape while their father (and uncle) are on another lifeboat. In the chaos following, the lifeboats are separated. Paddy, Richard and Emmeline find themselves with no food and no water stuck in the middle of nowhere. After some time, the three come across an uncharted paradise, where Paddy quickly teaches the children fishing, hunting and building. After maybe a month or two, Paddy gets very drunk off a barrel of rum found on the island when they first arrive, and drowns in the middle of the night. Emmeline and Richard, now alone and very scared, move location and rebuild their island home. Many years later, the two young teenagers have developed a very real home, but hormones and feelings between the two strain their friendship, until Richard, who is still very determined to reach San Francisco, is let down by Emmeline when a ship passes by the island and she does not light the signal fire. Throwing her out of the home they had built together, Emmeline attempts to survive on her own but is hurt. After Richard finds her dying, he realizes how he really feels for her and manages to save her. Nature runs its course and their friendship turns into love as the couple learn about the facts of life, when Emmeline has a baby and does not understand why. (Read More)

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Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
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Escape From Alcatraz (1979)

The true story of three inmates who attempt a daring escape from the infamous prison, Alcatraz Island. Although no-one had managed to escape before, bank robber Frank Morris masterminded this elaborately detailed and, as far as anyone knows, ultimately successful, escape. In 29 years, this seemingly impenetrable federal penitentiary, which housed Al Capone and "Birdman" Robert Stroud, was only broken once by three inmates never heard of again. (Read More)

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Apocalypto (2006)
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Apocalypto (2006)

In the Maya civilization, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors seeking slaves and human beings for sacrifice for their gods. Jaguar Paw hides his pregnant wife and his son in a deep hole nearby their tribe and is captured while fighting with his people. An eclipse spares his life from the sacrifice and later he has to fight to survive and save his beloved family. (Read More)

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The Green Mile (1999)
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The Green Mile (1999)

Death Row guards at a penitentiary, in the 1930's, have a moral dilemma with their job when they discover one of their prisoners, a convicted murderer, has a special gift.

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The Devil's Rejects (2005) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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The Devil's Rejects (2005)

In Ruggsville, Texas, the police under the command of Sheriff John Quincy Wydell attack the house of the sadistic serial killers Firefly family (a.k.a. The Devil's Reject) and they arrest mother Firefly, but Otis B. Driftwood and Baby Firefly escape from the siege. Tiny is wandering nearby the house and also escapes. Otis and Baby call their patriarch, the mad clown Captain Spaulding and they schedule to reunite at an isolated motel in the desert. When Otis and Baby arrive, they kidnap two families of singers, using sadism and violence against the harmless persons. Meanwhile, Sheriff Wydell promises to capture and kill the runaways, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, the Deputy George Wydell. (Read More)

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In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)
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In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. "In the Heart of the Sea" reveals the encounter's harrowing aftermath, as the ship's surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down. (Read More)

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Rescue Dawn (2006)
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Rescue Dawn (2006)

In 1965, while bombing Laos in a classified mission, the propeller plane of the German-American US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler is hit and crashes in the jungle. Dieter is arrested by the peasants, tortured by the Vietcong and sent to a prisoner camp, where he meets five other mentally deranged prisoners and guards. He becomes close to Duane and organizes an escape plan; however, the unstable Gene opposes to Dieter's plan. When they discover that there is no more food due to the constant American bombings in the area and their guards intend to kill them, Dieter sets his plan in motion. However, an unexpected betrayal splits the group and Dieter and Duane find that the jungle is their actual prison. (Read More)

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Hunger (2008)
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Hunger (2008)

Hunger follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, led by Bobby Sands. With an epic eye for detail, the film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit. (Read More)

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Dead Man Walking (1995) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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Dead Man Walking (1995)

A convicted murderer on Death Row and the nun who befriends him. Through the portrayal of finely drawn characters and their interactions as the days, hours, and minutes tick down to the condemned man's execution, powerful emotions are unleashed. While Matthew Poncelet and Sister Prejean desperately try to gain a stay of execution from the governor or the courts, scenes are intercut from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that transpired. In addition to her temporal help, the nun also tries to reach out spiritually and assist as a guide to salvation. (Read More)

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent. (Read More)

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Midnight Express (1978)
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Midnight Express (1978)

On October 6, 1970 while boarding an international flight out of Istanbul Airport, American 'Billy Hayes (I)' (qv) is caught attempting to smuggle 2 kilos of hashish out of the country, the drugs strapped to his body. He is told that he will be released if he cooperates with the authorities in identifying the person who actually sold him the hash. Billy's troubles really begin when after that assistance, he makes a run for it and is recaptured. He is initially sentenced to just over four years for possession, with no time for the more harsh crime of smuggling. The prison environment is inhospitable in every sense, with a sadistic prison guard named Hamidou ruling the prison, he who relishes the mental and physical torture he inflicts on the prisoners for whatever reason. Told to trust no one, Billy does befriend a few of the other inmates, namely fellow American Jimmy Booth (in for stealing two candlesticks from a mosque), a Swede named Erich, and one of the senior prisoners having already served seven years, an Englishman named Max, the latter two also in for hash related charges. One prisoner not befriended is Rifki, who wields power in the prison as the unofficial eyes and ears for the guards. As Billy, his family and his girlfriend Susan attempt through legal and diplomatic channels for Billy's release, Max tells him that the only way out is to "catch the midnight express" aka escape, which is what Jimmy is continually trying to do. When Billy's situation changes, he beco… (Read More)

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The Way Of The Gun (2000)
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The Way Of The Gun (2000)

Two petty if violent criminals kidnap a girl being paid $1m to be a surrogate mother. As the baby is for a gangster the pair's demand for money sees several henchmen and assorted other ruthless characters head after them to Mexico. Bullets rather than talking are always going to settle this one.

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War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017)

Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet. (Read More)

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Escape Plan (2013)
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Escape Plan (2013)

Ray Breslin is the world's foremost authority on structural security. After analyzing every high security prison and learning a vast array of survival skills so he can design escape-proof prisons, his skills are put to the test. He's framed and incarcerated in a master prison he designed himself. He needs to escape and find the person who put him behind bars. (Read More)

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Goya's Ghosts (2006)
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Goya's Ghosts (2006)

The painter Goya becomes involved with the Spanish Inquisition when his muse, Ines, is arrested by the church for heresy. Her father, Thomas, comes to him hoping that his connection with Brother Lorenzo, whom he is painting, can secure the release of his daughter.

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The Beach (2000)
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The Beach (2000)

Garland's novel centers on a young nicotine-addicted traveler named Richard, an avid pop-culture buff with a particular love for video games and Vietnam War movies. While at a hotel in Bangkok, he finds a map left by his strange, whacked-out neighbor, who just committed suicide. The map supposedly leads to a legendary island paradise where some other wayward souls have settled. (Read More)

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The Guns Of Navarone (1961) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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The Guns Of Navarone (1961)

Two powerful German guns control the seas past the Greek island of Navarone making the evacuation of endangered British troops on a neighboring island impossible. Air attack is useless so a team of six Allied and Greek soldiers is put ashore to meet up with partisans to try and dynamite the guns. The mission is perilous enough anyway but are the Germans on the island getting further help too?. (Read More)

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The Proposition (2005)
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The Proposition (2005)

Rural Australia in the late nineteenth century: Capt. Stanley and his men capture two of the three Burns brothers, Charlie and Mike. Their gang is held responsible for attacking the Hopkins farm, raping pregnant Mrs. Hopkins and murdering the whole family. Arthur Burns, the eldest brother and the gang's mastermind, remains on the loose and has retreated to a mountain hideout. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from the gallows by finding and killing Arthur within nine days. (Read More)

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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," the movie deals with the picaresque adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississipi. Sprung from a chain gang and trying to reach Everett's home to recover the buried loot of a bank heist they are confronted by a series of strange characters--among them sirens, a cyclops, bank robber George "Baby Face" Nelson (very annoyed by that nickname), a campaigning governor and his opponent, a KKK lynch mob, and a blind prophet who warns the trio that "the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find." (Read More)

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Braveheart (1995) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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Braveheart (1995)

William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace's father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce. (Read More)

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Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (2006)
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Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (2006)

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille came into the world unwanted, expected to die, yet born with an unnerving sense of smell that created alienation as well as talent. Of all the smells around him, Grenouille is beckoned to the scent of a woman's soul, and spends the rest of his life attempting to smell her essence again by becoming a perfumer, and creating the essence of an innocence lost. (Read More)

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Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
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Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant 'T.E. Lawrence' (qv) is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port. (Read More)

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U.s. Marshals (1998) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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U.s. Marshals (1998)

When a prisoner transport plane crashes, one prisoner, Mark Sheridan, skillfully escapes and saves lives at the same time. Deputy Sam Gerard and his team of U.S. Marshals pursue relentlessly, but Gerard begins to suspect that there is more to the exceptional fugitive than what he has been told. Meanwhile, Sheridan struggles to avoid capture while seeking answers of his own. Until the final scene, both Gerard and Sheridan are in jeopardy of the unknown. (Read More)

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Cube (1997)
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Cube (1997)

Six different people, each from a very different walk of life, awaken to find themselves inside a giant cube with thousands of possible rooms. Each has a skill that becomes clear when they must band together to get out: a cop, a math whiz, a building designer, a doctor, an escape master, and a disabled man. Each plays a part in their thrilling quest to find answers as to why they've been imprisoned. (Read More)

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The Condemned (2007)
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The Condemned (2007)

The story of Jack Conrad, who is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison. He is "purchased" by a wealthy television producer and taken to a desolate island where he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom going to the sole survivor. (Read More)

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Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom (1975)
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Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom (1975)

Nazi-Fascist Northern Italy, 1943-44. Four senior members of government, aided by henchmen and Nazi soldiers, kidnap a group of young men and women. They hold them for 120 days, subjecting them to all manner of torture, perversion and degradation.

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Cast Away (2000) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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Cast Away (2000)

A man is marooned on an island after his plane crashes into the ocean. Far away from home, his girlfriend, and any human contact, he engages in a battle of wits with himself as he is tested mentally, physically, and emotionally in order to survive.

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Menace II Society (1993)
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Menace II Society (1993)

This urban nightmare chronicles several days in the life of Caine Lawson, following his high-school graduation, as he attempts to escape his violent existence in the projects of Watts, CA.

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Platoon (1986)
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Platoon (1986)

Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris himself draws towards psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon. (Read More)

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Australia (2008)
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Australia (2008)

In northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, an English aristocrat inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier. (Read More)

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The Deer Hunter (1978) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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The Deer Hunter (1978)

Michael, Steven and Nick are young factory workers from Pennsylvania who enlist into the Army to fight in Vietnam. Before they go, Steven marries the pregnant Angela, and their wedding party also serves as the men's farewell party. After some time and many horrors, the three friends fall in the hands of the Vietcong and are brought to a prison camp in which they are forced to play Russian roulette against each other. Michael makes it possible for them to escape, but they soon get separated again. (Read More)

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The Hateful Eight (2015)
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The Hateful Eight (2015)

Some time after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. Bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive captive Daisy Domergue race towards the town of Red Rock, where Ruth will bring Daisy to justice. Along the road, they encounter Major Marquis Warren (an infamous bounty hunter) and Chris Mannix (a man who claims to be Red Rock's new sheriff). Lost in a blizzard, the bunch seeks refuge at Minnie's Haberdashery. When they arrive they are greeted by unfamiliar faces: Bob, who claims to be taking care of the place while Minnie is gone; Oswaldo Mobray, the hangman of Red Rock; Joe Gage, a cow puncher; and confederate general Sanford Smithers. As the storm overtakes the mountainside, the eight travelers come to learn that they might not make it to Red Rock after all... (Read More)

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The Wages Of Fear (1953)
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The Wages Of Fear (1953)

In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerin are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers and on the rough remote roads the slightest jolt can result in death.

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Double Jeopardy (1999)
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Double Jeopardy (1999)

When Nick Parsons appears to be murdered his wife Libby is tried and convicted. Six years later Libby is paroled and with the help of Travis Lehman (her parole officer) she sets out to find her son and the truth behind the "murder".

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Unbroken (2014) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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Unbroken (2014)

The life of 'Louis Zamperini' (qv), an Olympic athlete who joined the armed forces during the second world war. Only to be captured by the Japanese navy after a plane crash in the Pacific. During his capture, Louie must continue his fight by surviving through the war.

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Quills (2000)
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Quills (2000)

The infamous writer, the Marquis de Sade of 18th Century France, is imprisoned at Charenton Insane Asylum for unmentionable activities. He manages to befriend the young Abbe de Coulmier, who runs the asylum, along with a beautiful laundress named Madeline. Things go terribly wrong when the Abbe finds out that the Marquis' books are being secretly published. The emperor Napoleon contemplates sending Dr. Royer-Collard to oversee the asylum, a man famed for his torturous punishments. It could mean the end of Charenton and possibly the Marquis himself. (Read More)

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Malcolm X (1992)
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Malcolm X (1992)

Biograpical epic of Malcolm X, the legendary African American leader. Born Malcolm Little, his father (a Garveyite Baptist minister) was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. He is assassinated on February 21, 1965 and dies a Muslim martyr. (Read More)

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The Legend Of Tarzan (2016)
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The Legend Of Tarzan (2016)

Following his parents' death in Africa, John Clayton has been be raised by an ape, was known by the name Tarzan, but eventually left Africa and for his parents' home in England, along with the woman he fell in love with and married, Jane Porter. He is asked by Belgian King Leopold to go to Africa to see what he has done there to help the country. Initially, he refuses. But an American, George Washington Williams, wants him to accept so he can accompany him. He says that Leopold might be committing all sorts of atrocities to achieve his goal, like slavery. Clayton agrees and his wife insists that she accompany him because she misses Africa. When they arrive, a man named Rom, who works for Leopold, attacks their village and captures Tarzan and Jane. With Washington's help he escapes and sets out to rescue Jane by going across the jungle. Washington joins him despite being told that he might not make it. (Read More)

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Cloud Atlas (2012) is one of the best movies like Papillon (1973)
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Cloud Atlas (2012)

Everything is connected: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his lover; a thriller about a conspiracy at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living on post-apocalyptic Hawaii far in the future. (Read More)

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Assault On Precinct 13 (1976)
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Assault On Precinct 13 (1976)

Police ambush and kill several gang members in Los Angeles. Gang members make a pact of blood to strike back at police, and conduct a siege on the police station which is almost abandoned and due to be closed. Staff of the closing precinct and the criminals being held there while in transit must work together to fight off the attacking gang members. (Read More)

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(Poster artwork courtesy of TheMovieDB.org)