Did Steve McQueen Star in the Movie Papillon?

Steve McQueen, known for his iconic roles in Hollywood movies such as The Great Escape and Bullitt, is a legendary actor who has left an indelible mark on the film industry. However, one question that often arises among movie enthusiasts is whether or not he starred in the movie Papillon.

The answer to this question is a bit complicated, and requires a closer look at the history of the film and McQueen’s involvement in it.

The Plot of Papillon

Firstly, let’s take a quick look at what Papillon is all about. This movie is based on the bestselling memoirs of Henri Charrière, which describe his experience as a prisoner in French Guiana.

The story follows Charrière (played by McQueen’s co-star Dustin Hoffman) as he attempts to escape from prison multiple times with the help of his friend Louis Dega (played by Hoffman). The movie was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and released in 1973.

McQueen’s Interest in the Movie

It is true that McQueen was interested in playing the lead role of Henri Charrière in Papillon. In fact, he had been trying to acquire the rights to Charrière’s memoirs for several years before the movie was made.

However, due to various reasons such as creative differences with the director and concerns about whether McQueen would be able to convincingly play a Frenchman, he eventually dropped out of the project.

Who Played Henri Charrière Instead?

As mentioned earlier, Dustin Hoffman played Henri Charrière instead of Steve McQueen. Hoffman had initially been offered the role of Dega but expressed interest in playing Charrière instead.

Despite some initial hesitation from Schaffner regarding Hoffman’s suitability for the role due to his smaller physique compared to McQueen’s rugged appearance, Hoffman managed to convince him that he could pull off the role convincingly.


In conclusion, while Steve McQueen was interested in playing the lead role in Papillon, he ultimately did not star in the movie. Dustin Hoffman played Henri Charrière instead and delivered a memorable performance that helped make the movie a classic. Regardless of who played which role, Papillon remains an important movie in Hollywood history and continues to be enjoyed by audiences around the world.

  • So, this was all about Steve McQueen’s involvement with Papillon.
  • The movie has become a cult classic over time and continues to be remembered fondly by fans of both McQueen and Hoffman.
  • If you haven’t watched it yet, Papillon is definitely worth adding to your must-watch list!