Surprisingly good given the social-issue-of the-week theme. A complex plot maintains the viewers' interest. The script must have been a logistical nightmare to shoot.
This film is a different adaptation of Charrière's 1969 autobiographical novel than the Steve McQueen/Dustin Hoffman vehicle of 1973. Both rooms are valid interpretations of the book. While the melodramatic 1973 film takes an unrelentingly existentialist view of the story, this one is more concerned with the friendship and understanding that grows between Papillon and Dega. As such, it is more optimistic about human nature.