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The 400 Blows (1959)

Les quatre cents coups (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 16 November 1959 (USA)
A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director:

François Truffaut

Writers:

François Truffaut (scenario), Marcel Moussy (adaptation) (as M. Moussy) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Pierre Léaud ... Antoine Doinel
Claire Maurier Claire Maurier ... Gilberte Doinel - la mère d'Antoine
Albert Rémy ... Julien Doinel
Guy Decomble Guy Decomble ... 'Petite Feuille', the French teacher
Georges Flamant ... Mr. Bigey
Patrick Auffay Patrick Auffay ... René
Daniel Couturier Daniel Couturier ... Betrand Mauricet
François Nocher François Nocher ... Un enfant / Child
Richard Kanayan Richard Kanayan ... Un enfant / Child
Renaud Fontanarosa Renaud Fontanarosa ... Un enfant / Child
Michel Girard Michel Girard ... Un enfant / Child
Serge Moati Serge Moati ... Un enfant / Child (as Henry Moati)
Bernard Abbou Bernard Abbou ... Un enfant / Child
Jean-François Bergouignan Jean-François Bergouignan ... Un enfant / Child
Michel Lesignor Michel Lesignor ... Un enfant / Child
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Storyline

Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14-year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab, unhappy home life. His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that's been pushed into the kitchen. His parents bicker constantly and he knows his mother is having an affair. He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and theft. His parents are at their wits' end, and after he's stopped by the police, they decide the best thing would be to let Antoine face the consequences. He's sent to a juvenile detention facility where he doesn't do much better. He does manage to escape however. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Vanguard of New Film-Makers Comes an Extraordinary Motion Picture See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

16 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The 400 Blows See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,206, 25 April 1999

Gross USA:

$509

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$127,244
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All spoken lines in the film are dubbed over again by the actors themselves, save for a few minor and trivial parts. For instance, during the last scene, the sound of Antoine's footsteps was added during editing - the truck that the camera rested upon produced too much noise. Shooting on the streets of Paris, as many films of the French New Wave did, was often hectic and re-dubbing everything allowed François Truffaut to not have to worry about lugging bulky and expensive sound equipment around, and more importantly he would not have to worry about a street scene having too much background noise. This made shooting faster and easier. See more »

Goofs

While talking with his mother after his bath, the position of Antoine's hand that holds his head changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Petite Feuille: Doinel, bring me that. Indeed! Go to the corner!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ugly Betty: Zero Worship (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Balzac
Composed by Jean Constantin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Well made but the story just didn't grab me
24 July 2011 | by sme_no_densetsuSee all my reviews

François Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" is routinely listed as one of the greatest films in all of foreign cinema. At the time of its release it was hailed as an important film and subsequently proved to be immensely influential in the context of the French New Wave.

The semi-autobiographical story concerns a Parisian adolescent (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who attempts to escape problems at home and at school by delving into a life of petty crime. Unfortunately, he never receives more than a temporary respite from his predicament and frequently ends up deeper in trouble. The script is fairly loose and strives for realism above all else.

Enforcing Truffaut's aim of realism is the group of actors that he assembled. Léaud indisputably carries the film, at once delivering an authentic performance while also showing a maturity beyond his years. While not quite as impressive, the supporting cast is nevertheless uniformly solid, perhaps none moreso than Guy Decomble as Antoine's antagonist at school.

Truffaut's direction is exceedingly well-handled, not to mention impressive for a debut feature. The film also sports attractive cinematography and a lively score by Jean Constantin.

Indeed, the film can scarcely be faulted for any flaw in its construction or execution. Instead, my tempered enthusiasm is the result of feeling a certain amount of detachment from the main character. Naturally, this sort of objection is largely personal so your mileage may vary.


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