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The 400 Blows (1959)
"Les quatre cents coups" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  16 November 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 64,496 users  
Reviews: 173 user | 160 critic

Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.



(scenario), (adaptation) (as M. Moussy) , 2 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #177 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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


Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14 year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab and unhappy home life. His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that's been pushed into the kitchen. He knows his mother is having an affair and his parents bicker constantly. He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and later stealing. His parents are at their wits end and after he's stopped by the police, they decide the best thing to do 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


Angel faces hell-bent for violence. See more »


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 400 Blows  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Position of Antoine's hands on the door when Rene comes to visit changes. See more »


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


References Summer with Monika (1953) See more »


La machine à ecrire
Composed by Jean Constantin
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User Reviews

François Truffaut's debut was a masterpiece
22 August 2011 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

François Truffaut was one of the best French critics past director and his letter is "Les 400 coups", a good example of this. The start of the "Antoine Doinel" (Jean-Pierre Léaud), series is dedicated to a movie fresh, dynamic, without a second to rest or boredom. A perfect example That cinema should be culture and at the same time, entertain, serve as escape. And that Truffaut has succeeded in most of his films, something that few directors have achieved.

François Truffaut is responsible for this dark urban tale, the film summit "novelle vague" French, one of the best debuts in film history. This debut feature tells the vicissitudes of "Antoine Doinel" a child whose life does not smile, your teacher will not tolerate it, hates his mother and his father ends up feeling the same after "Antoine" and best friend begin to make mischief.

It is a beautiful but very sad story, drawn with great skill and with a screenplay by Marcel Moussy with Truffaut. It is a deeply self-biographical film, and dedicated to his mentor André Bazin.

The film is well made, has a good photography, with a melancholy and nostalgic soundtrack, excellent performances for both children and adults, and an argument that many will shed tears for its crudeness. This works and this film take place among the great films of the good cinema.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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