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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 63,233 users  
Reviews: 172 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 250 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

Plot Keywords:

school | boy | run | police | coming of age | See All (67) »


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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Antoine's father finally nodded to the cinema business, realizing it is Rivette's "Paris nous appartient", he said: "Si c'est un complot..." And a 'complot' (conspiracy), really, is the central issue of the Rivette's film. See more »


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


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


Referenced in Cookie Jar (2003) See more »


La machine à ecrire
Composed by Jean Constantin
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Filmmaking by a Great Filmmaker
1 October 1999 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

The Four Hundred Blows is the semi-autobiographical story of Antoine Doinel, a boy trapped in a life of contemtptuous authority who turns to outward rebellion. Truffaut shows his mastery of the cinema in this, his freshman attempt.

The film is perfectly cast with Dionel relaying neutral facial expressions for the majority of the film. The boy, although not necessarily evoking sympathy from the audience, definitely evokes empathy. He is a pathetic character forced into his position by his teacher and his almost uncaring mother.

Throughout the film, Truffaut hints at the possibility of a happy life for the protagonist, but just as soon as the ideal is given to us, it is taken away. The mood shifts in the film are fabulously orchestrated through contrasting scenes, music, and even acting. From the opening sequence through the final, enigmatic still shot, the movie is a masterpiece of both French and world cinema. It is a must see.

46 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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