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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 64,505 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?


When Antoine and Rene are suspended from school, they go gallivanting around the town. At one point they pass a wall of posters and flyers, and they pull off a picture of a woman. The woman is Harriet Andersson in a shot from Ingmar Bergman's Summer with Monika (1953), also about two young lovers who ran away from home to "live their own life." See more »


When carrying the typewriter, Antoine's hair is mussed, but it is in place when he puts on his hat. See more »


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


Referenced in The Dreamers (2003) See more »


La machine à ecrire
Composed by Jean Constantin
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User Reviews

French cinema at its best
12 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Truffaut has worked wonders here, creating a masterful tale of a boy confused, troubled, and unloved. Antoine Doinel (played superbly by Jean-Pierre Léaud in the lead role) has strict, unfaithful parents, and a harsh, oppressive teacher, and falls into delinquency because of his unhappiness. He lies, steals, skips school and runs away from home, and soon ends up in a juvenile delinquency centre.

Truffaut's inspiration for this film came from his own depressed childhood, so he bases Antoine on himself, including in terms of appearance. Being a 'New Wave' (a cinematographic movement of the sixties, involving directors who believed Hollywood films were too lavish and unreal) director, Truffaut always used a real location for the film, including breathtaking shots of Truffaut's native Paris. He also made a cameo in the film in the style of Hitchcock.

Delinquance is the key theme here. Antoine, who is a character who believes in liberty and freedom, and the way he is always locked up is repressive for him, and this provokes a constant need for him to be out.

Trying to make a realistic and moving film was Truffaut's aim, which, by watching this film, I realised that he had done amazingly well. Also, by combining humour and drama too, we have the defining French film of the 20th century. A black and white film that is full of colour. Bien sur, François Truffaut.

57 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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