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

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  16 November 1959 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 60,140 users  
Reviews: 169 user | 155 critic

Intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

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(scenario), (adaptation) (as M. Moussy) , 2 more credits »
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Top 250 #179 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Claire Maurier ...
Gilberte Doinel - la mère d'Antoine
Albert Rémy ...
Julien Doinel
Guy Decomble ...
'Petite Feuille', the French teacher
...
Mr. Bigey
Patrick Auffay ...
René
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
Edit

Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

Angel faces hell-bent for violence. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 400 Blows  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Pierre Leaud's answers to the questions given to him by the psychologist at the camp near the end of the film were not scripted. Francois Truffaut told Leaud in advance about the scene for what to expect to a certain extent, and did provide some minor coaching when Leaud answered the question in between takes as to what was working and what was not, but at large, Leaud's answers are unscripted and ad-libbed, per Truffaut's wishes, who wanted the scene to feel spontaneous and believable. See more »

Goofs

When Antoine and René go to the cinema René wears a black coat, but in one shot he is wearing just a jacket. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Me and You (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Balzac et Gymnastique
(uncredited)
Written 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.


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