The 400 Blows (1959) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • 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
  • A boy, Antoine Doinel, is often in trouble at school and doesn't get along with his parents, especially his mother. He briefly runs away from home but then returns (or is returned...). After a while he ups the ante and turns to petty crime...

    - Written by grantss
  • 13-year-old Antoine Doinel is unfairly punished in school by his teacher in French literature. Next morning his friend René suggests that they shall play truant. Instead of going to school, they go to the cinema, play pinball and visit a huge amusement rotor. The following day Antoine tells his teacher that his absence was due to his mother's death. Unfortunately his parents turn up at school. Antoine loves his mother, but she dislikes Antoine, because he is the result of an episodic intercourse in her youth, before she met Antoine's stepfather. When things get worse, both in school and at home, Antoine runs away. René lives in a huge apartment with his rich parents, who won't notice if Antoine sleeps in René's room. To get some money Antoine steals a typewriter from his father's office. The machine is unsellable, so he brings it back to the office, where he is caught by an office janitor. Antoine's stepfather brings him to the police, who imprison him for vagrancy and theft. A juvenile court judge sends him to an observation centre in the countryside, from where he runs away, and doesn't stop until he reaches the sea.

    - Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}
  • In Paris, early teen Antoine Doinel always seems to be in trouble or getting into trouble. He naturally has a short attention span - being easily distracted - which has led to him having poor grades at school. Some of his problems stem from his home life with his mother, Gilberte Doinel, and his stepfather, Julien Doinel, who really is the only father he has ever known as Gilberte and Julien married when Antoine was an infant. When Julien and Gilberte aren't working, they often leave Antoine alone to fend for himself. And even when they are home, they are often arguing and their parenting is inconsistent, leading to Antoine having no clear boundaries. On the most part, Antoine truly does believe that his mother does not love him. Those issues for which he is blamed are not always his fault, and many of his contemporaries just don't get caught as often as Antoine seems to get caught. Even when Antoine tries to do the right thing, he often is not given credit for his efforts, or his efforts lead to a bad result. The former issue is especially prevalent at school, where his teachers just believe that his school work will not be worth a passing grade. In general, punishments have been ineffective in curbing his behavior as he just rebels more against them. Antoine is often supported and/or egged on in his activities by his best friend, René, the two who often skip school together. Unless something drastic changes in Antoine's life, he is destined down a path that will lead to nothing good, which is more problematic as Antoine gets older.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

    - Written by Zaheer Qureshi


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