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Breathless (1960)
"À bout de souffle" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  7 February 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 47,637 users  
Reviews: 173 user | 167 critic

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Daniel Boulanger ...
Police Inspector Vital
Henri-Jacques Huet ...
Antonio Berrutti
Roger Hanin ...
Carl Zubart
Van Doude ...
Claude Mansard ...
Claudius Mansard
Liliane Dreyfus ...
Liliane / Minouche (as Liliane David)
Michel Fabre ...
Police Inspector #2
Jean-Pierre Melville ...
The Snitch
Richard Balducci ...
André S. Labarthe ...
Journalist at Orly
François Moreuil ...
Journalist at Orly
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Liliane Robin ...


Michel Poiccard, an irresponsible sociopath and small-time thief, steals a car and impulsively murders the motorcycle policeman who pursues him. Now wanted by the authorities, he renews his relationship with Patricia Franchini, a hip American girl studying journalism at the Sorbonne, whom he had met in Nice a few weeks earlier. Before leaving Paris, he plans to collect a debt from an underworld acquaintance and expects her to accompany him on his planned getaway to Italy. Even with his face in the local papers and media, Poiccard seems oblivious to the dragnet that is slowly closing around him as he recklessly pursues his love of American movies and libidinous interest in the beautiful American. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The film that was banned for 4 years. Why..? (original Finnish poster tagline)


Crime | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 February 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breathless  »

Box Office


FRF 400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£25,164 (UK) (7 July 2000)


$336,705 (USA) (29 October 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character of Michel Poiccard uses the name Laszlo Kovacs as an alias. It is often wrongly assumed this was an homage to the cinematographer of the same name: the film was made long before Kovacs established himself in the movie industry. It was actually a reference to the character played by Jean-Paul Belmondo in Claude Chabrol's Leda (1959), earlier the same year. See more »


When Patricia (Jean Seberg) is going up the escalator, a plant beside it can be seen moving as if knocked by the cameraman going up in front of her. See more »


[first lines]
Michel Poiccard: After all, I'm an asshole. After all, yes, I've got to. I've got to!
See more »


Referenced in One Minutes (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Revolutionary. Brilliant. Oh so pretty
23 October 2001 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

This Movie, a triumph of the French Nouvelle Vague, marks a turning point, not only for the Director, Jean-Luc Godard, but for anyone who sees it. The plot, though intriguing, is secondary to the incredible presentation. Use of hand-held cameras and jump-cuts (where the director cuts from one angle to a shot of the same angle two seconds later, a stylistic effect that can show freneticism or boredom) were revolutionary at the time, yet can still surprise and delight today.

Jean Seaberg is excellent, with the nicest accent you'll ever hear, as are the supporting cast, all rounded stereotypes. But the leading man outshines all the others. A virtuoso display from Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard makes the viewer swoon and scorn in equal measures. He doesn't make it easy for us to empathize with him, yet we still do, and in doing, we feel we have earned something.

Revolutionary. Brilliant. Oh so pretty.

122 of 160 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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Is there a character in movie history that smokes more than Michel? BigDanTeague
This film is so sexist liveandletdie-189-174252
Which director now reminds you of the early Godard? filmfancritic
great film but Jean Seberg's french was like nails on a chalkboard mlkyusuf
How does Breathless reflect the time at which it was made? rosanna-lloyd
*Yawn* dawnbaxter34
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