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

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  7 February 1961 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 46,059 users  
Reviews: 173 user | 165 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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Title: Breathless (1960)

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

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Cast

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

Storyline

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 Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 February 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breathless  »

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£25,164 (UK) (7 July 2000)

Gross:

$336,705 (USA) (29 October 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Jean-Pierre Melville, Godard asked him for consultation during the post-production stage because the first edit was too long for distribution. Melville suggested Godard remove all scenes that slowed down the action (his own turn as novelist Parvulesco included). But instead of excluding entire scenes, Godard cut little bits from here and there. This led to the "jump cut" technique this movie introduced. Melville declared the result to be excellent. See more »

Goofs

During street shots, countless passersby keep on staring into the camera, revealing the shots to be made without appropriate filming barriers and not using extras for pedestrians. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in The Death King (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"If you don't like this film...then you can get stuffed!"
25 December 2006 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

"À Bout de Soufflé" aka "Breathless", was the first full-length film directed by the controversial Jean-Luc Godard, and the first film of his long career that I've had the chance to see so far. "Breathless" is the landmark film of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave), when young filmmakers such as François Truffaut thrilled the audiences and shocked the Establishment.

Although some people may not be as impressed with "Breathless" structure as they were in 1960, it remains a terrific, breathtaking film experience and has aged wonderfully. Such masterpieces live up to the hype and time, even though they're not as technically impressive as they were 40 years ago, and they're still powerful thanks to what great films consist of: passion. As another user rightfully stated, we have to look at "Breathless" from a historical point: it's different from any other previous film. Godard was truly a visionary and an incredibly talented, passionate "auteur".

"Breathless" plot is rather simple: Michel Poiccard/Laszlo Kovacs (Jean-Paul Belmondo), our anti-hero, is a young criminal on the run from the police, after stealing a car and killing a cop. He has an affair with a beautiful young American, Patricia (Jean Seberg), an aspiring journalist who sells the New York Herald Tribune in the middle of the Champs Élysées (her first scene here was paid a tribute by Eva Green in Bertolucci's "The Dreamers"), and is also expecting Michel's baby. Patricia helps Michel to dodge the police, while they steal cars together in order to raise money for a trip to Rome. But when you want to "vivre dangereusement jusqu'au bout" - or, live dangerously till the end, things may end up not so well.

When you see Belmondo touching his lips, trying to imitate Humphrey Bogart's trade mark, Seberg walking on the Élysées as lovely as a girl can be, the unforgettable final moments...you don't worry about theories on why this is a classic. "À Bout de Soufflé" is Cinema.


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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
New Wave-An Intellectual Fraud For The Ages joseph-kulik-919
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