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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 45,195 users  
Reviews: 171 user | 163 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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Edit

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:

$1,684 (USA) (11 August 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

To give a more detached, spontaneous quality, Jean-Luc Godard fed the actors their lines as scenes were being filmed. 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

Featured in Esperando Godard (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Just about everyone admits its an impressive technically and very innovative film. However, there are arguments about whether or not it is of value story wise.
28 October 2006 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

Reviewing the IMDb comments, there are certainly a lot of mixed reactions to this film. Just about everyone admits its an impressive technically and very innovative film. However, there are arguments about whether or not it is of value story wise. Some regard it as a masterpiece of iconic cool with Belmondo's character on the level with James Dean as a rebel fighting the establishment. Many others complain that in addition to being incredibly slow-moving and confusing, you grow to hate the two main characters and eventually don't care about their fates. I am a member of the first camp as I feel this film is both a masterpiece of innovation and characters.

First off, I'll explain what made this film so groundbreaking. Yes, the jump cut techniques have been used many times since and often to negative effect. They work well here though and give the film a very avant-garde feel. Even more so than that however are the characters. Belmondo's character is an anti-hero through and through. He is unlikeable, annoying, and makes constantly bad judgment. Yet at the same time he is cool, rebellious, and oddly sympathetic at the conclusion. This and "Yojimbo" created the modern anti-hero. As his American girlfriend, Jean Seberg is also very charismatic and they have great chemistry together.

Past the innovations, many have complained this is a film more to be appreciated than enjoyed. I disagree. The characters are interesting and the screenplay is believable. Many have said its slowly paced. It can be at times but its never boring as every scene contributes. I didn't find the bedroom conversation to be as tiring as everyone else seems to. Overall, if you have any interest in the history of film, you must see this at least one. Love it or hate it, just admit that it was very ahead of its time. (9/10)


15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Boring, sorry to say bpollen
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
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