IMDb > Breathless (1960)
À bout de souffle
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Breathless (1960) More at IMDbPro »À bout de souffle (original title)

Photos (See all 73 | slideshow) Videos
Breathless -- Three Reasons Criterion Collection trailer


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7.9/10   55,058 votes »
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Release Date:
7 February 1961 (USA) See more »
The film that was banned for 4 years. Why..? (original Finnish poster tagline) See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Imprisoned In Its Era See more (181 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jean Seberg ... Patricia Franchini

Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Michel Poiccard / Laszlo Kovacs
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 ... Parvulesco the Writer

Jean-Luc Godard ... The Snitch
Richard Balducci ... Tolmatchoff
André S. Labarthe ... Journalist at Orly
François Moreuil ... Journalist at Orly
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Liliane Robin ... Minouche
Gérard Brach ... Photographer (uncredited)

Philippe de Broca ... A Journalist (uncredited)
José Bénazéraf ... Man in a White Car (uncredited)
Jean Domarchi ... A Drunk (uncredited)
Jean Douchet ... A Journalist (uncredited)
Raymond Huntley ... A Journalist (uncredited)
Louiguy ... (uncredited)
Michel Mourlet ... Audience in the movie theater (uncredited)
Guido Orlando ... (uncredited)
Madame Paul ... (uncredited)
Raymond Ravanbaz ... (uncredited)
Jean-Louis Richard ... A Journalist (uncredited)
Jacques Serguine ... (uncredited)
Jacques Siclier ... (uncredited)
Virginie Ullmann ... (uncredited)
Emile Villion ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean-Luc Godard 
Writing credits
François Truffaut (story)

Jean-Luc Godard  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Georges de Beauregard .... producer
Original Music by
Martial Solal 
Cinematography by
Raoul Coutard 
Film Editing by
Cécile Decugis 
Makeup Department
Phuong Maittret .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pierre Rissient .... assistant director
Art Department
Clément Hurel .... poster artist
Sound Department
Jacques Maumont .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Claude Beausoleil .... camera operator
Raymond Cauchetier .... still photographer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Lila Herman .... assistant editor
Other crew
Claude Chabrol .... technical advisor
Christian Dines .... bonus material editor (uncredited)
Suzon Faye .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"À bout de souffle" - France (original title)
See more »
90 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Australia:M (TV rating) | Finland:K-12 (1996) | Finland:K-16 (1964) | Finland:(Banned) (1960) | Germany:16 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) | Norway:16 | Portugal:(Banned) | Portugal:17 (original rating) | Portugal:M/12 (re-rating) | Singapore:PG | South Korea:12 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) | UK:PG (video) | USA:Unrated | West Germany:18 (bw) (nf) (original rating) (cut)

Did You Know?

To give a more detached, spontaneous quality, Jean-Luc Godard fed the actors their lines as scenes were being filmed.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Double Cross (1992)See more »


What does it mean when Michel makes those three faces: open mouth, big smile, frown?
What is the movie playing in the theater when Michel and Patricia are trying to escape from the detectives?
What does Michel say at the end of the movie?
See more »
42 out of 71 people found the following review useful.
Imprisoned In Its Era, 15 May 2009
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

When critics or viewers praise a film only because it was technically innovative when it was made ... beware. It may mean that the film has either minimal entertainment value or minimal thematic content. Such is indeed the case with "Breathless", a film noted for the director's willingness to break rules of traditional cinema. This film is far more improvised, more off-the-cuff, then "staged" films made in years prior to 1960.

The story, about an unlikeable cad who romances a young woman in Paris, is dull as dishwater. It has no thematic depth. The script treatment, written by Francois Truffaut a year or two before Jean-Luc Godard filmed the movie, is used more or less as the basis for the plot and the dialogue, sans screenplay. And it shows!

Characters are not well thought out. Our cad is a killer and a petty thief who smokes a lot. He's also obnoxious. At one point he looks directly into the camera and tells viewers: "If you don't like ... then get stuffed!" The young woman is unremarkable in every way, apart from her unisex hairdo, which may have been chic in 1960; today it looks atrocious.

Likewise, the film's improvised dialogue is horrible. At one point the cad asks the young woman: "Why are you looking at me?" Her response: "Because I'm looking at you". And then later, the woman says "Well, I don't know yet whether I love you". The cad asks: "When will you know?" She responds: "Soon". He asks: "What does soon mean? In a month, a year?" She answers "Soon means soon". Submit a screenplay to a studio these days with dialogue like that, and see what happens.

Casting and acting are mediocre and bland. The two main roles are not demanding. The film's production design conveys the impression that Godard was trying to appeal to an audience of haughty sophisticates. Thus, we get an artist's studio, convertible sports cars, and lots of cigarette smoking. The background music is mostly light jazz, and when combined with the costumes, production design, and hairstyles makes the film seem very dated.

Maybe "Breathless" was Godard's way of breaking through as a major film director in 1960, specifically by thumbing his nose at Hollywood film directors from previous decades. And there's some merit to that. But I'm viewing this film in 2009, not 1960; and I'm a viewer, not a film director. A film that has nothing to offer but innovation, invisible to the viewer, runs the risk of being time bound, imprisoned in its own era.

And I have no doubt that "Breathless" was technically innovative. As such, it's a film that deserves to be read about in film history books, and seen by film historians and film students. But as entertainment for a general audience decades after it was made, and in its overall thematic content, it has little or nothing to offer.

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