The Little Thief (1988)
"La petite voleuse" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, Crime, Romance  |  September 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,380 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 8 critic

In a small town in post-World-War-II France, an unhappy sixteen-year-old (Janine Castang) tries to escape her dreary situation by any means at her disposal. Three successive friends (Michel... See full summary »



(original scenario), (original scenario) (as Claude De Givray) , 3 more credits »
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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Janine Castang
Didier Bezace ...
Michel Davenne
Simon de La Brosse ...
Clotilde de Bayser ...
Séverine Longuet
Raoul Billerey ...
Chantal Banlier ...
Nathalie Cardone ...
Renée Faure ...
La Mère Busato
Catherine Arditi ...
La directrice école
Gilbert Bahon ...
Le brigadier
Clothilde Baudon ...
Joëlle Bruyas ...
Soeur Marie-Odile
Denise Chiabaut ...
Le doctresse
Philippe Deplanche ...
Jacques Longuet
Erick Deshors ...


In a small town in post-World-War-II France, an unhappy sixteen-year-old (Janine Castang) tries to escape her dreary situation by any means at her disposal. Three successive friends (Michel Davenne, a married lover; Raoul, a fellow thief; Mauricette Dargelos, a photographer and fellow prisoner) help her learn from her mistakes. Written by English Showalter <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Last Story from François Truffaut... See more »


Drama | Crime | Romance


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

September 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Little Thief  »

Box Office


$1,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


François Truffaut's scenario offered the leading character Janine Castang as a female counterpart to the character Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows (1959). See more »


References The Fighting Drummer (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

The Jane of Hearts
22 April 2008 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

She steals from the church to go to the movies. Janine, you've got to like her. But her own life is unlike the song-and-dance pictures she likes so much. It's more like a ballad, set to music in a minor key. As Bob Dylan famously put it: "She'd come away from a broken home, had lots of strange affairs, with men in every walk of life which took her everywhere." While Janine may have the genes of a flirt and a crook, it's the men she meets that take her from petty theft to grand larceny. She finds out the hard way there are limits even for a pretty girl and ends up in a nunnery that is half poorhouse, half prison. By showing us what she does, rather than narrating what happens to her, Claude Miller brings to life a story (written by none other than François Truffaut himself) that may easily have turned out corny at a lesser man's hands. The 1950s rural and Parisian sets are designed with just the right mixture of dedication and détente to make you forget it's only make-belief. The whole thing feels entirely natural and deeply touching at the same time. The biggest credit, of course, is due to the amazing Charlotte Gainsbourg and her arresting performance in the part of Janine. She resists the temptation of playing her as a teenage martyr and makes her a cheeky Cinderella instead.

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