69 user 108 critic

Pickpocket (1959)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 16 December 1959 (France)
Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.


Robert Bresson


Robert Bresson
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Martin LaSalle ... Michel (as Martin La Salle)
Marika Green Marika Green ... Jeanne
Jean Pélégri Jean Pélégri ... L'inspecteur principal
Dolly Scal Dolly Scal ... La mère
Pierre Leymarie Pierre Leymarie ... Jacques
Kassagi Kassagi ... 1er complice
Pierre Étaix ... 2ème complice
César Gattegno César Gattegno ... Un inspecteur


Michel takes up picking pockets as a hobby, and is arrested almost immediately, giving him the chance to reflect on the morality of crime. After his release, though, his mother dies, and he rejects the support of friends Jeanne and Jacques in favour of returning to pickpocketing (after taking lessons from an expert), because he realises that it's the only way he can express himself... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Film debut of Martin LaSalle. See more »


[first lines]
Michel: I know those who've done these things usually keep quiet, and those who talk haven't done them. Yet I have done them.
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Referenced in Dark City (1998) See more »


Suite de symphonies d'Amadis (selection)
(title uncredited)
Music by Jean-Baptiste Lully (as J.B. Lulli)
Transcription: Fernand Oubradous (as F. Oubradous)
Conducted by Marc Lanjean
Éditions Transatlantiques
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User Reviews

NOT an adaptation of "Crime and Punishment"!
25 August 2006 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

Looks like there are a few negative reviews from misguided people who thought that this was supposed to be an adaptation of Dostoyevski's "Crime and Punishment". Let me say this slowly...




There are many allusions to C&P which were quite deliberate. But don't expect it to go any further than that. Instead we get a very complex & original work which, if anything, is more like Faust by Goethe. (But don't expect Faust either.)

The camera-work is primo. It's very fluid and keen, capturing so much in each motion, much like Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece "Rope" but even better in many scenes. And unlike many of the other French "nouvelle vague" directors of the 50s-60s who felt obligated to be weird in order to make a statement, this film was done very lucidly. We don't get gratuitous weirdness like long scenes of the backs of people's heads (Godard). Instead, this is more subtle in its approach to art. It's meticulous and very finely detailed, and that speaks for itself.

My only criticism is that the ending didn't seem believable to me. I think it happened too quickly, whereas the rest of the film was given ample time to breathe. So I was kinda left saying, "huh? where did that come from?" But I dunno, maybe I missed something. Overall this is some pretty good stuff. It's my first Bresson film, and it renews my faith in French movies of that period.

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Release Date:

16 December 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Pickpocket See more »

Filming Locations:

Gare de Lyon, Paris, France See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (1965)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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