7.8/10
16,782
61 user 104 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.

Director:

Robert Bresson

Writer:

Robert Bresson
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

16 December 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Pickpocket See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1965)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Banned in Finland until 1965 because of its depiction of authentic pickpocketing techniques. See more »

Quotes

Michel: Oh, Jeanne, to reach you at last, what a path I had to take.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Barrington (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

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
See more »

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User Reviews

Best appreciated if you slo-mo the whiz scenes
13 October 2004 | by Miles-10See all my reviews

A remarkable film even though the ending is anti-climactic. An amateur pickpocket gets lucky and meets Kassagi, the real-life pickpocket who served as the film's technical consultant. The most amazing scene is the one where three pickpockets rob one passenger after another on a train, taking wallets, passing them off to each other, then emptying and dumping them (or in one case, neatly replacing the lightened wallet in a man's pocket!). The light-finger techniques seem more or less authentic, although I imagine the director's script might have called for inauthentic bits of business. (No, I am not a pickpocket; I was a mark once, and they really messed up my life for a couple of days, but I have been fascinated ever since.)

The pickpockets in this movie follow the European style of stealing men's wallets practically face-to-face. (American pickpockets traditionally prefer to steal from behind to avoid any chance of a mark seeing their faces. When I was taken, I never saw, heard or felt anything.)

LaSalle as Michel is deadpan, but that seems to be part of his character. Now and again, he bubbles a little with suppressed feeling, mostly anger. His passion for Jeanne (Marika Green) is so completely submerged that it does not come out until the end. (If you think I'm spoiling anything, you will want to skip the on screen legend that opens the film because it gives away even more.) As a love story, this does not work. I get it, though: Something happened before the film begins that makes Michel extremely ashamed. He can't be with his mother or anyone he cares about because of his guilt.


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