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The 400 Blows (1959)

Les quatre cents coups (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 16 November 1959 (USA)
A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

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(scenario), (adaptation) (as M. Moussy) | 2 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #204 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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This short film is the first segment of five in the multinational feature Love at Twenty (1962), all five segments on the theme of first adult love. After indulging in much delinquency in ... See full summary »

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Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Marie-France Pisier, Patrick Auffay
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Antoine Doinel
Claire Maurier ... Gilberte Doinel - la mère d'Antoine
... Julien Doinel
Guy Decomble ... 'Petite Feuille', the French teacher
... Mr. Bigey
Patrick Auffay ... René
Daniel Couturier ... Betrand Mauricet
François Nocher ... Un enfant / Child
Richard Kanayan ... Un enfant / Child
Renaud Fontanarosa ... Un enfant / Child
Michel Girard ... Un enfant / Child
Serge Moati ... Un enfant / Child (as Henry Moati)
Bernard Abbou ... Un enfant / Child
Jean-François Bergouignan ... Un enfant / Child
Michel Lesignor ... Un enfant / Child
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Storyline

Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14-year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab, unhappy home life. His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that's been pushed into the kitchen. His parents bicker constantly and he knows his mother is having an affair. He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and theft. His parents are at their wits' end, and after he's stopped by the police, they decide the best thing would be to let Antoine face the consequences. He's sent to a juvenile detention facility where he doesn't do much better. He does manage to escape however. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Det franske mesterværk om de unge i lømmelalderen[Denmark] See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 400 Blows  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All spoken lines in the film are dubbed over again by the actors themselves, save for a few minor and trivial parts. For instance, during the last scene, the sound of Antoine's footsteps was added during editing - the truck that the camera rested upon produced too much noise. Shooting on the streets of Paris, as many films of the French New Wave did, was often hectic and re-dubbing everything allowed François Truffaut to not have to worry about lugging bulky and expensive sound equipment around, and more importantly he would not have to worry about a street scene having too much background noise. This made shooting faster and easier. See more »

Goofs

When Antoine and René go to the cinema René wears a black coat, but in one shot he is wearing just a jacket. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Petite Feuille: Doinel, bring me that. Indeed! Go to the corner!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Age of Illusions (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

La machine à ecrire
Composed by Jean Constantin
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User Reviews

 
Living a wild life
5 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

This film aka "the four hundred blows" is a mistranslation.Faire les 400 coups" means"to live a wild life. As a French,I'm stunned when I see the popularity of this good ,but by no means outstanding film. 1.It's not the first film of the "nouvelle vague" move;check Agnes Varda's "la pointe courte",(1956)Alain Resnais's "Hiroshima mon amour"(1958),Claude Chabrol's "le beau serge"(1958) are anterior .Historically,"les 400 coups " comes after. 2.The "nouvelle vague" was sometimes ponderous and hard on their predecessors:Overnight,Julien Duvivier,Henri-George Clouzot,Claude Autant-Lara ,Yves allégret and a lot of others were doomed to oblivion.THis selfishness and this contempt is typically "nouvelle vague".You 've never heard (or read) the great generation of the thirties (Renoir,Carné,Grémillon,Duvivier already,Feyder) laugh at ,say,Maurice Tourneur or Max Linder.So,thanks to Truffaut and co,some people will never discover some gems of the French fifties or forties(Duvuvier's "sous le ciel de Paris",Autant-Lara's "douce",Yves Allégret's "une si jolie petite plage " and "manèges").THe novelle vague clique went as far as saying that William Wyler,Georges Stevens and Fred Zinemann were worthless! 3."Les 400 coups " is technically rather disappointing:it's very academic ,the story is as linear as it can be,the teachers are caricatures,and the mother Claire Maurier delivers such memorable lines as (you've got to be a French circa 1960 to understand how ridiculous it is): Well ,your father 's got only his brevet (junior school diploma)and,as for me ,I've got only my high school diploma!You've got to know,that circa 1960,hardly 10%of the pupils had the HSD in France! Antoine Doinel should have been proud of his mother after all!She wants him to have diplomas,who can blame her? 4.Compared to the innovations of "Hiroshima mon amour",which features a brand new form,and a new "fragmented " content,"les 400 coups " pales into significance.Truffaut will master a new form only with the highly superior "Jules and Jim", helped by the incomparable Jeanne Moreau. 5.The interpretation is rather stiff;Jean-Pierre Léaud ,arguably listenable when dubbed in English ,is still decent,but he will soon degenerate into the most affected of his generation. 6.The topic=stolen childhood had better days,before (Julien Duvivier's "Poil de carotte" ,Luis Bunuel's "los olvidados") and will have after (Maurice Pialat's "l'enfance nue",Kenneth Loach's "Kes") I do not want to demean Truffaut,his movie is not bad,but,frankly,French movie buffs,prefer "Jules and Jim" "l'enfant sauvage" (a film honest ,true and commercially uncompromizing to a fault)"l'argent de poche"(as academic as "400 coups" but much more funny)or his nice Hitchcock pastiche "vivement dimanche".


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