7.8/10
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209 user 204 critic

Breathless (1960)

À bout de souffle (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 7 February 1961 (USA)
Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Jean-Luc Godard

Writer:

François Truffaut (original scenario)
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Popularity
3,779 ( 603)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Seberg ... Patricia Franchini
Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Michel Poiccard / Laszlo Kovacs
Daniel Boulanger Daniel Boulanger ... Police Inspector Vital
Henri-Jacques Huet Henri-Jacques Huet ... Antonio Berrutti
Roger Hanin ... Carl Zubart
Van Doude ... Self
Claude Mansard Claude Mansard ... Claudius Mansard
Liliane Dreyfus Liliane Dreyfus ... Liliane / Minouche (as Liliane David)
Michel Fabre Michel Fabre ... Police Inspector #2
Jean-Pierre Melville ... Parvulesco the Writer
Jean-Luc Godard ... The Snitch
Richard Balducci Richard Balducci ... Tolmatchoff
André S. Labarthe André S. Labarthe ... Journalist at Orly
François Moreuil François Moreuil ... Journalist at Orly
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jacques Lourcelles Jacques Lourcelles ... (as Raymond Ravanbaz)
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Storyline

Michel Poiccard, an irresponsible sociopath and small-time thief, steals a car and impulsively murders the motorcycle policeman who pursues him. Now wanted by the authorities, he renews his relationship with Patricia Franchini, a hip American girl studying journalism at the Sorbonne, whom he had met in Nice a few weeks earlier. Before leaving Paris, he plans to collect a debt from an underworld acquaintance and expects her to accompany him on his planned getaway to Italy. Even with his face in the local papers and media, Poiccard seems oblivious to the dragnet that is slowly closing around him as he recklessly pursues his love of American movies and libidinous interest in the beautiful American. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The film that was banned for 4 years. Why..? (original Finnish poster tagline) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was released around the same time as François Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959) and Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), thus establishing what came to be known as the French Nouvelle Vague (New Wave). See more »

Goofs

During street shots, countless passersby keep on staring into the camera, revealing the shots to be made without appropriate filming barriers and not using extras for pedestrians. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michel Poiccard: After all, I'm an asshole. After all, yes, I've got to. I've got to!
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Very Secret Service: Le Prunier (2015) See more »

User Reviews

"It's silly, but I love you. I wanted to see you, to see if I'd want to see you."
18 June 2004 | by Galina_movie_fanSee all my reviews

I finally did it. I finished watching À bout de souffle. I kept putting it off because I usually have problem when everybody tells me that such and such film is the epitome of its era or it breaks all the rules, starts the revolution, and reinvents the cinema. That's why, probably, I cannot like Citizen Kane - try to watch the arguably best film ever made - you will be under a lot of pressure.

Well, À bout de souffle does not put you under the pressure, it takes you for a ride, and you follow for 90 minutes its incredibly young characters, common crook (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his American free-spirited girlfriend (Jean Seberg) on their journey on the streets of 1960-th Paris along with Raoul Coutard's legendary camera. I am not going to tell here how great the camera work was, how fantastic the music score and the views of Paris were - the fans of the film know that already. They also know about the beginning of French New Wave, and how it influenced the future cinema. I just want to say that the movie was made over forty years ago - the smoking was cool back then, and Belmondo made smoking look very sexy. Belmondo fascinates me in this film. I've seen him in a lot of later movies - he's always been good (I recommend Le Magnifique, 1973 and Le Professionnel,1981 ) - but in À bout de souffle he is not just good - he is embodiment of cool, his face changes its expression every moment, you can not take your eyes off him. Is it me or he does remind the very young Mick Jagger - not commonly handsome but irresistible and sexy? He and young (she was 21 at the time) Jean Seaborg made one of the best screen couples ever. My favorite scenes:

Michel drives the stolen car in the beginning of the film, and he starts to talk to us, the audience. The day is nice, the sun is shining, and the life is beautiful...

Michel and Patricia drive in the convertible. The wind plays with her short hair. We only see the back of her head and her neck. Michel tells her that he loves the girl with a beautiful neck, wrists, knees, but she is a chicken...

Patricia comes to the hotel to find Michel in her bed. They start talking about nothing and about very serious things. They smoke, she tries to find a good place for her new poster, and he wants to sleep with her. In the end of the scene, his face, he looks at her - there is love in that look...

There is more - I am sure everyone who saw it has his/her favorite scenes.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

7 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breathless See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,424, 30 May 2010

Gross USA:

$363,031

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$378,503
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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