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Breathless (1960)

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

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(original scenario)
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4,739 ( 189)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Patricia Franchini
... Michel Poiccard / Laszlo Kovacs
Daniel Boulanger ... Police Inspector Vital
Henri-Jacques Huet ... Antonio Berrutti
... Carl Zubart
... Himself
Claude Mansard ... Claudius Mansard
Liliane Dreyfus ... Liliane / Minouche (as Liliane David)
Michel Fabre ... Police Inspector #2
... Parvulesco the Writer
... The Snitch
Richard Balducci ... Tolmatchoff
André S. Labarthe ... Journalist at Orly
François Moreuil ... Journalist at Orly
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 February 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breathless  »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,222, 23 April 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$336,705, 31 October 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Parvulesco the Writer, the subject of the press interview, is played by Jean-Pierre Melville, "Godfather of the New Wave." There is a reference to Melville's film, Bob le Flambeur (1956), in "Breathless" when Poiccard asks Tomatchoff how to cash the check he gives him. Tomatchoff responds, "Try Bob Montagne," who is the title character in the Melville film. Poiccard replies, "But he's in jail." See more »

Goofs

When Patricia (Jean Seberg) is going up the escalator, a plant beside it can be seen moving as if knocked by the cameraman going up in front of her. 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 The 100 Greatest Films (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
To become immortal, and then die
21 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

So says the novelist in response to Patricia's question, "What do you hope to attain out of life?" That response is the philosophy of the film and of every character in the film. All want to be in control of their destiny. All want to be something that they are not. None are able to do any of these things. They are all contradictions. How can you die as an immortal? How can Patricia be free and independent is so many other things determine what she can do? How can this film transcend the screen while existing on the screen? This is an amazing film to watch. Goddard fills every scene with ingenuity and energy. He puts his actors in a beautiful environment and lets them do their thing. And they do it extremely well. The actors are beautiful. Not just cosmetically, but spiritually and psychologically. I am not sure that I liked either of the two main characters. I am sure I could not keep my eyes off them. I could not take my eyes off the screen. Techniques that novices today use for no substantial purpose are utilized by Goddard to amazing effect. The greatest filmmakers are the great editors. Goddard makes the editing a character itself. It is the nervous narrator hurrying the film along. It breathlessly awaits the next scene, and leads us to do the same. I like the way Goddard spends prodigious time simply watching his characters. The conversation scene at the center of the film is amazingly long and drawn out, yet I did not find it boring. I found it fascinating. People are fascinating. Everyone is trying to be something. It takes tremendous talent to indulge in the minutiae of existence. A great film.


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