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.


Jean-Luc Godard


François Truffaut (original scenario)
4,626 ( 92)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Jean Seberg ... Patricia Franchini
Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Michel Poiccard a.k.a. 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)


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


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


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Jean-Luc Godard: Towards the end of the movie, the bystander (wearing sunglasses and reading the paper) who recognizes Michel and runs off to presumably tell the police. See more »


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 »


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


Featured in The Halfback of Notre Dame (1996) See more »

User Reviews

To Reinvent The Wheel
7 March 2011 | by ZachFrances1990See all my reviews

Jean-Luc Godard intended to shake the delicate world of cinema, that much is obvious. But did he intend to reinvent it? Whether it was his intention or not isn't the point, the point is this; he did. Jean-Luc Godard, and Francois Truffuat are the undisputed fathers of the French New Wave. Some cinephiles or historians may feel like pointing elsewhere, to Jean Renoir for example, protesting that he is truly the father of the French New Wave, I disagree entirely. The French New Wave was a product of the kindred spirits and talents of Godard and Truffaut. And no other film represents the French New Wave more coherently than Jean-Luc Godard's dazzling 1960 picture, 'Breathless'. Unorthodox and uninhibited. Raw and experimental. Godard broke every rule in the book, disavowed the laws of cinema, and scribed a new rule book, one where the pages are blank, and possibilities are endless. The story is so simple I can summarize the entire film in half of a sentence, but I refuse to give you or Godard the satisfaction. What counts in Breathless is not the story, but how the story is told. The very definition of 'cool', the film is robust in creativity, and exuberant in its flaws, and passionate about its reckless behavior. Self aware and rebellious. If there was no breathless, there would have been no Tarantino, if there was no French New Wave, the streak of genius that ran through the nineties and 2000s wouldn't have existed. Before Breathless, it was believed that films took money, that you had to find yourself in a place of authority to make a film. Breathless broke this misconception. Breathless makes you want to run outside and make the film of your life. Breathless made that possible, Breathless made the amateur the auteur, Breathless reinvented the face of the cinema, and made you believe that could too. All you need is a girl and gun.

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French | English

Release Date:

7 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breathless See more »


Box Office


FRF400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,424, 30 May 2010

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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