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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.

Director:

Jean-Luc Godard

Writer:

François Truffaut (original scenario)
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Popularity
4,572 ( 2)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 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 ... Himself
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 French Film The French Talk About - The Most See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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:

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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

As well as the real-life Michel Portail, Jean-Luc Godard also based the main character on screenwriter Paul Gégauff, who was known as a swaggering seducer of women. Godard also named several characters after people he had known earlier in his life when he lived in Geneva. The film includes a couple of in-jokes as well: the young woman selling Cahiers du Cinéma on the street (Godard had written for the magazine), and Michel's occasional alias of László Kovács, the Hungarian-American cinematographer who would become famous for Five Easy Pieces (1970) and other films. 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

Referenced in Double Cross (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
To become immortal, and then die
21 January 2006 | by jdoan-4See 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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