7.6/10
14,465
64 user 73 critic

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Tirez sur le pianiste (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 23 July 1962 (USA)
Clip
2:25 | Clip

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) (as F. Truffaut) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Jules and Jim (1962)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Decades of a love triangle concerning two friends and an impulsive woman.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre
The Soft Skin (1964)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Pierre Lachenay is a well-known publisher and lecturer, married with Franca and father of Sabine, around 10. He meets an air hostess, Nicole. They start a love affair, which Pierre is hiding, but he cannot stand staying away from her.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean Desailly, Françoise Dorléac, Nelly Benedetti
Stolen Kisses (1968)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After being discharged from the army, Antoine Doinel centers a screwball comedy where he applies for different jobs and tries to make sense of his relationships with women.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade, Delphine Seyrig
Bed & Board (1970)
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Some time after "Baisers Volés", Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Christine Darbon (Claude Jade) are married and Antoine works dying flowers, and Christine is pregnant and gives ... See full summary »

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade, Hiroko Berghauer
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

At the beginning of the 20th century, Claude Roc, a young middle-class Frenchman meets in Paris Ann Brown, a young Englishwoman. They become friends and Ann invites him to spend holidays at... See full summary »

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Kika Markham, Stacey Tendeter
The 400 Blows (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
Day for Night (1973)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Léaud, François Truffaut
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Julie Kohler is prevented from suicide by her mother. She leaves the town. She will track down, charm and kill five men who do not know her. What is her goal? What is her purpose?

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michel Bouquet
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Claude Massoulier is murdered while hunting at the same place than Julien Vercel, an estate agent that knew him and whose fingerprints are found on Massoulier's car. As the police discovers... See full summary »

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Fanny Ardant, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In occupied Paris, an actress married to a Jewish theater owner must keep him hidden from the Nazis while doing both of their jobs.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Jean Poiret
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Antoine Doinel is now more than thirty. He divorces from Christine. He is a proofreader, and is in love with Sabine, a record seller. Colette, his teenager love, is now a lawyer. She buys ... See full summary »

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade, Marie-France Pisier
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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 »

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Marie-France Pisier, Patrick Auffay
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Serge Davri ...
Plyne
Claude Mansard ...
Richard Kanayan ...
Fido Saroyan (as Le jeune Richard Kanayan)
...
Chico Saroyan
Jean-Jacques Aslanian ...
Daniel Boulanger ...
Claude Heymann ...
Lars Schmeel
Alex Joffé ...
Boby Lapointe ...
Catherine Lutz ...
Edit

Storyline

Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, Momo and Ernest. We will discover that Charlie's real name is Edouard Saroyan, once a virtuose who gives up after his wife's suicide. Charlie now has to deal wih Chico, Ernest, Momo, Fido (his youngest brother who lives with him), and Lena... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Film for Adults See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 July 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shoot the Piano Player  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1963)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Dyaliscope)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening chase scene is so dark because the rain kept blowing the bulbs of the lights cinematographer Raoul Coutard was using to light the scene. Due to budgetary restrictions and the fact he was making a film noir, Truffaut simply decided to continue shooting with minimal lighting, resulting in moments of almost total visual obscurity at points throughout the scene. See more »

Goofs

When Lena and Charlie walk home after work you can see the shadow of the camera on their coats. See more »

Quotes

Léna: If you want to be an angel, go and buy me a pair of stockings. Afterwards, we'll go and tell that dirty pig Plyne a thing or two. Get me "Scandal" stockings. Light tangerine, that's my shade.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Dialogue d'Amoureux
Written by Félix Leclerc
Performed by Félix Leclerc and Lucienne Vernay
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

One of Truffaut's best
21 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

François Truffaut's second feature, Tirez sur le pianiste, is a deliberately wild and chaotic satire of the American gangster pictures of the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Truffaut tried to make Tirez sur le pianiste, or Shoot the Pianist, the complete opposite of his first picture, The 400 Blows, doing away with the sentimentality of the predecessor and making his second feature far more vicious, nonlinear and, occasionally, quite funny.

Based off of a pulp novel by David Goodis, the movie is about a once-famous piano player (Charles Aznavour) who gives up looking for the reason his wife left him, and now plays piano in a run-down Paris bar where he falls for a waitress, and must overcome his natural shyness in order to express his love for her. Unfortunately his brother gets him involved in a gangland feud, which gives the story an unnecessary (but welcomed) edge to the romance.

There are some highly amusing scenes, such as when Charles and his soon-to-be-girlfriend walk down a Paris sidewalk and he contemplates what to say, do, and how to act, without offending her or making a fool out of himself. We hear Charles' neurotic thoughts in voice-over – an effect now overused in cinema but back in 1960, very new. It wasn't until the intrusion of Woody Allen comedies such as Annie Hall that sporadic first-person narratives became popular – in the noir movies of the earlier decades voice-overs were sometimes used by narrators (such as in the cult classic Detour) but never in such a way as Shoot the Pianist's. It's one of the best scenes in the movie, and a great way of expressing the inner-workings of Charles, the character.

Shoot the Pianist's chaotic structure confused and overwhelmed many audiences when the film was released in 1960. Its content (violence, nudity, etc.) was not as welcomed by audiences as it is now, and as a result the film was a financial and critical failure. The humor was not appreciated, the insightful look at a French Everyman was not even noticed – it was ruled out as a dud, and that's all that mattered to anyone.

Over the years it has picked up a rather small cult following and fans of Truffaut's films have declared it to be one of his best pictures. Looking back now in light of such recent gangster genre hybrids such as Reservoir Dogs and Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Truffaut's movie not only seems more understandable but far ahead of its time. In relation to Reservoir Dogs it contains the same sort of standard, everyday nonchalance in accordance with gangsters – while it contains the narrative flow of Guy Ritchie's British gangster cult hit.

Regardless of how brilliant Shoot the Pianist seems forty years later, Truffaut was scarred by the negative press surrounding his second feature and never made another movie as daring (so to speak) or, more likely, downright fun as Tirez sur le pianiste. It's a very amusing movie, and it is one of the few 1960s films that doesn't seem dated compared to the film-making standards of modern-day Hollywood. The performances are flawless, the characters likable and realistic, the movie overall highly enjoyable and worth seeing more than just once. It is sadly one of Truffaut's most underrated movies, although hopefully in another forty years it will only be all the more appreciated for its qualities.

5/5


46 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 64 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

What Movies Do You Want to See This Summer?

Buzzing comedies such as Sorry to Bother You and The Spy Who Dumped Me await you in our Summer Movie Guide. Check in for the latest release dates and all the info you need.

See our Summer Movie Guide