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The 400 Blows 1959 / Les Quatre cents coups film review

The 400 Blows 1959 film review

The 400 Blows (1959, France)

Original title
Les Quatre cents coups
Running time
99 minutes
Our rating
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 6 / 10

This movie is a children’s drama - the 14-year-old Antoine is considered by people around him as a difficult child. Antoine feels badly in his family home, with a weak father and mother that is not interested in the child at all. One day Antoine accidentally surprises mother with her lover. After a first shock, he uses the knowledge of this event very practically - it allows him to keep his mother on her toes. At school, Antoine does not feel well either - he is often skips the school, he feels vilified and commits minor crimes, thus inflicting new conflicts with adults. After stealing a typewriter he is sent by his parents to the borstal. But borstal turns out to be even worst place for him.

This is the first full-length feature film by François Truffaut, for which he received a Cannes award. This is a partially autobiographical film, based on the experiences of the director. The actor playing main character performs naturally and is most authentic. This movie is the first of a five-part series in which Antoine’s life is presented. Critics saw Truffaut as an outstanding representative of the new wave in cinema and his style was considered as the new quality in modern films. The 400 Blows was filmed entirely in black and white, which further highlights the drama layer of the story. Today the film could seem to be somewhat static, although besides the drama elements it also contains bits of comedy, or rather dark humour, f.e. the PT lesson or some of the main character’s dialogues.

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The 400 Blows videos

The 400 Blows

Creators of The 400 Blows

Francois Truffaut films

Francois Truffaut


Francois Truffaut films

Francois Truffaut


Marcel Moussy films

Marcel Moussy


Cast of The 400 Blows

Jean-Pierre Leaud films

Jean-Pierre Leaud

as Antoine Doinel

Claire Maurier films

Claire Maurier

as Gilberte Doinel

Albert Remy films

Albert Remy

as Julien Doinel

Guy Decomble films

Guy Decomble

as ’Petite Feuille’ teacher

Georges Flamant films

Georges Flamant

as Mr. Bigey

Patrick Auffay films

Patrick Auffay

as Rene

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