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The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups) (1959)

The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 9.3/10
Reviews Counted: 52
Fresh: 52
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: A seminal French New Wave film that offers an honest, sympathetic, and wholly heartbreaking observation of adolescence without trite nostalgia.

Average Rating: 8.8/10
Reviews Counted: 13
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: A seminal French New Wave film that offers an honest, sympathetic, and wholly heartbreaking observation of adolescence without trite nostalgia.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 37,172

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Movie Info

"The 400 Blows" marks the birth of legendary nouvelle vague character Antoine Doinel; his is the story of a 13-year-old wild child whose adventures were based on director Francois Truffaut's own adolescence.

Rating:
Unrated
Genre:
Drama , Art House & International , Classics
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Mar 24, 1998
Runtime:
Zenith International Films


Cast



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Critic Reviews for The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups)

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (0) | DVD (20)

One of the first glistening droplets of the French New Wave.

Full Review… | April 9, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Seems forever young.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Forget my curmudgeonly attitude and see it -- again, or for the first time -- for yourself.

Full Review… | September 27, 2007
Salon.com
Top Critic

A remarkable confluence of talents are at work here.

Full Review… | September 27, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

Distinguished by its intensity of feeling and freewheeling use of the wide-screen frame, the film ranks among Truffaut's best.

Full Review… | July 9, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An engaging, moving film.

Full Review… | July 9, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

A rich and fascinating look at youth and its fleeting joys...

Full Review… | April 21, 2014
Cinema Crazed

Truffaut's ode to his childhood is an engrossing watch that is alluring in its simplicity and brilliant in its direction. It flows nicely at its own pace, never allowing melodrama to ruin its realistic and voyeuristic atmosphere.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Truffaut brought a fresh and piercingly honest portrayal of troubled youth to the screen. In many ways, Antonie Doinel is not only the cinematic embodiment of Truffaut, but also the French New Wave as a whole.

Full Review… | June 7, 2010

Truffault's masterpiece. Timeless and true, heartbreakingly sad.

Full Review… | August 25, 2009
Apollo Guide

François Truffaut's iconoclastic feature debut and one of the most enduring examples of the French New Wave.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Film4

What is there to say about The 400 Blows that hasn't already been said?

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Daily Telegraph

It's a cornerstone of the French New Wave, and one of the greatest movies about childhood, from anywhere, ever.

Full Review… | April 17, 2009
Independent

Henri Decae's black and white photography helped Truffaut enormously but what the director himself provides is a sense that though there is no easy answer to the problems of growing up, there is a hope that will never be wholly denied.

Full Review… | April 17, 2009
This is London

Vibrant, visually exciting and emotionally resonant.

Full Review… | April 9, 2009
Empire Magazine

Distinguished by its naturalistic, quasi-documentary approach and an extraordinary central performance from the 12-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud, this is a blisteringly authentic story.

Full Review… | April 9, 2009
Times [UK]

It's streetwise stuff, shot in a vigorous on-the-hoof style, but also full of joy, both in its blissfully comic moments and in Doinel's telling passion for moviegoing.

Full Review… | April 9, 2009
Total Film

Alive with the joy of filmmaking for its own sake.

Full Review… | April 7, 2009
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The 400 Blows, one of the initiating sparks of the French New Wave, ultimately boils down to the film's trendsetting coda, perhaps the most exclamatory question mark in movies.

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Slant Magazine

An enduring masterpiece...Truffaut's autobiographical fiction shows an admirable equanimity by depicting the highs and lows of boyhood. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | March 22, 2009
Groucho Reviews

This should be required viewing for today's droves of would-be memoirsts in film or any other medium, and otherwise is simply a must for anybody who likes great movies.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

Audience Reviews for The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups)

In the decade or so since I first saw "Les Quatre cents coups" on that fateful day in film class, it has become one of those litmus test films, during which, I stress myself out anticipating my friends' reactions to the movie almost as much as watching the movie itself. Sad to say, perceptions change when watching films with different people and at different times of life and sometimes, when the denouement is known.

As pure and as unadulterately awesome as that denouement is, with young Jean-Pierre Léaud's impressively improvised tales of Antoine's teenage woes and the endless run to the beach, the adagio and sometimes broken pacing of the rest of film seems to redeem itself only because of that ending. And perhaps also Jean Constantin's mesmerizing zither score.

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aliceinpunderland
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

½

Francois Truffaut's directorial debut and great coming-of-age story 'The 400 Blows' stands as one of the best of its sub genre. With a great lead performance and assured direction, Truffaut handles this autobiographical film with remarkable ease and aesthetics. This film about a troubled youth growing up in Paris still stands as one that helped define the New Wave era in France.

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Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Without a doubt, one of the best films ever made. This is Paris in 1968 before Paris in 1968. This is punk rock before punk rock, and what The Clash meant by "I wasn't born, so much as I fell out." This is New Wave before New Wave. This is existentialism, Camus from the mouth of babes. This is what Foucault was going on about in Discipline and Punish. This is the non-conformist spirit, at once made concrete and abstract. This is how it feels to be dispossessed, displaced, and dispirited. This is the un-coming-of-age story, the moment of the invention of the precise opposite of the cliche. This is On The Waterfront for the French, but better. This is the loneliness at the core of human existence, communicated better than in most art made before or since. This is one of the few films I will gush about rather than "objectively" pick apart. This is brilliant, visionary film-making, and a movie you absolutely must not die without having seen.

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danperry17
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Along with maybe Saturday Night Fever, this is one of the best growing up stories ever put on film. I know that statement will probably send people through the roof and I'll get some hate mail for it, but oh well. The 400 Blows is one of cinema's true masterpieces, and this coming from a first-time director with the name Francois Truffaut. It's no wonder this film made a splash on the art house scene in the late fifties and early sixties, influencing countless filmmakers. I can certainly see the effect it had on people like Jonathan Demme. It's basically the tale of a troubled kid who goes through some tough times with his parents, teachers and friends. It sounds cliche'd, I know, but it feels very fresh and unique, even by today's standards. It holds up remarkably well because the story is told so well, and it's pretty much a universal story about youth in revolt against society. Very few films have that sort of lasting appeal, and this one does, in spades.

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FilmFanatik
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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