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Breathless (└ bout de souffle) (By a Tether) (1961)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 37,564

My Rating

Movie Info

Enjoy brunch in the Torpedo Room before screening BREATHLESS hosted by John DeSando and Johnny DiLoretto. There was before BREATHLESS, and there was after BREATHLESS. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinÚma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, BREATHLESS

Unrated,

Drama

Jean-Luc Godard, Franšois Truffaut

Nov 20, 2001

$0.4M

Rialto Pictures - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

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Latest News on Breathless (└ bout de souffle) (By a Tether)

October 23, 2007:
RT on DVD: Hostel II Oozes Onto Shelves, and Criterion Serves Up Breathless!
It's a bit of a slow week for home video releases, led by Eli Roth's torture-for-hire gore fest...

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All Critics (61) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (2) | DVD (17)

Breathless jumps to its own rhythm and pokes holes in its idols even as it worships them.

August 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On its fiftieth birthday Breathless remains fresh and exciting, although its revolutionary approach has long since been absorbed into the mainstream, and the years do show on it a bit.

August 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even 50 years later, it's easy feel how vivid a game-changer Breathless must have been when it arrived.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This movie liberated the cinema -- the stories you could tell and the ways you could tell them -- as clearly and cleanly as Picasso freed painting and the Sex Pistols rebooted rock.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Breathless has the proportions wrong. Too much rambling, too little point.

July 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (7)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you've never seen Breathless, see it now -- but don't expect an easy ride. If you haven't seen it for ages, see it again and be surprised at the fresh reactions it provokes.

June 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A unique hybrid, both the realization of years of critical writings by Godard and ... also a film made by an unabashed cinephile.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

With Breathless [Godard] is attempting to break down the rules of the form he loves so much, in order to let us know that it is ALL on the table now, from subject matter to form.

July 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinemania

The film that launched the French New Wave, Breathless remains an outstanding testament to the great ideals of fun filmmaking that infused the movement.

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

Together, like their countermelodies, Michel and Patricia form a zero-sum game-nothing matters. But with Michel's death, she is left behind to ponder the consequences of their indifference.

October 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

Vivre dangereusement jusqu?au bout.

October 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

It retains its brilliance both as entertainment and as a groundbreaking work of art.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

As his career progressed, Godard's films became more mature and accomplished, but rarely, if ever, did they pack such an immediate, visceral punch.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It's especially impressive how completely Jean Seberg owns Breathless considering what she's up against.

June 25, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

There is simply no other film which demonstrates so perfectly what it feels like to be young and in love.

June 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Influential. Innovative. Incredible.

June 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Almost every frame looks smoky and luscious enough to be a nation to which lovers and young dreamers might hope one day to emigrate. It's a film that will never wither, always inspire.

June 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It actually seems more daring now than ever before and all the more vital as a result.

June 17, 2010 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Audience Reviews for Breathless (└ bout de souffle) (By a Tether)

What became the French New Wave movement started with this debut from fledgling director Jean-Luc Godard, a man who has changed perspective, and the minds of his audience, since this first film appeared on the scene. Cobbled together with a small budget, with little time, and no experience, it doesn't meet the traditions of classic Hollywood films, but still retains an authenticity unrivaled throughout time. What this film really embodies in sentiment, is that it's cool. Even the characters are alternative, since one is a sex obsessed gangster with a penchant for showy gestures and little conviction, and the other is a pixie haired student, intent on being free and unburdened. They don't seem to have the same ire for traditional constructs as Hollywood heroes and heroines of the past. Throw in chase scenes, sex, jazz, and rough editing and shooting and this film is the epitome of new and smooth. Even though I didn't fully understand the New Wave movement before I saw this film, I immensely enjoyed how vibrant this film was. It really is the first instance of a director not caring about the constraints of filmmaking, and just makes a film that embodies new ideals and tries to tell a story without the problems of plot or structure. For anyone who wants to watch a film that feels timeless in many ways and yet very classic, this is the film for you.
April 28, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

"Breathless" is the perfect definition of Romance and Thriller, because the entire time, you are wondering if the accusations are real, even though you kind of know that they are. I loved every second of this film, because it was the beginning of the era that sparked the romance/thriller genre. I do believe that reoccurring moments throughout this film really hold up, and the physical signature that the main character gives after he smokes his cigarettes or is around his lady, is very memorable. This is one of the best classics I have seen, and the plot thickens as the film progresses. Although it shows it's age at times, making many jump cuts, it is forgivable when you are immersed in this incredibly told story. What a film!
February 6, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Jean-Luc Godard's 'Breathless' is a landmark in french cinema, a film that influenced many American films and directors that followed. Referencing pop culture and employing the use of jump cuts, 'Breathless' was a revolution for its time and changed some of cinema's landscape. Though slowly paced, the film still survives as one of the greatest from the new wave era and its impact on the industry is still potent.
February 12, 2013
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

After hearing so damn much about this movie and its reputation, I was sure that I would either love it, or be disappointed by it, mostly because it couldn't possibly have lived up to the hype.

Well, now that I've watched it, I'm gonna give it a review, but I'm gonna be bold and saw that, despite all that I'm about to write, I think I might need to see it again before I can really assess how I feel about it. I should probably just watch it again before I do this review, but I don't have the time right now, so just there.

Jean-Luc Godard's feature debut (a seminal part of the French New Wave) is a breezy, hip, and wonderful 90 minute joy ride that pretty much defined several areas of life and cinema, creating an influence that still lives on to this day. As per the hallmarks of the FNW, this film features improvised dialogue, location shooting (with natural lighting), and a loose narrative structure. In the case of this film though, the narrative is not only loose, it's almost non existant.

I mean, really, the plot is that of a petty criminal (modeling himself after Bogart) who kills a man, goes on the run, and seeks refuge in the company of his American girlfriend. That it's The bulk of the movie is just crusining around or chilling at home, with talking being the most dominant activity that occurs (with smoking and being cool right behind).

By definition this is a crime film, yet it's really just a fun hang out movie. People just hang out and be cool and stylish, and that's it. But this film is done in such a great way that I undersatand why it is so beloved and influential. Godard's trademark use of jump cuts can be a bit off putting at first but they add to the spontaneity of things.

Stylistically, this film is top notch, but in terms of cinematic style and all aorund design. The clothes, music, sets, and all of that are just awesome. I kind of hate this movie for being so cool and hip. I'm probably just jealous. This film is pretentious, I won't lie, but I feel like a traitor for calling it out. Maybe Godard didn't plan on it being that way, or maybe he did and I'm just a fool for buying into it like so many others have.

Regardless, this is one of those films whose legacy you can't deny, even if it isn't your thing. You really do need to see this, as it is required viewing for even the most casual of film lovers.
August 28, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Parvulesco: His greatest ambition is to become immortal, then die.
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
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