• Unrated, 1 hr. 30 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Jean-Luc Godard
    In Theaters:
    Feb 7, 1961 Wide
    On DVD:
    Nov 20, 2001
  • Rialto Pictures


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Breathless ( bout de souffle) (By a Tether) Reviews

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Super Reviewer

October 16, 2010
"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!
Kase V

Super Reviewer

February 8, 2013
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.

Super Reviewer

August 23, 2011
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.
Kyle F.
Kyle F.

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2011
The extremely quirky personality the movie opens with is as charming as can be, but the film grows boring, the dialogue is hit-and-miss, there are plot-holes aplenty, and the lead actor isn't very likeable.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2011
A well-paced, fantastically detailed character study of a small-time crook (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who gets in to deep once he kills a policeman on a country road, which forces him to take refuge with his girlfriend who is an aspiring journalist. This is without question a perfect film, once that remains entirely interesting despite possessing a somewhat slow pace. It is a slightly better film that "The 400 Blows", another film credited with starting the French New Wave era in film, due to is ability to become energetic at certain parts of the story, especially at the coda. Definitely one of the better foreign films that I have seen, and one that should be seen by anyone who loves movies of any kind.

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2011
I wanted so much to not like Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless," but alas, I simply loved it. This is a film that does not really amount to much but it's done with such style and energy that I couldn't help being swept up. The film is extremely visceral and immediate, jumping around from place to place, emotion to emotion, contact to contact; with as much reckless abandon as the relationship of Michel and Patricia. The performances by Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg are calculated and playful, messy and articulate. Much can be debated over the films endless influences and what the story ultimately adds up to, but for me, "Breathless" was an entrancing and dizzying experience.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2010
Full review coming later, after I've seen this again. I will say that Jean Seberg is perhaps one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen on film.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
Another classic I couldn't stand, the French new wave style is interesting, but pretty annoying, and that is the main attraction of this movie. If you're interested in style, see this movie, if not, I wouldn't recommend it.

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2007
godards most famous film is even better after a second viewing. the jump cutting caught me off guard a bit the first time, but the more godard ive seen the more ive grown to love his use of this technique that he discovered in this film almost by accident. belmondo is brilliant as always, and the scene where he pays homage to bogart, another one of my favorite actors, has become a favorite cinematic moment of mine. the film is a bit brutal but incredibly cool at the same time, kicking in the french new wave with style.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2009
A little confusing as it was hard to keep up with the subtitles however a decent story with great cinematical significance. Directed really well and revloutionary at the time. Sometimes it didn't make sense but overall a good film. Not in a rush to see it again, however.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

October 2, 2009
Extremely influential and a favourite of portentous film snobs, all modern cinema started here. The new wave wasn?t/isn't to everybody?s taste but, honestly, who can resist Jean-Paul Belmondo's horney wannabe gangster and such brilliant dialogue such as 'My ambition is to find the secret of eternal youth, and then die!'. I love it!

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2009
Maybe I was sucked in by all the hype, but I just wasn't impressed. I wanted to to like this one a lot more than I did. Maybe I'm just not as much of a movie snob as I thought, or perhaps my pallet needed to be cleansed after a steady diet of old Hollywood war movies and classic westerns? Whatever the reason, I found bout de souffle to be good but not great.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2007
This is so different from anything I've ever seen. I liked it, for sure, but something about it...I don't know. Something was missing? Must mull over this more. I do know that I want Patricia's wardrobe.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2007
New York Harold Tribune!
Drew S

Super Reviewer

July 12, 2007
A cool little treasure of French New Wave cinema. I have to confess that I wasn't watching fully (making out seemed like a much better idea at the time), but the parts that I did pay attention to were very interesting. Breathless pioneered the jump-cut forty years before we saw it in mainstream cinema, and the filming was gorgeous. At first I thought it was a newer movie run through the black-and-white wringer because the images were so sensational.

I'll be sure to watch this again - and pay more attention to the plot.
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2007
One of those that defied cinematic conventionalisms. stylish and memorable, superb enfant-terrible's direction, Martial Solal's jazzy score, and Belmondo's tough guy rol. Jean Seberg's beauty left me literally breathless.
Sarah G

Super Reviewer

September 16, 2006
The film that changed film-making and inspired future directors such as; Quetin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Also revolutionised acting as we see it today.

Breathless, or "A Bout De Souffle was part of the french film movement in the 1950's. Founded by Francois Truffut they seeked to change the way we saw film being made in the 1950's. Using jump-cuts and change of narative form helped create the French Cinematic New Wave.

This was another one which I hadn't heard an awful lot about before. We were discussing this in Film and watched it. A lot of my class laughed because of the way in which the character Michel when about his buisness. The way in which it was shot was a little confusing at times, which is why I have given it 4 stars rather than 5.

The acting, to me is seems to be almost like the actors where playing themselves. I didn't like the character of Michel at all but Jean Seberg's character was very interesting as it was almost a role reversal. The American playing attention to the European so to speak.

Shot on location in Paris and used a different style of Camera and camera work it seems to work well. I did like to way Michel models himself on Humfrey Bogart, another American symobilison.

Overall worth the watch it you're a huge fan. Also good to see the roots of Art House films and what inspired many directors today.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2006
Probably Godard's masterpiece. Great, great, great.
Joey S

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2013
An iconic film of the French New Wave that revolutionized film-making in general, Breathless is unconventional in many ways but undeniably impressive and unique. From its frequent jump cuts to its leisurely pacing and improvisational dialogue, Breathless is far from a typical drama, and it demonstrates New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard's endless love of film and film-making that separates the movie from its counterparts and makes it a must-see movie for any self-respecting film buff.
Jason Vargo
Jason Vargo

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2012
Breathless is quirky and "different." We know from the get go this is a foreign film, an older foreign film, since the look, feel and sound of the story leads us to that conclusion. Yet it's different in other ways, like how the backstory unspools without the use of flashbacks and the main character-Michel-continually talks about getting Patricia in bed. Their relationship is an odd one, not quite fleshed out, but we see enough elements to make it legitimate. And this film, largely, is the two of them. Which makes the ending slightly problematic to explain why Patricia does what she does. If she truly loves him, then she doesn't betray him. She's not looking out for herself, clearly; if she was, her final actions would have been carried out far earlier. Breathless may be a paragon of French cinema and it does use new techniques for the time. It's important...though a class on why it is so would be recommended either before or after viewing. Without it, Breathless is a French film.
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