The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups) (1959)
Critic Consensus: A seminal French New Wave film that offers an honest, sympathetic, and wholly heartbreaking observation of adolescence without trite nostalgia.
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as Antoine Doinel
as Rene Bigey
as Mme. Doinel
as M. Doinel
as M. Bigey
as Mme. Bigey
as Director of the School
as Woman with Dog
as Police Clerk
as Examining Magistrate
as The English Teacher
as Night Watchman
as Man in street
as Man with Typewriter
as Gym Teacher
as M. Bigey
as The lover
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Critic Reviews for The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups)
One of the first glistening droplets of the French New Wave.
Forget my curmudgeonly attitude and see it -- again, or for the first time -- for yourself.
A remarkable confluence of talents are at work here.
Distinguished by its intensity of feeling and freewheeling use of the wide-screen frame, the film ranks among Truffaut's best.
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.
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.
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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