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The 400 Blows (1959)

Les quatre cents coups (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 16 November 1959 (USA)
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.



(scenario), (adaptation) (as M. Moussy) | 2 more credits »

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Top Rated Movies #202 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Maurier ...
Guy Decomble ...
Mr. Bigey
Patrick Auffay ...
Daniel Couturier ...
Betrand Mauricet
François Nocher ...
Un enfant / Child
Richard Kanayan ...
Un enfant / Child
Renaud Fontanarosa ...
Un enfant / Child
Michel Girard ...
Un enfant / Child
Serge Moati ...
Un enfant / Child (as Henry Moati)
Bernard Abbou ...
Un enfant / Child
Jean-François Bergouignan ...
Un enfant / Child
Michel Lesignor ...
Un enfant / Child


Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14 year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab and unhappy home life. His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that's been pushed into the kitchen. He knows his mother is having an affair and his parents bicker constantly. He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and later stealing. His parents are at their wits end and after he's stopped by the police, they decide the best thing to do would be to let Antoine face the consequences. He's sent to a juvenile detention facility where he doesn't do much better. He does manage to escape however......... Written by garykmcd

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From the Vanguard of New Film-Makers Comes an Extraordinary Motion Picture See more »


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 400 Blows  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »


At the end of the movie, crew footprints can be seen in the sand on the beach. See more »


[first lines]
Petite Feuille: Doinel, bring me that. Indeed! Go to the corner!
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Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Atomic Brain (1993) See more »


Composed by Jean Constantin
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User Reviews

Living a wild life
5 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

This film aka "the four hundred blows" is a mistranslation.Faire les 400 coups" means"to live a wild life. As a French,I'm stunned when I see the popularity of this good ,but by no means outstanding film. 1.It's not the first film of the "nouvelle vague" move;check Agnes Varda's "la pointe courte",(1956)Alain Resnais's "Hiroshima mon amour"(1958),Claude Chabrol's "le beau serge"(1958) are anterior .Historically,"les 400 coups " comes after. 2.The "nouvelle vague" was sometimes ponderous and hard on their predecessors:Overnight,Julien Duvivier,Henri-George Clouzot,Claude Autant-Lara ,Yves allégret and a lot of others were doomed to oblivion.THis selfishness and this contempt is typically "nouvelle vague".You 've never heard (or read) the great generation of the thirties (Renoir,Carné,Grémillon,Duvivier already,Feyder) laugh at ,say,Maurice Tourneur or Max Linder.So,thanks to Truffaut and co,some people will never discover some gems of the French fifties or forties(Duvuvier's "sous le ciel de Paris",Autant-Lara's "douce",Yves Allégret's "une si jolie petite plage " and "manèges").THe novelle vague clique went as far as saying that William Wyler,Georges Stevens and Fred Zinemann were worthless! 3."Les 400 coups " is technically rather disappointing:it's very academic ,the story is as linear as it can be,the teachers are caricatures,and the mother Claire Maurier delivers such memorable lines as (you've got to be a French circa 1960 to understand how ridiculous it is): Well ,your father 's got only his brevet (junior school diploma)and,as for me ,I've got only my high school diploma!You've got to know,that circa 1960,hardly 10%of the pupils had the HSD in France! Antoine Doinel should have been proud of his mother after all!She wants him to have diplomas,who can blame her? 4.Compared to the innovations of "Hiroshima mon amour",which features a brand new form,and a new "fragmented " content,"les 400 coups " pales into significance.Truffaut will master a new form only with the highly superior "Jules and Jim", helped by the incomparable Jeanne Moreau. 5.The interpretation is rather stiff;Jean-Pierre Léaud ,arguably listenable when dubbed in English ,is still decent,but he will soon degenerate into the most affected of his generation. 6.The topic=stolen childhood had better days,before (Julien Duvivier's "Poil de carotte" ,Luis Bunuel's "los olvidados") and will have after (Maurice Pialat's "l'enfance nue",Kenneth Loach's "Kes") I do not want to demean Truffaut,his movie is not bad,but,frankly,French movie buffs,prefer "Jules and Jim" "l'enfant sauvage" (a film honest ,true and commercially uncompromizing to a fault)"l'argent de poche"(as academic as "400 coups" but much more funny)or his nice Hitchcock pastiche "vivement dimanche".

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