The 400 Blows (1959)

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Monday, December 16, 2002


Praised by film-makers (Akira Kurosawa called it "One of the most beautiful films that I have ever seen") and critics the world over, Truffaut's 400 Blows launched the Nouvelle Vague and paved the way for some of cinema's most important and influential directors. Twelve-year-old Antoine Doinel has troubles at home and at school. Ignored and neglected by his parents, his relationship with his mother is further strained when he discovers that she has taken a secret lover. Added to this, his school teachers have written him off as a troublemaker and, with luck seemingly never on his side, it is Antoine who ends up getting the blame for bad behaviour. Finding refuge only in his love of cinema, Antoine soon finds it necessary to break free, and discover what the world can offer outside of the confines of his everyday life. This remarkable film features the extraordinary talent of Jean-Pierre Leaud, as the rebellious Antoine, a character based on Truffaut himself. Antoine Doinel was to make appearances in a number of Truffaut's films (including 'Stolen Kisses', 'Bed and Board' and 'Love on the Run') all of which chart his further adventures into adulthood.
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50 out of 100  So simple
Colm from Dublin, 03 Dec 2008
A simple idea made to near-perfection. It reignited my love of film after a long spell of watching rubbish.

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

45 out of 100  New Wave classic
Philip from Dublin, 28 Aug 2009
A lot of films that were highly rated in their day can date quickly - fortunately, this isn't one of them. This is maybe the most famous of the original Nouvelle Vague French films, and one of the very best. It follows a short period in the life of a boy in Paris who is following a tightrope between naughtiness and outright criminality. Its funny, moving and intelligent and as compelling today as it ever was. The ending, of course, is one of the all time great final scenes in cinema.

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

40 out of 100  Engaging..
Helen from Cork, 01 Feb 2011
Quite an engaging movie to watch... follows the childhood and youth of a young kid with difficult family setting. Didnt blow me away, but enjoyable at the same time.

1 people out of 1 found this review helpful

45 out of 100  beautiful
Edward from Dublin, 20 Mar 2008
This is one of the finest films ever made. Beautifully shot, paced and acted.

1 people out of 1 found this review helpful

35 out of 100  The 400 blows
Pat from Louth, 25 Jul 2008
Enjoyable if a little dated.

1 people out of 1 found this review helpful

45 out of 100  Very memorable
Brian from Dublin, 18 Jul 2011
Haunting,touching, a grim Paris unlike the popular tourist city. You gradually become very involved with the story of this kid who has all the odds stacked against him...a work of genious..well worth a look.

0 people out of 0 found this review helpful

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