Best French Films Home Page

Best French Films Ever.
Top rated French Movies: popular, classic, famous "must watch" Cinema Fançais

35. Les quatre cent coups
The 400 Blows

Best French Films Home Page

 

 

 


Search Best French Films website for keyword(s)

Antoine is a young boy in his early teens who has difficulties both at school and at home. His teacher singles him out for criticism and punishment, while his mother is cold and demanding, and frequently argues with her husband (Antoine's stepfather). The family is financially insecure, and Antoine must sleep in a sleeping bag on a cot crammed next to the back entrance to the apartment. Also, to make things worse, Antoine soon discovers that his mother is having an affair with a co-worker.

At school, Antoine is punished for the smallest of incidents, which escalate into more significant offenses. When the boys in his class pass around a risque picture, Antoine is the one who must take the blame. He is put in the corner as punishment, and passes the time there by writing a poem about the teacher, whom the children call "Sourpuss," on the classroom wall. He is reprimanded for his cheek and for defacing the school. Feeling contempt toward his schoolmaster and toward school in general, Antoine skips school one day. When asked the next day where he had been, his response is that his mother had died. He is punished again for his lie and his parents come to school to address the problem. His mother arrives distraught at the news, wondering why Antoine chose to kill her off in his story. The two have a poor connection, and she refuses to show him affection until after she discovers he found out about her affair. She promises to give him money if his grades go up, but to keep this deal a secret from his stepfather. It is implied that he must also keep her affair a secret too as a part of the deal. His mother also tries to spoil him by taking him to the movies.

Antoine engages in various acts of childish mischief, often at the instigation of his friend René, but is caught and punished after each incident. He eventually steals a typewriter from his stepfather's workplace, planning to pawn it, but Antoine and René are unsuccessful in their attempt. When Antoine visits the office to return it he is apprehended by the concierge; his stepfather turns him in to the police.

After his arrest, Antoine's parents place him with the investigating magistrate, saying that he is incorrigible. Antoine's mother requests only that Antoine be sent to a work camp by the sea, as he has never seen the ocean before. After some time in a juvenile detention center Antoine is indeed sent on to a work camp near the sea.

During a session with the psychiatrist at the detention center, Antoine reveals that he had spent most of his childhood living with his grandmother. His own mother had not wanted to take care of him. In fact, she had not wanted a child at all, and had planned to have an abortion.

Antoine eventually escapes from the work camp and runs toward the sea. Once Antoine reaches the shoreline of the sea, the film concludes with the camera zooming in and then freezing on Antoine's face (which seems to gaze into the audience).

The English title is a straight translation of the French, but misses its meaning, as the French title refers to the expression "faire les quatre cents coups", which means "to raise hell". On the first American prints, subtitler and dubber Noelle Gilmore gave the film the title Wild Oats, but the distributor did not like that title, and reverted it to The 400 Blows, which led some to think the film covered the topic of corporal punishment.

A semi-autobiographical film, reflecting events of Truffaut's and his friend's lives, its style amounts to Truffaut's personal history of French film—most notably a scene borrowed wholesale from Jean Vigo's Zéro de conduite. It is dedicated to the man who became his spiritual father, André Bazin, who died just as the film was about to be shot. Besides being a character study, the film is an exposé of the injustices of the treatment of juvenile offenders in France at the time.

Truffaut made four other films with Léaud depicting Antoine at later stages of his life. He meets his first love, Colette, in Antoine and Colette, which was Truffaut's contribution to the 1962 anthology Love at Twenty. He falls in love with Christine Darbon (Claude Jade) in Stolen Kisses. He marries Christine in Bed and Board, but the couple have separated in Love on the Run.

One of the defining films of the French New Wave, it displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement.


Directed by François Truffaut
Produced by François Truffaut
Written by François Truffaut
Marcel Moussy
Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud
Claire Maurier
Albert Rémy
Guy Decomble
Music by Jean Constantin
Cinematography Henri Decaë
Editing by Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte
Distributed by Cocinor
Release date(s) France:
4 May 1959
United States:
16 November 1959
Running time 99 minutes
Country France
Language French

 

Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel
Claire Maurier as Gilberte Doinel, Antoine's mother
Albert Rémy as Julien Doinel, Antoine's father
Guy Decomble as School teacher (Sourpuss)
Patrick Auffay as René Bigey, Antoine's best friend
Georges Flamant as Monsieur Bigey, René's father
Pierre Repp as English Teacher
The Children: Daniel Couturier, François Nocher, Richard Kanayan, Renaud Fontanarosa, Michel Girard, Henry Moati, Bernard Abbou, Jean-François Bergouignan, Michel Lesignor;
Luc Andrieux, Robert Beauvais, Bouchon, Christian Brocard, Yvonne Claudie, Marius Laurey, Claude Mansard, Jacques Monod, Henri Virlojeux.




Luxury Penthouse Apartment to let in Carcassonne, FranceLuxury House to Rent (Gîte), in a village in the South of France Traditional House to Rent (Gîte), in a market town the south of Francethe Cite of Carcassonne in the Languedoc, France The Canal du Midi, South of France Mysteries of the Languedoc, South of FranceCathars, Castles and Languedoc Mysteries in the South of FranceKnights Templars and Languedoc Mysteries  in the South of FranceRennes-le-Château  and Languedoc Mysteries  in the South of FranceHoly Grail and Languedoc Mysteries  in the South of FranceCathar Castles  in the South of FranceMedieval Warfare and Castles SiegesCathar CrusadesMedieval HeraldryMedieval WeaponsCastles and Manor HousesRennes-le-Château BooksBooks on the Cathars of the Languedoc in the South of FranceChâteau for sale in the Languedoc, South of FranceManoir (Manor) for sale in the South of FranceManoir (Manor) for sale in the South of FranceThe Coat of Arms of France of FranceThe Seal of France
The titles (in the US) of the best French films, sorted by title


  Title Year
Genre
Director
8 Women2001
Music, Comedy, Crime, Mystery
François Ozon
A Heart in Winter1992
Romance, Drama, Music
Claude Sautet
Beauty and The Beast1946
Fantasy Drama, Romance
Jean Cocteau
Belle de Jour1967
Erotic Drama
Luis Buñuel
Betty Blue1986
Romace, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Birds Of A Feather1978
Comedy
Edouard Molinaro
Bitter Moon1992
Sado-masochistic Erotic Drama
Roman Polanski
Breathless1960
Drama, Romance
Jean-Luc Godard
Children of Paradise1945
Drama, Romance
Marcel Carne
10 Cyrano de Bergerac1990
Romance, Drama
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
11 Delicatessen1991
Sci-Fi Comedy
Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
12 Diva1981
Action Thriller, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
13 French Twist1995
Comedy
Josiane Balasko
14 Hidden2005
Drama
Michael Haneke
15 Hiroshima, Mon Amour1959
Romance, Drama
Alain Resnais
16 Jean de Florette1986
Drama, Modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
17 Jesus of Montreal1989
Drama
Denys Arcand
18 Jules et Jim1961
Romance, Drama
François Truffaut
19 La Controverse de Valladolid1992
History (16thC), Drama
Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe
20 La Femme Nikita1990
Crime, Thriller, Romance, Drama
Luc Besson
21 Manon of the Spring1986
Drama, Romance, modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
22 Monsieur Hire1989
Crime Thriller, Romance, Drama
Patrice Leconte
23 My Life in Pink1997
Comedy Drama
Alain Berliner
24 One Swallow Brought Spring2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Christian Carion
25 Queen Margot1994
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, History, Romance
Patrice Chéreau
26 Ridicule1996
History (18thC) Drama
Patrice Leconte
27 Swimming Pool2003
Psychological Thriller, Mystery Drama
François Ozon
28 The 400 Blows1959
Crime Drama
François Truffaut
29 The Big Blue1988
Drama, Romance
Luc Besson
30 The City of Lost Children1995
Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
31 The Closet2001
Comedy Drama
Francis Veber
32 The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie1972
Surreal Black Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Luis Buñuel
33 The Dominici Affair1973
Crime Drama Mystery
Claude Bernard-Aubert
34 The Double Life of Veronique1991
Music, Fantasy, Romance, Psychological Drama
Krzysztof Kieslowski
35 The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
36 The Girl On The Bridge1999
Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Patrice Leconte
37 The Hate1995
Crime, Drama
Mathieu Kassovitz
38 The Last Metro1980
Romance, History (WW2) Drama
François Truffaut
39 The Piano Teacher2001
Drama, Music
Michael Haneke
40 The Reader1988
Mildly Erotic Comedy Fantasy
Michel Deville
41 The Return of Martin Guerre1982
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, Crime, Mystery,
Daniel Vigne
42 The Visitors1993
Fantasy, Comedy
Jean-Marie Poiré
43 Three Colors: Blue1993
Drama, Music, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
44 Three Colors: Red1994
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
45 Three Colors: White1994
Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski

Sort the best French Films by Title, Year or Director, Select by Genre or search for a Keyword

       
  select country title sort by select genre
 
   
 
       
or
     
 
Search website for keyword(s)
 
 

 
     
     

 

 

 

 
© TFF 2008-10LinksContact