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400 Blows (Les 400 Coups) [1959] [DVD]

Jean-Pierre Léaud , Claire Maurier , François Truffaut    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy, Guy Decomble, Patrick Auffray
  • Directors: François Truffaut
  • Producers: François Truffaut
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Sep 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HA46QM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,011 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Francois Truffaut's semi-autobiographical first feature stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel, an unruly young Parisian whose unhappiness leads him into trouble. Frequently running away from school and home, Antoine spends much of his time playing with his friends on the steets of the city; but events take a more serious turn when an accusation of plagiarism leads him to quit school and the theft of a typewriter lands him in trouble with the police. Léaud was to reprise his role as Doinel in four further Truffaut-directed adventures: 'Antoine et Colette' (1962), 'Baiser volés' (1968), 'Domicile conjugal' (1970), and 'Love on the Run' (1979).

Synopsis

Director Francois Truffaut's first feature film, The 400 Blows, is a landmark in French cinema. Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a 13-year-old boy who can't seem to do anything right. His parents yell at him and then bribe him for his love and his promises to work harder in school. Meanwhile, his schoolteacher is out to get him and blames Antoine for everything--turning him into the class clown. As a result, Antoine runs away from school and his difficult family, living on the streets of Paris and committing petty crimes. While his life on the street is tough, it's much better than dealing with his preoccupied parents and his accusatory teacher. Nonetheless, things only go downhill for Antoine, descending to a simultaneously painful and beautiful conclusion.

A truly impressive film, The 400 Blows is raw, honest, and intensely emotional. Imbued with a strong and complex personality, Antoine maintains his poise and self-confidence, even as he endures abusive treatment from every adult he encounters. Rene Simonet (Patrick Auffray) is Antoine's one pal, and the unspoken dialogues between the boys, depicted by Truffaut through the boys' facial expressions and with masterful roving photography, allow the viewer to see through Antoine's eyes and understand his unflinching tenacity. Few films have captured the difficulties of childhood as well as this acclaimed French masterpiece. Essentially the start of the French New Wave movement, The 400 Blows is also the beginning of Truffaut's Antoine Doinel cycle, which follows Leaud as Antoine in four additional films over the course of 20 years.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By C H
Format:DVD
This is one of my favourite films. I think it speaks for itself as greatest Francious Truffaut and one of the most beautiful films ever made. I defy anyone to not fall in love with Jean-Pierre Leaud's Antoine Doniel. Some of the reviewers on this page are complaining that the subtitles are bad translations. This may be true - I dont speak much French. but what i'd like to say is that I thought the use of words such as 'ya', was meant to emphasise that they were speaking in 'parisian slang'. I found this adorable when the two boys were conversing with each other. The contradiction of the way they talk to each other like workingclass men, who are fed up with the world and their mischevous, work-shy, adolescent behaviour is highly amusing. Please dont be put off by the bad comments. If you do not yet own this film, you will be in for an absolute delight
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic. 16 April 2006
Format:DVD
This was the film that launched the French New Wave, which was one of the most important things to happen to cinema in its history. The film centres on a Parisian schoolboy, Antoine Doinel (a semi-autobiographical invention on Truffaut's part who would turn up in a number of Truffaut's films) and his gradual estrangement from school and his parents through various, rather minor, acts of rebellion which end up having serious consequences for him. The film is wonderfully shot, beautifully and evocatively depicting contemporary Paris, and stylishly directed. The performance of Jean-Pierre Léaud as Doinel is outstanding, and has to be one of the best pieces of child acting ever.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Tears streamed down my face at the end of this film. It is just one of the most moving scenes in film history - often copied and imitated. The story of a neglected child and an unfair and judgemental society is simple, yet so brilliant.
Leaud plays a mischievous, yet normal boy whose mother and father hold an ambivalent relationship towards him. They are not necessarily malevolent people, but they have a misunderstanding towards their son - they represent the majority of parents who fail to nurture their children through society's attitudes and misgivings.
The elegance of the music and direction is so smooth and heightens the profound nature of the story. Truffaut's style has been plagiarised by so many great directors from Scorsese to Altman to Paul Thomas Anderson, its flowing and oozing sentiment.
If you don't like crying or being touched then definitely don't watch this film. Its sensitive, stirring and sincere. It pulls slowly yet cleverely at your heartstrings without brusque devices. Also, this film is proof that you can find very talented children that can act - unlike the awful child fodder poured out today.
Don't hesitate to buy this film, whatever the price!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A raw look at the life of a troubled boy 11 Sep 2005
By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
"The 400 Blows" is the famous 1959 film by French New Wave director, Francois Truffaut. (The title is a French expression meaning "to raise 'heck'.") Filmed in black and white, with very simple music and the raw look of a low-budget documentary, it is a glimpse into the life of troubled adolescent. Antoine Doinel is poor, has cold and indifferent parents and teachers, and spends his days cutting school and getting into trouble. When his parents give up on him, he is sent to a juvenile detention facility that resembles a jail.
The cinema verite style of unsentimental photography and gritty locales manages to make even Paris look tawdry, almost ugly, because that's how Antoine views his life. Growing up neglected and misunderstood has made him a streetwise child who dreams of escape. The stark and sudden ending allows the viewer to decide what might happen to Antoine next (although Truffaut found the character so intriguing, he made three more movies about Antoine as he grows older).
Jean-Pierre Leaud (Antoine) heads an excellent cast of actors who manage to look like they're not acting at all; rather that a camera just happened to intrude on their lives. The movie is in French with English subtitles. If you are a fan of New Wave films or just like classic character studies, you'll enjoy "The 400 Blows."
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truffaut's first film - perhaps his best. 28 Feb 2008
Format:DVD
This largely autobiographical film, hauntingly shot in black and white, is set in austere post-war Paris, and tells of the early life of 14 year old Antoine Doinel, who lives with his atrractive, dominant mother and weak father in a tiny flat. He is openly despised by his autocratic teachers and his existence is an irritation to his mother.

Trauffaut captures the anarchic, free spirit of childhood but eventually the harsh reality of the adult world restricts and curtails all his freedoms but not to the point of extinction. The final, enigmatic freeze- frame poses questions to which, perhaps, even Trauffaut didn't have all the answers. A beautifully crafted masterpiece tinged with gentle humour.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 400 Blows me away 21 Aug 2008
Format:DVD
This is First movie i have seen by Francois Truffaut what a great movie to start with.This movie could easyily be set today.Alot of complaints here about the DVD.The subtitles are burned in well this is a cheap dvd realease not everyone can shell out $40 fr Criterions Soso realeases.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glorious film - but with burned in subtitles 19 May 2008
Format:DVD
The film is one of the glories of World Cinema, but this welcome disc is only worth buying if it is going cheap and you don't have the Criterion release. The picture quality isn't immaculate but it is nicely widescreen. However, it is a major flaw that the subtitles are burned in. i.e. they are not removable. This is doubly annoying because the Parisian French is translated into very vulgar Americanism, for example 'you' is translated as 'ya'.
The extras are worth having particularly the commentary which is by the original fellow on whom Truffaut based the character of the friend who 'draws on his inheritance'. It's a beautiful commentary but it is included on the Criterion (which also has another commentary).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC TRUFFAUT
A marvellous film covering the adolescence of Antoine from the mixed up life with his mother and her husband, a school where he does not fit in and the streets of Paris that offer... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Oscar Freak
5.0 out of 5 stars The sea in the city
I have so much to say about this film of inept adulthood and children caught in their draft. François Truffaut tells a great story with his camera. Read more
Published 2 months ago by W. Rodick
5.0 out of 5 stars French cinema at its best.
The 400 hundred blows or Les 400 coups , in French it translates into the 'rotten tomato' I believe. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gilbert benn
5.0 out of 5 stars "The 400 Blows" on BLU RAY - Playability Issues On UK Machines Then...
US film-restoration company Criterion's reissue of the 1959 Black and White classic "The 400 Blows" on BLU RAY came in 2009 - but unfortunately for British and European... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mark Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars A startlingly realistic view into childhood in a time where culture...
This has to be one of the best coming of age stories ever made, and when I saw this film, I didn't expect to be as impressed or as emotionally drawn in as this 1959 classic did to... Read more
Published 15 months ago by wburnett@hotmail.com
5.0 out of 5 stars heartfelt and affecting
Les 400 coups still stands as a remarkable portrait of a young boy in disadvantaged circumstances, who basically suffers for being unloved and ends up on the wrong side of the law... Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2012 by schumann_bg
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest portrayals of growing up
Alongside Louis Malle's 'Au revoir les enfants' Au Revoir Les Enfants [DVD] and Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Ivan's Childhood' Ivan's Childhood [1962] [DVD] 'The 400 blows' is the greatest... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2012 by Xenophon
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
AGain this was another of the French Films I purchased for my A level French daughter to listed to and hear the French language being spoken. Read more
Published on 31 May 2010 by ladyday
5.0 out of 5 stars New Wave crashes upon the beaches of the French cinema
Les Quatre cents coup is a happy film as it pins us to the wall of this first film of the nouvelle vague,kicking against the pricks in the cause of realism,based on memories of the... Read more
Published on 14 April 2010 by technoguy
5.0 out of 5 stars Film That Endlessly Rewards Close Attention
"The Four Hundred Blows," (1959) a drama with comic touches, was the first full-length feature film from famed French director/movie critic Francois Truffaut, and is generally... Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2010 by Stephanie De Pue
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