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4.6 out of 5 stars40
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 7 November 2008
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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on 16 April 2006
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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on 1 March 2006
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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on 28 February 2008
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 September 2005
"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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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 13 October 2012
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 with no proper support. It is a very good subject for a film but has not been done as well as this very often - Kes might be considered its British counterpart but that film seems oddly neglected at present ... Truffaut's film benefits from a whole range of Nouvelle Vague techniques which make it a very lively viewing experience - a ride in a centrifugal drum at a fair is one of many high points. It has an amazing freshness, a haunting theme tune of great simplicity plucked on a solo violin, and one of the most famous endings in cinema - never has a film ended on more of a question mark than this. The performance by Jean-Pierre Leaud also seems to be just right, with no special effort to make him more likeable for the audience, or to play up anything artificially - you just feel you are seeing the truth.
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on 28 August 2015
An outstanding remastering from Criterion as usual, absolutely beautiful. You can read reviews of the film itself elsewhere, this is just a quick review of the Criterion release :
2.35:1 with French LPCM and optional English subtitles.
Commentary by Professor Brian Stonehill.
Commentary by Robert Lachenay, lifelong friend of Truffaut.
Various screen tests, interviews and auditions.
Cannes 1959 newsreel.
Cineaste de notre temps: a French tv show with Truffaut talking about his early life and writing.
Cinepanorama: a tv show with Truffaut discussing The 400 Blows.
Theatrical trailer.
For some strange reason the 2 disc version I bought ( 1 bluray, 1 Dvd) was cheaper than the bluray only, at time of writing. Go figure.
This edition is a highly recommended addition to anyone's library. 10 stars at least.
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on 19 May 2008
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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on 17 August 2009
4oo blows is a must for any film fan. The story of a young boy struggling to come to terms with the world and his rebellion against authority is a parallel with the life of the director Trauffaut. If you enjoyed Cinema Paradiso you will love this study of a teenager.
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on 25 March 2002
Somewhat mirroring his own past, Truffaut uses the camera to give a sociological account of Antoine Doinel's childhood.

Not a patronising account, however, but looking at the world, quite literally, from a child's perspective. 'Parenting' and 'Authority' are very much criticised, as Truffaut points out that 'one wrong move leads to another'.
Truffaut, although using more realistic filming devices than Godard, creates a work of art, looking at both the beauty and the harshness of childhood. The later films following Antoine Doinel aren't as original as this one, although Baisers Volés is another one to look out for.
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