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

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 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 Sept. 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HA46QM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,283 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bill Rodick TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Aug. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
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. Yes, the film always looks interesting but it is the performances he draws from Jean-Pierre Léaud, who plays the boy at the centre of this story, and all other actors which really holds our attention.

The messages are shown not told. Parental greed has an innocent sheen. Everywhere: at home, at school, with the law, the woeful forces of 'control.' But the fascinating story also has many gorgeous scenes for us to view. I watched on projection this widescreen film (black bars top and bottom) of late 1950s Paris so packed with life and the kind of street scenes that only come from old black and white films. Somehow more real than colour.

It is a film of today. No film-maker would dare put adults in such a spotlight. Not Loach or Leigh or Polanski. They would have to go to some tabloid extreme to find their hits. Truffaut fills the screen with the kind of truth that is found only in the moment. The moment where you are. Intensified, of course, through the eyes of the young. The scene of a close-up of a mass of very young watching a puppet show says as much about diversion as it does of joy. Pure joy.

I can not fault this blu ray edition. The faintest of faint grain but the kind which does not detract from its often hand-held allure. We have the director to thank for always filling the screen. The Extras seem token but that is not the reason why you should experience this film, this intimate film of many places where a boy nearly grows.
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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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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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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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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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Format: DVD
There are two defining movies of the French New Wave-Breathless by Jean- Luc Godard and there is this one.I decided to pick The 400 Blows because its dated better and is not pretentious which marred a lot of Godards work.The story of Antoine Doinel a very unhappy 12 year old boy who ends up in a detention centre for young offenders but who escapes and runs to God knows where .A deceptively simple plot and allegedly based on director Francois Truffauts own unhappy childhood.Jean-Pierre Leaud is mesmeric in the lead role and the scene at the end where he runs on the beach and the camera freezes on his angst ridden face is one of the greatest moments in European cinema.
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