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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 August 2014
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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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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on 23 April 2015
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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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 fans - it was REGION-A LOCKED - which meant that it does not play on our machines unless they're MULTI-REGION on BLU RAY (which very few are - and those that are - cost a shed load of money).

It's being re-issued Stateside by Criterion in April 2014 - but again check - it's unfortunately looking like even the reissue will be the same - REGION-A LOCKED.

So check the Web before you purchase this...
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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 13 August 2016
Les 400 coups was Truffaut’s first feature film. Truffaut was only 27 when the movie was released. The film had a big success at the Cannes Festival (it won the prize for Best Director) and it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen.

The screenplay was written by Truffaut (with dialogs by Marcel Moussy). Les 400 coups is a semi-autobiographic film. Just like Antoine Doinel, also Truffaut hated school, loved cinema, had parents who hardly were at home, and was in jail for theft.

Jean-Pierre Léaud was Truffaut’s alter-ego and played Antoine Doinel in 4 more movies: Antoine et Colette (one of the 5 short stories of L’amour à vingt ans, 1962), Baisers volés (1968), Domicile conjugal (1970), and L’amour en fuite (1979).

Antoine’s scenes with the psychologist (where we only see Antoine) were the most important scenes for Truffaut. The answers were improvised by Léaud. Truffaut gave Léáud some clues before, but the lines are Léaud’s. Léaud’s performance is breathtaking and amazingly natural.

A few days ago I was trying to figure out who Jean-Pierre Léaud reminds of in his role of Antoine Doinel. He reminded me of another boy from another movie, another talented young actor, but I couldn’t find out who it was. Suddenly, I thought of the young Christian Bale in his role of Jim in Empire of the Sun (1987): same sad glance, same lost innocence… don’t both actors have indeed a similar touch?

The best: Jean-Pierre Léaud, the beginning (the camera bordering the Tour Eiffel), the amusement park scene (where Truffaut does a cameo), the children of the 50s and the wolf, Antoine’s disappointment after failing in his essay, the milk scene, and the poetic end.

The worst: the fire scene where Léaud does not succeed to hide his smile and the extras in the street looking at the camera.

Presentation & Oficial Trailer of Les 400 coups: (...)

Jean-Pierre Léaud’s casting: (...)

Jean-Pierre Léaud at the Cannes Festival (1959): (...)

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid – Aix-en-Provence, July 15, 2016
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