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The 400 Blows Details


For his feature-film debut, critic-turned-director François Truffaut drew inspiration from his own troubled childhood. The 400 Blows stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel, Truffaut's preteen alter ego. Misunderstood at home by his parents and tormented in school by his insensitive teacher (Guy Decomble), Antoine frequently runs away from both places. The boy finally quits school after being accused of plagiarism by his teacher. He steals a typewriter from his father (Albert Remy) to finance his plans to leave home. The father angrily turns Antoine over to the police, who lock the boy up with hardened criminals. A psychiatrist at a delinquency center probes Antoine's unhappiness, which he reveals in a fragmented series of monologues. Originally intended as a 20-minute short, The 400 Blows was expanded into a feature when Truffaut decided to elaborate on his self-analysis. For the benefit of Truffaut's fellow film buffs, The 400 Blows is full of brief references to favorite directors, notably Truffaut's then-idol Jean Vigo. The film won the 1959 Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, even though Truffaut had been declared persona non grata the year before for his inflammatory comments about the festival's commercialism. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:March 3, 1960


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Marcel Moussy Best Original Screenplay 1959 Nominee
Cannes Film Festival François Truffaut Best Director 1959 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences François Truffaut Best Original Screenplay 1959 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts François Truffaut Best British Film 1960 Nominee


Jean-Pierre Léaud
as Antoine Doinel
Robert Beauvais
as School Director
Claire Maurier
as Mme. Doinel
Albert Remy
as M. Doinel
Guy Decomble
as The French Teacher
Patrick Auffay
as Rene Bigey
Claude Mansard
as Examining Magistrate
Marius Laurey
as Police Clerk
François Truffaut
as Man in Funfair
Folco Jacques Monod
as Commissioner
Pierre Repp
as The English Teacher
Jeanne Moreau
as Woman with Dog
Henri Virlojeux
as Night Watchman
Jean-Claude Brialy
as Man in street
Luc Andrieux
as Gym Teacher
Richard Kanayan
as Abbou
Renaud Fontanarosa
as Boy
Daniel Couturier
as Boy
Jean Douchet
as The lover
Jacques Demy
as Policeman


François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Truffaut
Marcel Moussy
Henri Decaë
Marie-Josephe Yoyotte
Philippe de Broca
First Assistant Director