Photo © Le Quatre Cents Coups

As the pandemic lockdown continues around the globe, many of us are looking for new (and old!) film recommendations to stream at home. This unprecedented moment is a time to dip into the classics, like Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows), which racked up countless awards and nominations, including the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1960.

One of the masterpieces of French New Wave, this is François Truffaut at his best – and it was his directorial debut, no less! Inspired by Truffaut’s own adolescence, this 1959 film tells the tale of troubled Parisian teen Antoine Doinel, whose home life and school life conspire against him, leading him to become more and more disaffected.

Beautifully shot with breathtaking performances by its young stars, it will make you laugh, cry and despair by turns. Take a peek at the trailer below.

Director: François Truffaut

Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy and Claire Maurier

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From France Today magazine


  1. I loved this film but never understood its title–what were the 400 blows? Did the child’s father beat him?

    When I learned French I discovered that it’s from an expression, “faire les quatre cent coups.” This means “to live the wild life” or “to raise hell,” which makes a lot more sense for this movie. I wish the title were translated figuratively rather than literally.