The 400 Blows

1959 NR 1h 39m Blu-ray / DVD

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The 400 Blows

1959 NR 1h 39m Blu-ray / DVD
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After young Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) runs away, life on the streets of Paris leads to nothing but trouble and guilt in this gritty feature film debut from legendary director François Truffaut. Though he turns to petty crime to survive, Antoine's remorse often leads him to try to return things he's stolen -- with disastrous results. The film was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar and the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1, Widescreen 2.35:1
French: Dolby Digital Mono
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
French: Dolby Digital Mono
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 13+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 13+
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age 13+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that the 12-year-old boy at the center of this French-language drama is a budding juvenile delinquent who lies, steals, smokes, swears (in subtitles), and repeatedly runs away from home. The plain, unsentimental filmmaking style neither condemns nor glorifies his misdeeds, and there are no easy solutions offered, with an especially big question mark at the end. The parents in the film are depicted as ineffective, and Antoine's mother in particular is an adulterous, immature type. A psychological interrogation briefly brings up topics of sex and abortion. Viewers dying to know what happens to Antoine after the final scene can track the same character's young adulthood in several subsequent Francois Truffaut movies.

Sexual Content

A husband playfully grabs his wife's (fully clothed) breasts. The boy hero is asked by a psychologist if he's had sex (he replies frankly no, but some friends of his have). Mention of out-of-wedlock pregnancy.


Antoine is slapped once.


"S--t" and "a--hole" appear in some subtitled translations.

Social Behavior

Though strong-willed and independent, Antoine is neither a "good" nor a "bad" boy, and definitely does things that are not to be imitated, like stealing and running away from home. While he seldom intentionally hurts people, he seems to be missing a sense of right and wrong in pursuit of his own goals -- when Antoine copies a paper in his homework to get a much-desired good grade, he does it so flagrantly that you wonder if he even has any awareness that he's cheating. Mothers, fathers, teachers, and authority figures are generally shown as impatient, distracted, and ill-equipped for guidance. Only other boys in the peer-group seem to exhibit loyalty and true friendship with each other.


References made to mid-century French films, books, and diversions, likely to be lost on modern audiences.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Much smoking in young Antoine's family, and the boy himself surreptitiously rolls his own handmade cigarettes. Underage drinking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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