Melville began making 16mm films as a teenager and formed his own production company shortly after World War II. His first feature film, Le Silence de la Mer (1949), created a stir through its claustrophobic look, location-shot scenes and use of untrained actors.
In the years that followed, Melville would become a major influence on the French new wave through minimalist crime dramas such as Bob le Flambeur and Le Samourai that featured charismatic male leads, including Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
After shooting a cop, young thief Michel meets and shacks up with American girl Patricia. Hiding out in her hotel room, Michel tries to talk Patricia into going with him to Italy, but she doesn't know that would include a foray into criminal life.