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Product Overview

A young car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in italy with him.


Studio Image
SKU 205068952
UPC 715515026222
UPC 14 00715515026222
Format DVD
Release Date 10/23/2007
Essential Cinema
New Wave (Film)
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Godard's first feature has been widely hailed as one of the most influential motion pictures ever made. On the run after killing a cop, a small-time crook (Belmondo) hides out in Paris with an American girl (Seberg). After she betrays him, he chooses to face his fate with an absurd stoicism modelled on his hero, Humphrey Bogart. BREATHLESS is the arguable cornerstone of the French New Wave, exhibiting the trademark documentary shooting style, natural sound design, and thematic interest in the detritus of American popular culture. (Rereleased theatrically in April, 2000.)
Plot Summary
Summary Former "Cahiers du Cinéma" critic Jean-Luc Godard threw everything he had learned from years of movie watching into his debut feature--creating an enormously influential film and a seminal study of existential longing and betrayal. Within the first few minutes, Michel (Belmondo), a foul-mouthed Parisian who idolizes Humphrey Bogart, shoots a police officer and immediately becomes a fugitive on the run. He visits an ex-girlfriend and while casually charming her, he steals her money. He then gallivants through the marvelous streets of 1940s Paris, pursuing Patricia (Seberg), a blond pixie-like American selling the New York Herald Tribune on the Champs-Elysees. Michel is childlike as he pouts and whines in his fruitless attempts to seduce Patricia, then turns cold as ice as he curses her out, racing off to steal a car or meet up with some other thugs. Meanwhile, Patricia seems to seduce everybody with her youth and naivety. She is just 20-years-old, possibly pregnant, and despite the few scattered assignments she does for the paper, she is dreamy and directionless. Even so, she does not refuse Michel, though she won't commit to him. As they follow each other in and out of cafes and boutiques, sailing past the Eiffel Tower and down the grand boulevards in gorgeous stolen cars, we await what is sure to be a tragic ending.
Total Film "...Forty years on and BREATHLESS remains a stylistic tour de force..." 08/01/2000 p.83
Entertainment Weekly "...[An] homage to American B movies." -- Rating: A 01/13/1995 p.67
Los Angeles Times "...BREATHLESS is just as fresh and startling as it was when it was first released nearly 40 years ago..." 06/25/1998 p.C16
Chicago Sun-Times "...Its story remains entrancing..." 09/05/1997 p.31
Premiere "...[T]his outlaw-on-the-lam movie displayed a loose-limbed virtuosity that was both an ode to freedom and a call to arms..." 12/01/2003 p.10
Uncut "BREATHLESS is about the zeitgeist, and Godard's script is uncannily prescient of the social and sexual upheavals of the ensuing decade." 08/01/2000 p.118
Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Jean Seberg
Cast & Crew
Cecile Decugis - Editor
Daniel Boulanger - Actor
Francois Truffaut - Based On Story By
Georges de Beauregard - Producer
Jean Seberg - Actor
Jean-Luc Godard - Screenplay
Jean-Luc Godard - Director
Jean-Paul Belmondo - Actor
Lila Herman - Editor
Liliane David - Actor
Martial Solal - Original Music By
Raoul Coutard - Cinematographer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1959
Catalog ID 1716
UPC 00715515026222
Number of Discs 2
Running Time 90 minutes
Color B&W
Original Language French
Available Subtitles English
Available Audio Tracks French
Aspect Ratio
Standard  1.33:1 [4:3]
Nominee (1962) British Academy Awards, Jean Seberg, Best Foreign Actress
ReviewSource Goatdog's Movies
Review Well, here it is. The birth of the French New Wave, at least part of that birth. Along with Francois Truffaut, Alain Resnais, and Jacques Demy, Jean-Luc Godard was at the head of a wave that crashed over movies and changed how they were seen. Half out of financial necessity and lack of experience, and half out of the first real intellectual view of film since Eisenstein, the New Wave worked against everything that Hollywood films had come to represent...My problem with it is that [Breathless] works great on a theoretical level, but it doesn't really make for an exciting or all that interesting viewing experience. I couldn't identify with either character, which is probably what Godard wanted. But it kept me from enjoying the movie on an emotional level, while I was able to appreciate it on an intellectual level. I guess I need both, which I got in what I consider Godard's masterpiece, 1966's Bande a part (called Band of Outsiders in America, and the inspiration for the name of Quentin Tarantino's production company, A Band Apart).
Reviewer Michael W. Phillips, Jr.
ReviewRating 7
Review Back in 1959, Breathless was a shocking and surprising work of cinematic art. Though it may not seem quite so revolutionary today, its coruscating influence can be seen in the films of auteurs like Quentin Tarantino, Hal Hartley, and others. Despite a disappointing audio commentary and sparse extras, the recently released DVD of Jean-Luc Godard's debut feature looks better than it has in years and will engage film historians and casual movie-watchers alike...The morality of Breathless is very difficult to parse, and one of the reasons viewers were so bewildered by the film when it debuted. Protagonist Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a car thief and a brute, though undeniably charming...Godard went on from this debut to become one of the most important cinematic innovators of all time. And he's still going strong at the age of 71, having just released In Praise of Love. Though some of his mid-career work is rather solipsistic and pretentious, his talent and playfulness have always been in evidence, and are certainly in full force with Breathless.
Reviewer Rod Armstrong
ReviewRating 9
DVD, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Godard,Jean-Luc
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice ...not only the most important of the New Wave films but also the most passionate.
BBC Online A landmark film, it forever changed the perceptions of cinema.
Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights At The Movies A witty, romantic, innovative chase picture.
Phillip Lopate, The New York Times Brilliant...plays beautifully.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times Modern movies begin here, with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless...No debut film since Citizen Kane has been as influential.
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