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The 400 blows – [1959]

December 4, 2009
How many times we have felt that we have seen something like this or we have been though this while watching a film? And I am sure you feel like that when you watch the film ‘The 400 blows’. Please read its story.


The film opens with a class teacher teaching lessons to the Children of 13-year old, almost an 8th standard students. A girl’s photo has been passed on from one bench to other. And when Antoine passes it, the teacher founds it and makes him to stand in the corner of the classroom. There he writes something about the teacher which the teacher makes him to rub it off by himself. He goes to the home just to find his father, his mother yet to return, but they both starts to have dinner without her. By the next day he bunks the school along with his friend Rene. When he was asked for the reason, he lies that his mother was died. His father and mother come to the school and he was punished yet again. But his mother tries to be nice to him from then on. She takes care of him and also speaks supportive of him.

He didn’t like the school anymore and started to go off from it and also want to detach himself from the home. He stays in his friend Rene’s home. They have to make money to live. So they decide that they have to steal something and sell it to get food. Antoine goes to his father office and steals a typewriter. They couldn’t get decent money so they decide to place it where it is. As Antoine moves into the office to place that typewriter he was caught red-handed by one of the workers in the office and his father sends him to police.

The police say that he can’t be corrected in the court and he was sent to a juvenile home. His mother places a request to them that his son has never seen sea so it will be better if they sent him to some camp there. After sometime he was moved there. There he says about his past that his mother never wanted him and wanted to abort him. He loved with his grandma and left from there after she was died. And his father was his step father.

One day, Antoine escapes from the work camp and keeps running till he reaches the sea. Once he reaches the sea, he looks it and turns towards the audience. The camera zooms in and the film ends.


This film poses a whole lot of questions on how we treat a boy in adolescent age which determines a lot in a man’s career. They didn’t know his world and when he was punished for the crime which he didn’t do, he gets frustrated which makes him to make more mistakes. He seems to be doing those things deliberately but they are doing that out of frustration and also because of the misunderstanding. I myself seen some friends in my class while I am in 9th standard who bunk the classes and I thought it’s a big crime to do. But instead of punishing him, the right approach is to find where the things were going wrong.

There are few films which will stand the test of the time. And I am sure this will be the one. Each and every person who passed the age of 13 can relate to this story. I don’t know whether any other film in world history would have captured the trauma of an adolescent boy this much perfectly. And I recommend this one strongly for everybody.

The 400 blows – A reality check.




  • The director of this film, Francois Truffaut is basically a film critic who was hugely unpopular among the French directors as he thrashed many of their films on the basis of lacking of substance and distinctive making style. Then he made this classic film in 1959.
  • He also directed the continuation of Antoine’s life in other 4 parts (Antoine and Colette, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board and Love on the run) which spanned over 20 years.
17 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2009 2:47 pm

    I remember a similar story in our school time by Rabindra Nath Tagore about a 14 year old kid who just feels he is unwanted… his uncle takes him from hs village but his aunt and cousins seem like enemies to him eventually the boy commits suicide… I remember even our teacher who explained that chapter to us wept in the end… it was beautifully written by Tagore !!!

    this seems on similar lines !! interesting i knew nothing about this..gotta see this !

    kanagu: hmmm… I have to read it… its so miserable in that age.. everything will be like against them 😦 😦

  2. December 4, 2009 3:09 pm

    hey !!! thats an interesting movie….a very sensitive issue.

    i think i’ve seen some parts of it in World Movies – did it come in this channel ???? i remember the typewriter scene….

    kanagu: I don’t know about World movies channel.. is such channel is there???

    its very true that ppl dont know how to handle adolescence and keeping on making mistakes…till the kid is totally destroyed to a hearless soul.

    gud thinking….every parent shld wake up to the reality and think of using better techniques in handling the teenagers – for they are the pillars of tomorrow.

    kanagu: Not only parents but also its the responsibility of teachers and the society to help him/her to be groomed in a better way…

  3. December 4, 2009 6:31 pm

    You are watching a lot of films these days…Seems like an interesting film…

    Adolescence is a tricky phase and parents need to be very careful…

    kanagu: Yes.. I am watching lot of movies.. I like to watch them 🙂 🙂
    Watch it Bones.. you may like it 🙂

  4. December 4, 2009 8:34 pm

    Kanagu, That sounds very interesting. I will definietly try and watch the movie.. You are so right about handling adolescents.. One step wrong and it can all be a mess.. I think it would be the most challenging part of parenthood – which could make or break a child..

    The movie certainly seems timeless.

    kanagu: Watch it Smitha.. I am sure you will like it.. and let me know whether you like it….
    Adolescence is one of the trickiest phase of life… 🙂 🙂

  5. December 5, 2009 11:14 am

    I appreciate the efforts you are taking in watching these old classics !! Thanks for the write up, though I dont think I would watch it. But now, atleast when people discuss about this movie, I wouldnt be all ignorant !! 😀 😀 😀

    kanagu: I love watching films bro.. 🙂 🙂
    he he he… I am happy that my post helps in some way 🙂 🙂

  6. December 5, 2009 11:20 am

    Seems to be an interesting movie and an interesting review. Ask me, it is not easy at all, handling teenaged children. Whatever we do, they find some negative points in them. I don’t know how I was in my teenage! My mother did not complain about us much!

    kanagu: Thank you… 🙂 🙂 yes its not easy as the mind will be thinking lot of things at that age.. I myself went thru that during my 10th to 12th std…

    I think this movie came in world movies. I have seen some scenes of the film there. I will make it a point to watch, when it is screened again, Kanagu. Thank you for pointing out a good movie.

    kanagu: I don’t know about world movies channel.. I have to check… hope you will like it.. 🙂

  7. Swaram permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:09 pm

    Thatz an interesting one! I wil try to get a copy and watch it too! Its nice Kanagu that u do share such nice stories with us 🙂
    I just loved Sakhi’s book for this reason .. she hs brought out the relation b/w dad and son, mom n daughter, where they sit and talk abt things and try to fix any probs very well 🙂 They should be treated as friends .. u r rt abt making them do more mistakes by punishing them and nt trying to find the root cause 🙂

    kanagu: Thanks Swaram… and you watch it for sure… 🙂 🙂 you will like it…
    I am yet to get Sakhi’s book.. will do get and read soon.. she is a master in it…
    yes.. I am at receiving end those days.. 😀 😀

  8. December 5, 2009 2:40 pm

    I hope to see this movie sometime in the future. I am sure I will like it!

    kanagu: You will surely love it Sakhi.. 🙂 🙂

  9. December 6, 2009 4:55 am

    Your review and the story is moving Kanagu. I agree raising sensitive and confused adolescent children can be very challenging for parents.

    kanagu: Thanks IHM.. sure it is… very tricky part…

    I think if the parents talked to the son and if the son shared what happened in school (many children do), the story would have changed. This one broke my heart. I think there are too many expectations from boys to grow up and be responsible – and we forget that they are still teenagers. Lovely movie, I am hundred percent watching it.

    kanagu: ys.. true… but his mother has another affair outside and also not interested in her son according to the movie… yes every child have to face it.. hope the change happens…

    You might like a beautiful book called ‘Animal’s People’ – it’s about a child whose back bent after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. He lives on the street, and fights with stray dogs for food. And then a social worker asks him to come to her home, she wants him to learn to read and write, he would get lunch also. He agrees because he has fallen in love with her. The feelings and confusion of a teenager (who claims he is an animal) with an adolescents’ mind have been depicted so well, that anybody will look at young boys with a little more understanding after reading this book. It’s by Indra Sinha, and the it made me laugh and cry both. The cutest thing is it’s really funny too… for example he becomes ‘namisbond jamisbond’ (… ‘name is Bond, James Bond’, i.e. a spy) for … read to find out. 🙂 Here’s a review.

    kanagu: I will read that for sure IHM… I love books which speaks about children… and the victory of the writer is in the way he/she makes us to think after reading the book… that james bond thing is really cool 🙂 🙂

    We also had a book called ‘Kate Hue Haath’ in Hindi, in our ICSE Board (class X) which dealt with the same thing. It’s heart breaking.

    kanagu: I don’t know whether I will read and understand Hindi IHM.. but one day I will read for sure….

  10. December 6, 2009 6:24 pm

    Kanagu if you like this movie , then try to get the dvd of “Its a wonderfull life “ and watch it.I’m sure you will like it 🙂 .

    kanagu: Its in the list machi.. will see that soon 🙂 🙂

  11. December 7, 2009 12:31 am

    Interesting! After reading this, I felt that putting the adolescents in jails called tutions might be better, as they do in India!

    Destination Infinity

    kanagu: He was sent to Juvenile home DI similar to the one in India…. but its also not a good place…

  12. December 7, 2009 3:32 am

    Very touching, K. So important for parents to try to understand their children.

    kanagu: Yes it is, Pal… its important.. 🙂

  13. December 7, 2009 2:12 pm

    Touching and interesting movie thambi.Even in Tara zamen par the boy parents don’t know why the boy is behaving that way,why he bunked the class until amir points it out.I loved that movie.

    kanagu: Yes akka… I loved TZP too… but in this case its little different.. parents don’t want him and also is also a normal child… if you find some time watch this movie.. I am sure you will like it… 🙂
    btw how many movies u watch?

    kanagu: 3/week… 😦 but still lot of movies in pending… have to watch atleast 1/day… 😀 😀

  14. December 8, 2009 12:20 am

    Sorry Kanagu, I am visiting your blog after a long time. I havent seen this movie. After reading your review, it looks like a good one. I should add it to my must-watch list 🙂

    kanagu: Oh.. don’t be sorry AK… I know u r busy and how is ur mom and dad now??? are they enjoying their stay in US??? Do watch it… you will like it 🙂

    • December 9, 2009 11:58 pm

      Yeah mom and dad are fine 🙂 They are happy to meet me after a long time 🙂 Yep will watch this movie for sure. Added it to must-watch list

      kanagu: Wow… thats really nice.. my wishes to them… 🙂 🙂
      surely watch it AK 🙂 🙂

  15. December 8, 2009 12:29 pm

    Woah. That’s a good story line. And a strong message. And nicely done review.

    kanagu: Thanks bro 🙂
    I’m not very fond of old classics. Infact, till date, the only black and white foreign movie I’ve watched is ‘The Fountainhead’. But I did watch a few hindi classics.

    kanagu: I didn’t know about Fountainhead.. will try to catch it… 🙂 🙂 but try to watch this one bro… 🙂

  16. December 9, 2009 12:07 am

    oh my god! 😦 that story really tugged at my heart strings..
    can so relate to it…

    kanagu: Do watch it Ash.. you will kike it 🙂

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