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Breathless [À bout de souffle] PG rating

Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary debut feature, an insouciant and iconoclastic crime film that paved the way for the French New Wave.

Film noir 1960 90 mins

Director: Jean-Luc Godard


Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary debut feature was this insouciant and iconoclastic crime film, which almost singlehandedly changed the face of French cinema and went on to inspire countless New Waves around the world. Ostensibly a laid-back homage to Godard's beloved Hollywood B-movies of the 1940s, this simple story of an American student's (Jean Seberg) relationship with a charismatic young hoodlum (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is steeped in naturalistic and innovative touches, from pop-culture references and Seberg's androgynous haircut to the then revolutionary adoption of jump-cut editing. The result is a film that, despite the cliché, genuinely feels as fresh today as it did upon its radical emergence into the staid cinematic culture of 1950s France.

Ranked joint 38th in the 2022 Sight and Sound Great Films of All Time poll