Best Movies by Farr
Breathless Poster
Released Runtime Category
1961 90 Romance, The Criterion Collection, The Essentials
Director Language
Jean-Luc Godard French
Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg


Watch it on:

What's it About

Small-time, Bogart-worshipping hood Michel Poiccard (Belmondo) may be a bit tormented, but he's also a first-rate charmer who scores a beautiful American girlfriend, Patricia Franchini (Seberg). Patricia has a job selling the Herald Tribune in the bustling heart of Paris, but she may not keep it long. Since Michel is also wanted by the law for killing a cop, he and Patricia are forced to hide out for a time, trying to scare up enough cash to split for Italy. As their relationship tightens, so does the police dragnet.

Why we love it

One of the more fascinating and important works in all cinema, and also a loving tribute to American film noir, Godard's "Breathless" announced the French New Wave with a minimalist tale of doomed love between a narcissistic petty thief and an amoral enigmatic waif. Beyond its unique characters, the film's distinctive appeal comes from its innovative use of sound (Mozart meets French pop), handheld cameras, and jarring cuts. That said, it's hard to forget the ultra-hip swagger beautifully performed by the young Belmondo; nor the gamine Seberg, who reinvigorates a female stereotype — the gangster's moll  by giving her a modern feel but preserving her essential mystery (and danger). Shot on location in the City of Lights, "Breathless" is an energetic fusion of high art and pop culture that's not to be missed.

Up Next

Brian's Song

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"