For its time, the semi-autobiographical approach of The 400 Blows was quite revolutionary and offered a degree of frankness not previously seen before in movies. This honesty, in addition to the film’s lack of sentimentality, melodrama, or pretentiousness, was at the very heart of Truffaut’s ideal of the personal cinema. It was for this reason that The 400 Blows was so well received in 1959 and why even today, the film continues to be widely admired. — Ed Nguyen

It is testament to the evocation of humanity that The 400 Blows does not appear dated today. It is from a more innocent age, but a film so completely about people as this remains timeless. If the plot dominated, it might not sit so well with modern audiences; what matters is Antoine Doinel and the people around him. They are as relevant today as they ever were. I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes this 44-year-old masterpiece such a powerful and enjoyable film. Perhaps the answer is the intangible genius of François Truffaut. — Keith Dudhnath, 2003.

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