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Pierrot le Fou (1965)
"Pierrot le fou" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  8 January 1969 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 17,407 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 90 critic

Pierrot escapes his boring society and travels from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea with Marianne, a girl chased by hit-men from Algeria. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ferdinand Griffon, 'Pierrot' (as Jean Paul Belmondo)
Graziella Galvani ...
La femme de Ferdinand


Ferdinand Griffon is married with his wealthy Italian wife and has been recently fired from the television where he worked. His wife forces him to go to a party in the house of her influent father that wants to introduce Ferdinand to a potential employer. Her brother brings the babysitter Marianne Renoir to take care of their children. Ferdinand feels bored in the bourgeois party and borrows his brother-in-law's car to return home. He meets Marianne, who was his lover five years ago and insists to call him Pierrot, and offers to take her home; however, he spends the night with her and finds that she is involved in smuggling weapons. When Marianne is chased by terrorists, they decide to travel to the beach without any money, leaving Paris and his family behind in a crazy journey to nowhere. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

8 January 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pierrot le Fou  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was released in America by Criterion on the Blu-Ray disc format, but was almost immediately discontinued due to Criterion losing the rights to the movie, which then went back to Studio Canal, the previous owners. As such, the Blu-Ray release from Criterion has quickly become a collector's item. See more »


Marianne: Look at the last page, there's a little poem about you. It's by me.
Ferdinard: Tender... and cruel... real... and surreal... terrifying... and funny nocturnal... and diurnal usual... and unusual handsome as anyone
Marianne: Pierrot le Fou !
Ferdinard: My name is Ferdinand. I have told you often enough. Christ almighty ! You bore me to death !
See more »


References Germany Year Zero (1948) See more »


Ma Ligne de Chance
By Antoine Duhamel and Serge Rezvani
Performed by Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo
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18 January 2005 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

The previous commentator criticizes Pierrot Le Fou as a movie that cannot be classified.The fact that a movie cannot be pigeon-holed is surely a plus,as it doesn't conform to a single cliché as Godard achieves a synthesis of many genres :noir,gangster,political thriller,love story and musical to name a few.The film is a history not only of cinema but of art and civilization, what Proust or Joyce attempted with the novel Godard does with the camera.

Another criticism is the use of loud colors,this was intentional as he uses the primary cinematic colors in addition to the recurring theme of red,white and blue- France's national colors as well as those of imperialist Russia,United Kingdom and America.At the time recent history in Europe was one of grainy monotone austerity, death-camps and ration-books, the use of loud colors was a celebration of life and reaction against this.

The next criticism leveled is that it is too personal, indeed this is cinema-auteur at it's best and it is intentional.Just as in Pulp Fiction the Travolta/Jackson dialog about the cultural nuances between America and Europe(Royale with cheese/Didn't go into burger king) is basically Tarantino's travelogue of his time on the other side of the pond.

The film is deeply political and still relevant today.Take Pierrot's explanation of the Man on the the moon's suffering at the expense of Soviet and American expansionism as they vie for control of the heavens(the space-race) "He is trying to escape in a hurry, the Russians tried to stuff his head with the complete works of Lenin so he sought refuge with the Americans but Uncle Sam stuffed a bottle of Coca Cola in his mouth,having forced him to say thank you beforehand." Indeed a parallel could be drawn with the ungrateful Iraqis who don't appreciate their liberation.

Another criticism is the disorientating effect of the voice overs and out of sync sound effects.Pierrot himself refers to this at the party at the start of the film "A machine to see:my eyes, to speak :my mouth, to hear :my ears but instead of having the impression of being a single person I feel like many." Which conveys modern man's fragmentation and dislocation while reminding us of the power of image and sound to disorientate for the purposes of political propaganda.

As for no trace of beauty, my god are you blind? As the entire film is one continuous flirt between the foxy Marianne and the camera.

"Why does Pierrot paint his face blue?" .Well why does Travis Bickle shave himself a Mohican's hair do in Taxidriver? These may seem rather arbitrary at first but then again so are all the other thousand and one clichés in cinema such as the man offering the femme fatal a light for her cigarette,wanna take in a movie? wanna grab a coffee? What in the name of God are they all about?A cliché has too start somewhere, unfortunately the lead man painting his face blue didn't catch on.Mores the pity.

23 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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