They kissed and they hit him

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German title They kissed and they beat him (FRG)
pranks and punches (GDR)
Original title Les Quatre Cents Coups
Country of production France
original language French
Publishing year 1959
length 99 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director François Truffaut
script François Truffaut
Marcel Moussy
production François Truffaut
music Jean Constantin
camera Henri Decaë
cut Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte

Successor  →
stolen kisses

They kissed and they beat him in the FRG, pranks and blows in the GDR, ( French original title Les Quatre Cents Coups , German about: four hundred pranks ), is a movie by the director François Truffaut .

The film is the first part of the Antoine Doinel cycle that Truffaut continued over the next twenty years with Antoine and Colette , Stolen Kisses , Table and Bed and Love on the Flight

It is considered a classic in French film history in the second half of the 20th century and was the key to establishing the Nouvelle Vague .


The plot traces the path of 14-year-old Antoine, who grew up in Paris at the end of the 1950s in rather modest circumstances with his loveless mother and the rather chummy stepfather. Instigated in particular by his best friend René, a boy from a wealthy family, Antoine is conspicuous by pranks and often skips school. One day he gives the alleged death of his mother as an excuse, which quickly becomes a lie. After this infamy, he faces sanctions.

Antoine runs away and spends a night in town. The mother - whom he saw truancy with a stranger - is briefly turned towards and understanding. She promises him 1000 francs if he gets better and delivers the best essay in his class. Antoine is copying from Honoré de Balzac when the school teacher demands an essay on an impressive experience and the boy chooses the death of his grandfather as the subject. The teacher notices this immediately and Antoine runs away from school. Most of all, he now wants to get away from home and school entirely. At first he is staying with René, whose parents don't care much about the son either.

Together with his friend, he steals a typewriter from the stepfather's company in order to monetize it from a fence , but cannot get rid of it there. While trying to bring the typewriter back unnoticed, he is discovered and handed over to the police by his stepfather. The parents agree to put Antoine in a reform home in the province and no longer want to look after him.

Antoine finally escapes from the home run according to military principles and runs to the sea in the last scene of the film, which he has never seen before.


The film They kissed and they beat him is Truffaut's first feature film and founded the Nouvelle Vague . The story of the boy (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud ), who grows up in an ignorant environment, is also the beginning of the Antoine-Doinel cycle , the Truffaut with Antoine and Colette , stolen kisses , table and bed and love on the run over the Period continued over the next twenty years.

He also wrote a script for a female version of Antoine Doinel, which he never finished. The story about the rebellious Janine Castang was finally made into a film by Truffaut student Claude Miller and was released in 1988 under the title The Little Thief . The film takes place in the same era, the protagonist played by Charlotte Gainsbourg ends up at home and flees to the sea.

The original title alludes to a French phrase ("faire les 400 coups"), according to which a person makes 400 pranks before he becomes sensible ( faire les quatre cents coups - roughly: shedding one's horns ). The origin of this idiom comes from the time of the Huguenot rebellion. During the siege of Montauban (August to November 1621), according to legend, the exhausted Catholic besiegers fired 400 cannonballs on the Protestant city in a final effort, with which they are said to have recaptured the city. In truth, however, Louis XIII saw himself. forced to break off the siege on November 9, 1621 unsuccessfully.

When the film was released in 1959 , seven scenes with a total length of seven minutes were missing, which Truffaut only reintegrated into the work in 1967.

As a cameo , Truffaut himself can be seen in a minor supporting role as a fairground man.


The German dubbed version was created in 1959 at Real-Film GmbH in Hamburg. The dubbing was done by Alfred Vohrer , the dialogue book was written by Marcel Valmy .

role actor Voice actor
Antoine Doinel Jean-Pierre Léaud Michael Siedentop
Gilberte Doinel, mother Claire Maurier Gisela Trowe
Julien Doinel, stepfather Albert Rémy Arnold Marquis
French teacher Guy Decomble Heinz Ladiges
Fence Christian Brocard Heinz Petruo
Passerby Jean-Claude Brialy Friedrich Georg Beckhaus

In 1969 there was a version of the DEFA studio for dubbing under the title pranks and hits .


source rating
Rotten tomatoes

“In this film Truffaut proves to be an angry young Frenchman who despises both the upbringing methods of the previous generation and the staging of veteran directors. By telling the story of a neglected boy, he propagates a modern style of directing that focuses more on the milieu and situation than on the course of the plot. "

- The mirror , 1959

“The first feature film by Francois Truffaut, then 27 years old, established the fame of the New Wave with its stylistic intelligence and sincerity . A wonderful film in terms of style and staging that reflects the deeply humane mentality of its creator. "

“Truffaut staged his first film with verve and commitment. That seduced him to some exaggerations, but also ensured spontaneity and authenticity for the film. "

- Reclam's film guide


Pop culture references

In an episode of the animated series The Simpsons, there is a reference to you kissed and they hit him . Nelson Muntz walks along the sea like the main character Antoine Doinel at the end of the film.


  • Anne Gillain: Les 400 coups. François Truffaut. Nathan, Paris 1991 ISBN 2-09-180066-X
  • L'Avant-Scène Cinéma , No. 616, October 2014: Les Quatre Cents Coups - Un Film de François Truffaut - Découpage integral et Dossier . ISBN 978-2-84725-111-1
  • Joachim Paech : Social criticism and provocation - Nouvelle Vague : "They kissed and they hit him", in Fischer Filmgeschichte. 3, 1945 - 1960 , eds. Werner Faulstich , Helmut Korte. Fischer TB, Frankfurt 1990, pp. 362 - 385 (with detailed content, sequences of scenes)

Web links


  1. Release certificate for you kissed and they hit him . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , February 2011 (PDF; test number: 20 441 V).
  2. They kissed and they beat him ( memento of the original from November 5, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at the synchronous database @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. They kissed and they beat him. In: German dubbing index , accessed on April 2, 2020 .
  4. Film Details: LES QUATRE CENTS COUPS (1958). Retrieved March 24, 2020 .
  5. a b They kissed and they beat him at Rotten Tomatoes , accessed November 7, 2014
  6. They kissed and she beat him in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  7. They kissed and they hit him in the mirror
  8. ^ Reclams Filmführer, 2.A. 1973, ISBN 3-15-010205-7