7.7/10
17,662
65 user 104 critic

Pickpocket (1959)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 16 December 1959 (France)
Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director:

Robert Bresson

Writer:

Robert Bresson
Reviews
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Martin LaSalle ... Michel (as Martin La Salle)
Marika Green Marika Green ... Jeanne
Jean Pélégri Jean Pélégri ... L'inspecteur principal
Dolly Scal Dolly Scal ... La mère
Pierre Leymarie Pierre Leymarie ... Jacques
Kassagi Kassagi ... 1er complice
Pierre Étaix ... 2ème complice
César Gattegno César Gattegno ... Un inspecteur
Edit

Storyline

Michel takes up picking pockets as a hobby, and is arrested almost immediately, giving him the chance to reflect on the morality of crime. After his release, though, his mother dies, and he rejects the support of friends Jeanne and Jacques in favour of returning to pickpocketing (after taking lessons from an expert), because he realises that it's the only way he can express himself... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

16 December 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Pickpocket See more »

Filming Locations:

Gare de Lyon, Paris, France See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,541
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1965)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Quotes

Michel: Oh, Jeanne, to reach you at last, what a path I had to take.
See more »

Connections

References End of Desire (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Fragments from Orchestral suite No. 7 (Suite in G, Overture)
By Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (1656-1746) (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
simple is as simple does, which includes stealing and living an isolated life
10 October 2005 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Robert Bresson's Pickpocket has many great moments, even as it didn't quite do it for me on a first viewing as a 'masterpiece'(some have said to see it twice, perhaps I will). Bresson's use of the camera is often intoxicating in the most subdued, subtle, in-direct distinctions; at times it does take on the prowess of literature. But my only minor nitpick with the film is that it leaves a sort of cold viewing on a viewer, with such simplicity and emotions stripped from the character(s) that it's hard to connect. And yet, this is really made up tenfold with the sort of style that can be likely called Bressonian; straightforward angles, tense medium close-ups, serene editing, and little to no music.

Whatever it sets up for this actor to do, it sets up well. Indeed, the actor who plays the protagonist here is actually very good, aside from the disconnection, and provides an excellent way for us to get along his side. He is a decent person, but there are certain things that get to him, which is why he feels he must steal. At times I almost had a grin as he made some successful grabs, by himself or his cohorts. Was I rooting for him, or just pleased by the pay-off of Bresson's suspense? Maybe both; there is definitely one truly virtuoso sequence in the film, when the pickpockets go on the train.

Like A Man Escaped, there is that sort of dissection, quietly and without really digging too deep, into what a man wants with his life, or doesn't want. While the hero has only one determination in Man Escaped, to get out, Pickpocket has a man who doesn't know what to do with himself, only coming to a genuine catharsis behind bars. I think I like Pickpocket a little more, but I may like it even more on another viewing.


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