Synopsis: 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...
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director(s): Robert Bresson
Production: Image Entertainment
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
76 min

The style of this film

is not that of a thriller.

Using image and sound,

the filmmaker strives to express

the nightmare of a young man

whose weaknesses lead him

to commit acts of theft

for which nothing destined him.

However, this adventure,

and the strange paths it takes,

brings together two souls

that may otherwise never have met.

I know those who've done

these things usually keep quiet,

and those who talk

haven't done them.

Yet I have done them.

I had made my decision

some days before.

But would I have the nerve?

I should have left.

I was walking on air,

with the world at my feet.

But a minute later I was caught.

You can't prove anything.

You're not certain.

We won't keep you any longer, sir.

You may go.

I wanted to put

my thoughts in order.

I was exhausted.

I slept until morning.

I hadn't seen my mother

for a month.

I hesitated.


I have the key.

I'll let you in.

Who are you?

Jeanne, a neighbor.

How is she?

Not well. She frets a lot.

She has nothing.

It's you she needs.

Could you give her this money?

You're not coming in to see her?

Good-bye, Jeanne.

Will you come back?

Jacques was honest

and resourceful.

I'd been avoiding him,

but that evening

I have no work.

I'll take anything.

Any addresses?

That you won't use?

This is serious.

All right, then.

One more time.

You're good with your hands.

I know you deserve better.

Just learn to wait.

Be happy with what's offered.

It will bring you a new suit,

a tie

His face seemed familiar to me.

Stupidly, I greeted him.

Do you recognize me?

I'd look like a scatterbrain,

but why should I fear him?

Are there many thieves?

Many. All different kinds.

An infinite variety.

Not all theft is so serious.

Some can be excused

if poverty is behind it.

Of course.

Could one turn a blind eye

to certain kinds of theft?

You have a theory on that.

- Me?

Let's hear it.

It's nothing new.

Let's hear it anyway.

Can we not admit

that certain skilled men,

gifted with intelligence,

talent or even genius,

and thus indispensable to society,

rather than stagnate,

should be free to disobey laws

in certain cases?

That could be difficult.

And dangerous.

Society could only gain from it.

Who will identify these supermen?

They themselves.

Their conscience.

You know any man

who doesn't think he's exceptional?

Don't worry. It would only be

at first. Then they'd stop.

They don't stop, believe me.

A useful thief, then?

A benefactor?

That's the world upside down.

It's already upside down.

This could set it right.

Michel, can you explain?

I have explained.

They were wrong.

They apologized.

Of course.

It's despicable, true.

But why did you have to go

and tell him all that?

First off,

you made me talk about it.

Second, it doesn't matter.

Those addresses.

Will you go?

After I made some money

Is that what I needed?

Did I really think

it would get me anywhere?

But I couldn't face

returning to my room.

Why were my eyes glued

to that one strange man?

Of course,

the wallet was inside.

Which fingers should I use?

I knew I must try harder.

The paper was shaking

in my hands.

My heart was pounding.

This success encouraged me.

It was due more to luck

than skill.


Your theories don't interest him,

but you do.

He asked about me?

Don't worry.

He knows who you are now.

Found any work yet?

I need nothing.

Can you live on nothing?

You're mad!

Where are you going?

Stay here.

I changed routes each time,

using one line and then another.

I did this for a week.

The pickings were poor

and not worth the risk.

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Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson (French: [ʁɔbɛʁ bʁɛsɔ̃]; 25 September 1901 – 18 December 1999) was a French film director. Known for his ascetic approach, Bresson contributed notably to the art of cinema; his non-professional actors, ellipses, and sparse use of scoring have led his works to be regarded as preeminent examples of minimalist film. Bresson is among the most highly regarded French filmmakers of all time. His works A Man Escaped (1956), Pickpocket (1959) and Au hasard Balthazar (1966) were ranked among the 100 greatest films ever made in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll. Other films of his, such as Mouchette (1967) and L'Argent (1983), also received many votes. Jean-Luc Godard once wrote, "He is the French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Pickpocket" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Oct. 2019. <https://www.scripts.com/script/pickpocket_15866>.

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