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3,272 Ratings

Bob le flambeur

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
France, 1956
Drama, Thriller, Crime


Ageing safecracker and compulsive gambler Bob lives by night and sleeps by day, and thrives on his nostalgia for the prewar gangster milieu, before the infiltration of the Gestapo upset the delicate balance between cop and criminal. Bob’s going for the big stakes now: the casino vault in Deauville.

Our take

From the French New Wave to Michael Mann, the influence of Jean-Pierre Melville’s cool existentialist cinema cannot be understated. Ace gamblers to French resistance members—we offer a few of the masters finest in a triple bill starting with this crime fable of mortality, crime, and maybe even love.

Bob le flambeur Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Shot in crisp, gritty black and white by Henri Decaë, Bob le flambeur fuses the carefully perfect compositions of William Wyler with the rough immediacy of the New Wave.
March 24, 2015
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Something like the cinematic Birth of the Cool, Melville’s drollest, most likable gangster movie is set in the ‘50s, but it deliberately evokes Paris’s pre-World War II underworld. . . . It takes itself seriously, but as attitude thrillers go, it’s exceedingly light on its feet. The movie is a superb riff with a boffo finale, a terrific, cynical punch line, and a crazy closing image of Bob’s Plymouth on an empty beach.
July 24, 2001
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Through incongruous soundtrack and odd angle camerawork, Melville redefines conventional cinema and ushers the nouvelle vague movement.
January 01, 2000
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