Rent Pickpocket (1959)

3.8 of 5 from 158 ratings
1h 13min
Rent Pickpocket Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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After his inevitable arrest (and almost immediate release), Michel (Martin LaSalle) reflects on the morality of crime, developing a vague theory that exceptional individuals are above the law. Lost in another world, he rejects his friends in favour of a life of crime and is seemingly set on finding his place in the world by engineering a head-on collision with society.
, , , Dolly Scal, Pierre Leymarie, Kassagi, , , ,
Agnès Delahaie
Robert Bresson
Artificial Eye Film Company Ltd.
Classics, Drama
Getting to Know: Tilda Swinton, Top 10 Films By Year, Top 10 Films of 1959
Release Date:
Run Time:
73 minutes
French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
  • Interview with Robert Bresson
  • The Models of Pickpocket - interviews with Martin Lasalle, Marika Green & Pierre Leymarie
  • Around Pickpocket - discussion with Marika Green, Jean-Pierre Ameris & Paul Vecchiali
  • Kassagi cabaret performance
  • Trailer
Disc 1:
This disc includes the main feature
Disc 2:
This disc includes the special features
Release Date:
Run Time:
76 minutes
French LPCM Mono
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Robert Bresson Q&A (1971, audio only, 47 mins): the director in conversation with John Russell Taylor, recorded on stage at the NFT during the 15th London Film Festival
  • Paul Schrader on Pickpocket (2022, 11 mins): Schrader discusses his relationship with Bresson's film and how it has influenced him
  • The Models of Pickpocket (2003, 52 mins): Babette Mangolte's documentary tracks down Pickpockets performers to discuss their experiences of working with Bresson
  • Archive shorts: Thefts From Handbags (1961, 1 min): British television spot warning women to watch out for thieves; Snatch of the Day (1975, 1 min): John Krish's sporty public information film on the tricks of the pickpocketing trade; Four Men in Prison (1950, 41 mins): controversial drama-documentary from the Crown Film Unit using real-life prison situations to address the purpose of incarceration
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Reissue trailer (2022)

More like Pickpocket

Reviews (8) of Pickpocket

Simple realistic approach to a life of crime - Pickpocket review by Oli

Spoiler Alert

I’ll first add we have 2 bad reviews and 1 good review, it may be worth adding, if you’re getting into Bresson (like me!) then watch A Man Escaped first, which BFI recommended as it will give you a good insight into his thoughtful realistic approach. Now onto Pickpocket, it’s great when you watch something that doesn’t try too hard to impress, but manages to do it in a suttle simple way anyway. Michel begins the film as a novice pickpocket, we presume bad times have brought him here and that the only way he feels comfortable earning a living at this time is by picking the pockets of others! We are then entranced into a beautifully shot story of his past, his present and his future. I can’t add enough that this film is a one of a kind, sure some people might not understand/like it, I don’t know quite why but take it from me, it was a really pleasant, albeit short, simple, well shot, smart, thoughtful movie with lots to say inbetween!

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

The Loneliess of the Middle-Distance Thief - Pickpocket review by CH

Spoiler Alert

What pleasure can there be in a criminal life? Any job which has been pulled off soon entails continuing uncertainty, as much from others involved as any pursuers. The task is not something about which one can speak, no chance of adding it to general conversation. It is a solitary pursuit born of social ineptitude.

These are but some of thoughts prompted by Bresson's Pickpocket (1959). Of course. to watch a film about criminals can be entertaining; they are a better on-screen presence than the saintly – doing bird rather than feeding them. The technique of lifting wallets from jackets and hiding them in a folded newspaper is as close as Pickpocket comes to any form of heist. Its interest is not so much in suspense as its attempt to enter a criminal mind – that of Martin LaSalle, who appears satisfied, however much he lifts, to eke out life in a scarcely-furnished bedsitter while, elsewhere in Paris, his mother is seriously ailing, not visited by anybody except her young neighbour, Marika Green.

Partly inspired by Dostoevsky, all this is redolent of that post-war French thought popularly deemed to consist of sitting in cafés and sporting a black, roll-top jumper.

There are some locations, including streets, a railway station and the glimpse of a race course, but much of the narrative haunts mundane premises in which those involved are more likely to be looking into the distance than at one another.

Made in black and white, the film turns around three main actors (including LaSalle's friend Pierre Leymarie) who were all new to acting, their seemingly gauche attitudes no accident but the result of Bresson's insisting upon dozen of takes: LaSalle had to toil up a curving staircase some forty times. This hour and a quarter is no B-feature. It has a studied air, one – as always with Bresson – which sets it apart from, say, the emergent nouvelle vague.

Symbolic of all this is the jacket – perhaps fashionably unlined - worn throughout by LaSalle, even when gaoled.

The edition of the film issued by Artificial Eye has an extra disc, much of which is a documentary with visits to those three actors for their reminiscences across almost half a century. No easy task, for one part of this involved a visit to somebody who had taken up a medical career; another who, via New York, now lives in a remote corner of Mexico City: twists and turns as fascinating as any in Pickpocket, and an aside which prompts one to seek out Bresson's book Notes on Cinematography, which is not, apparently, as dry as its title might suggest.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Painstakingly Brilliant - Pickpocket review by Avijit

Spoiler Alert

Painstakingly Brilliant. Fascinating to what extent Bresson would go in search of saying the unsaid. A bit difficult to watch!

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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