Michel Poiccard, alias Laszlo Kovacs (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a criminal yet a romantic who models himself after Humphrey Bogart. He becomes the subject of a police dragnet when he guns down a traffic cop. Michel hightails to Paris and holds up with Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg), a budding American journalist.
Patricia loves Michel but doesn't want to because she's an independent woman. Michel wants to flee to Rome with her so that he can escape the authorities, who will not stop hunting him until he is out of breath.
April 9, 1933
Belmondo's early success stemmed from stage-bred acting skills and unconventional looks. The breakthrough role in Jean-Luc Godard's A bout de souffle (1960) made him one of the key figures in the French New Wave, effortlessly carrying more than a dozen films before redefining his persona in L'homme de Rio (1964).
Jean-Paul became one of the populist heroes of French cinema in films like Borsalino (1970) with Alain Delon, Le casse (1971), Le magnifique (1973) and L'as des as (1982). In the late eighties his popularity declined and he finally made his return to the stage. Belmondo has been awarded numerous awards and prizes for his work, including the Legion of Honor in 1991.