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3,821 Ratings

Shoot the Piano Player

Tirez sur le pianiste

Directed by François Truffaut
France, 1960
Drama, Thriller, Romance


Charlie is a classical pianist who has changed his name and now plays jazz in a Paris bar. When Charlie’s brothers, Richard and Chico, ask for his help while on the run from gangsters, he aids their escape. Soon Charlie and Lena, a waitress at the same bar, face trouble when the gangsters arrive.

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Shoot the Piano Player Directed by François Truffaut
The greatest quality is also the most difficult to fully describe — the blithe way it steps between postures of raucous humour and seriousness, metafictional wiseacrey and waylaying emotional directness arriving in a quick-fire barrage… It probes what artistic success means in terms of personal identity, a notion that also extends the attitude of investigation as to what forces define us from childhood to adulthood and what happens to the self when its foundations collapse.
March 20, 2017
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Truffaut, a better pianist, sets his mercurial editing rhythms and leaping tones against the steady beat of Goodis’s peculiar, unvarying fantasy, and comes out with something that feels like an inspired improvisation on noir themes. The buoyancy, the invention, and the anything-goes spirit that this Frenchman brings to Goodis’s glum material makes the whole thing seem more, well, American. It’s jazz.
November 02, 2016
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Before sliding into Charlie’s bed, his tart of a neighbor croons, “Television is better than movies.” Prescient to some, but few serials could achieve the infectious energy distilled into each of Shoot The Piano Player’s 82 minutes.
September 10, 2014
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