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Theatrical release poster
Theatrical release poster

Bande à part (French pronunciation: ​[bɑ̃d a paʁ]) is a 1964 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It was released as Band of Outsiders in North America; its French title derives from the phrase faire bande à part, which means "to do something apart from the group".[1] The film is about three people who commit a robbery. It received positive critical reviews, and its dance scene has been referenced several times in popular culture.


A young woman named Odile (Anna Karina) meets a man named Franz (Sami Frey) in an English language class. She has told him of a large pile of money stashed in the villa where she lives with her aunt Victoria and Mr. Stolz in Joinville, a Parisian suburb. Franz tells his friend Arthur (Claude Brasseur) of the money, and the two make a plan to steal it.

Franz and Arthur go to the English class, where Arthur flirts with Odile and asks her about the money. Odile goes home and finds the money in Stolz's room. She then meets Franz and Arthur, and they go to a café, order drinks, and dance. Odile tells Arthur that she loves him, and the two go back to his place and spend the night together.

The next day, Arthur's uncle learns of the money and wants a cut of it. Franz, Arthur, and Odile decide to commit the robbery sooner than they planned. The three meet up and run through the Louvre in record time. That night, they go to Odile's house and find that the door to Stolz's room is locked. Arthur tells Odile to find the key. Franz and Arthur return to the house the following night, and Odile tells them that the locks have been changed. They tie and gag Victoria, before locking her in a closet. Then, they go to Stolz's room and see that the money is not there anymore. They search the house and find only a small amount of cash. When they open the closet to interrogate Victoria, she appears to be dead. Franz and Odile leave, and Arthur stays behind.

While driving away, Franz and Odile see Arthur's uncle heading to the villa, and they go back. They then see that Arthur has found the rest of the money in a doghouse. Arthur and his uncle get into a shootout and kill each other. Stolz returns to the house, and Victoria is shown to be alive. Franz and Odile drive off with the small stack of money from the robbery. They flee to South America and realize that they love each other.


  • Character names are not indicated in on-screen cast credits.


Bande à part was directed by Jean-Luc Godard and was filmed in 25 days.[2] Godard described it as "Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka".[3] The film is an adaptation of the 1958 novel Fools' Gold by American author Dolores Hitchens.[2]


Film critic Pauline Kael described Bande à part as "a reverie of a gangster movie" and "perhaps Godard's most delicately charming film".[4][5] Bande à part is often considered one of Godard's most accessible films; Amy Taubin of the Village Voice called it "a Godard film for people who don't much care for Godard".[6] Its accessibility has endeared the film to a broader audience. For example, it was the only Godard film selected for Time's All-TIME 100 movies.[7] Bande à part was also ranked No. 79 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" in 2010.[8] In tribute, Quentin Tarantino named his film production company "A Band Apart".[9]

Bande a part has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 48 reviews, with an average rating of 7.98/10. The website's critical consensus calls the film "an oddball heist movie with an dark streak that picks apart every rule in filmmaking."[10]

Memorable scenes

When Franz, Arthur and Odile are in a crowded café, Arthur and Odile decide to dance. Franz joins them as they perform a dance routine. The music is R&B or soul music composed for the film by Michel Legrand, but Anna Karina said the actors called it "the Madison dance", alluding to a novelty dance of the time.[11] The Madison scene influenced the dance scene with Uma Thurman and John Travolta in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.[12] It also influenced scenes in Hal Hartley's Simple Men[13] and Martin Hynes' The Go-Getter.[14] In Roger Michell's Le Week-End, the principal characters see the dance scene on a television in their Paris hotel room and briefly dance along with it. The final scene of the movie is a longer reenactment in a café after one of the characters plays the music on a jukebox. The entire dance scene was also used as the music video for the song "Dance with Me" by Nouvelle Vague from their album Bande à Part (2006). The group took their name from a scene in the film, where Arthur and Odile are walking on a street and pass a business with Nouvelle Vague (New Wave or New Trend) in large letters over the door.

In "The Gentlemen's Wager", a 2014 short film made to promote Johnnie Walker whiskey, Jude Law and a group of dancers perform the Madison dance in order to win a bet.[15]

Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, and Rome Kanda perform the dance in "Exactly Like You", the fifth episode of the 2018 Netflix series Maniac.[16]

In a later scene, Franz, Arthur and Odile attempt to break the world record for running through the Louvre museum. The narration informs the viewer that their time was 9 minutes and 43 seconds, which broke the record set by Jimmy Johnson of San Francisco at 9 minutes and 45 seconds. The Louvre scene is referenced in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers in which its characters break the Louvre record.

The Louvre scene is further referenced in the 2017 documentary Faces Places, directed by Agnès Varda and JR.

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