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Director(s): Robert Bresson

Theatrical Release: 1959

Cast: Martin Lasalle, Marika Green, Pierre Leymarie, Pierre Etaix, Jean Pelegri, Dolly Scal

Genre(s): Drama, crime, psychological, Criterion Collection, Dean's List

Countries: France

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Ant Rating
Running Time: 75m.

Director Robert Bresson chose Uruguayan nonactor Martin LaSalle for his leading man in Pickpocket. LaSalle's inexperience works against the film for some viewers, though Bresson himself was satisfied because his star proved himself a quick study in the art of lifting wallets (a genuine pickpocket was engaged as "technical adviser"). Essentially, the story is a character study of a cocky young criminal who becomes so entranced by the act of picking pockets that he literally can't stop himself. The Bressonian technique of concentrating more on the mechanics of the plot than the emotions of the characters is, as always, a matter of taste. Filmed in 1959, Pickpocket was released in the US in 1963. Loosely inspired by Feodor Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment. -- Hal Erickson (


Criterion Collection DVD #314 Special Features:

+ New, restored high-definition digital transfer

+ Audio commentary by film scholar James Quandt

+ New video introduction by writer-director Paul Schrader

+ The Models of “Pickpocket,” a 2003 documentary by filmmaker Babette Mangolte, featuring actors from the film

+ A 1960 interview with Bresson, from the French tele­vision program Cinépanorama

+ Q&A on Pickpocket, with actress Marika Green and filmmakers Paul Vecchiali and Jean-Pierre Améris fielding questions at a 2000 screening of the film

+ Footage of sleight-of-hand artist and Pickpocket consultant Kassagi, from a 1962 episode of the French television show La piste aux étoiles

+ Original theatrical trailer

+ New essay by novelist and culture critic Gary Indiana

+ New and improved English subtitle translation