Le deuxième souffle (1966 film)

Le deuxième souffle
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Produced by
  • Charles Lumbroso
  • Andre Labay[1]
Written by Jean-Pierre Melville
Based on Le deuxième souffle
by Jose Giovanni
Music by Bernard Gérard[2]
Cinematography Marcel Combes[1]
Edited by
  • Monique Bonnot
  • Michèle Boëhm[1]
  • Les Production Mantaigne
  • Charles Lumbroso[1]
Release dates
  • November 2, 1966 (1966-11-02) (Paris)
Running time
140 minutes[2]
Country France

Le deuxième souffle is a French crime-thriller film released in 1966. Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, it stars Lino Ventura as Gustave Minda, Paul Meurisse as Inspector Blot and Raymond Pellegrin as Paul Ricci. The film was released under English titles including Second Breath and Second Wind. [3]


Widely respected in the criminal world for his ability and loyalty, Gu Minda escapes from prison and heads for Paris to see his devoted sister Manouche and her faithful bodyguard Alban. Her admirer, restaurant owner Jacques, is shot dead by gunmen sent by club owner Jo Ricci, who then sends two men to Manouche's house. Gu catches them there and gives them his trademark execution, which is a country drive in which they are shot and dumped. Commissioner Blot of the Paris police suspects the hand of Gu, who Manouche and Alban then try to smuggle to Italy via Marseille.

Before going, Gu is interested in one last job to put him in funds. An old associate Orloff sends him to Jo Ricci's brother Paul, who is planning to hold up a security van full of platinum bars. It is escorted by two armed policeman, one of whom Gu kills. Commissioner Fardiano of the Marseille police catches Gu and Paul, giving them rough treatment. In an exchange which is secretly recorded, Gu is tricked into admitting that Paul was involved.

Jo Ricci, wanting revenge on Gu for his jailed brother, also sees a chance to get Gu's share of the proceeds. He works on the other two participants in the robbery, who fear Gu may name them as well. To clear his name in the underworld, Gu escapes from the hospital where he is being held and captures Commissioner Fardiano in his car. After being forced to write a confession, which admits maltreatment and clears Gu of informing, he gets Gu's usual execution. Orloff then tells Gu where Jo Ricci is meeting the other two robbers and, in a final gun battle, all four are killed. Searching Gu's body, Commissioner Blot finds the confession, which he drops at the feet of a journalist.

Selected Cast

Role Actor
Gustave 'Gu' Minda Lino Ventura
Commissaire Blot Paul Meurisse
Paul Ricci Raymond Pellegrin
Manouche Christine Fabréga
Jo Ricci Marcel Bozzuffi
Antoine Denis Manuel
Alban Michel Constantin
Orloff Pierre Zimmer
Pascal Pierre Grasset
Inspecteur Fardiano Paul Frankeur


Le deuxième souffle was released in Paris on 2 November 1966.[2] In Paris, the film took in 647,857 admissions and 1,912,749 admissions in France as a whole.[4] This was Melville's highest-grossing film in France on its release and his fourth-highest-grossing film in his career.[4]


A new version of Le Deuxième Souffle was directed by Alain Corneau in 2007. It starred Daniel Auteuil, Michel Blanc and Jacques Dutronc.



  1. 1 2 3 4 Vincendeau 2003, p. 238.
  2. 1 2 3 Vincendeau 2003, p. 239.
  3. "Second Breath". unifrance.org. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  4. 1 2 Vincendeau 2003, p. 260.


External links

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