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Détective (1985)

In a palace of Paris. Two detectives are investigating a two-year-old murder. Emile and Francoise Chenal are putting pressure on Jim Fox Warner, a boxing manager, who owes them a huge ... See full summary »


Jean-Luc Godard


Alain Sarde (screenplay), Philippe Setbon (screenplay) | 7 more credits »
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurent Terzieff ... William Prospero
Aurelle Doazan Aurelle Doazan ... Arielle
Jean-Pierre Léaud ... Inspector Neveu
Nathalie Baye ... Françoise Chenal
Claude Brasseur ... Emile Chenal
Johnny Hallyday ... Jim Fox Warner
Alain Cuny ... Old Mafioso
Xavier Saint-Macary Xavier Saint-Macary ... Accountant
Pierre Bertin Pierre Bertin ... Young Son
Alexandra Garijo Alexandra Garijo ... Young Daughter
Stéphane Ferrara Stéphane Ferrara ... Tiger Jones
Emmanuelle Seigner ... Princess of the Bahamas
Eugène Berthier Eugène Berthier ... Old manager
Julie Delpy ... Wise young girl
Cyrille Dajinckourt Cyrille Dajinckourt ... La fille


In a palace of Paris. Two detectives are investigating a two-year-old murder. Emile and Francoise Chenal are putting pressure on Jim Fox Warner, a boxing manager, who owes them a huge amount of money. But Jim also owes money to the Mafia, and it seems the boxing match he is counting on to bail out will not be sufficient... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama


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France | Switzerland


French | English | Italian

Release Date:

23 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Detective See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

JLG Films, Sara Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Film debut of Julie Delpy. See more »


Old Mafioso: We're not in one of those little French films, where the actors believe talking is thinking.
See more »


Referenced in Crazy Moon (1987) See more »


(Uncredited song)
Music by Arthur Honegger (as Honegger)
(music title uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

a 80s period Godard film with something of an actual story, who knew?
14 December 2008 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

I'm not very admirable of Jean-Luc Godard's body of work on the whole after the mid 1970s. It may be snobbish to say this, or maybe I just don't "get" films like Hail Mary or Nouvelle Vague or In Praise of Love (though the last one does have its moments), but after the 1960s, going slowly at first into the 70s and then finally becoming all too apparent in the 80s, Godard lost something that made his films so special beforehand. He could put so much of his experimentation and poetry and quotations and little tics and oddities that made him such an iconoclast *and* make them entertaining and even sometimes, when warranted, have an actual story somewhere in the inspired chaos of his direction. But in looking at something like Hail Mary or King Lear or even Passion it's all a lot of less-than-half baked ideas, overlong shots of beaches, and generally boring semantics. This, sadly, is a chunk of what happened to a Godard running on steam from his glory years as an auteur.

This ranting and castigating said, Godard does have some moments in this period that are striking and memorable and solid cinema; the best being First Name: Carmen and, most recently as what is at the moment his final feature film, Notre Musique. Detective, also, is one of them, if also sometimes a little shaky and awkward going between the rigorous attention to having characters real out of books and looking or acting unrealistic or in one-note tones as well as a solid B-movie plot. The latter concerns a detective (I believe played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, who does a great job going between serious and comedy in his first Godard film since La Gai Savoir) snooping around a hotel trying to find out about the death of "The Price", while at the same time a boxing promoter is getting into some heat with some over-paid debts, and at the same time sleeping with the mafioso's wife (I think this last part, hopefully I'm clear on this point).

Luckily, Godard, working under a "Commercial" framework- ironic considering that this is commercial when compared to everything else Godard was doing at the time and made this in order to make the "controversial" Hail Mary- is able to slip in some funny and cool and actually engaging bits of dialog and quotes and ruminations by characters, and he's able to tag a hold of the plot a bit too. He also understands the jokey-ness of doing an homage to gangster and boxing pictures of the noir era in full color, without a clear narrative thread all of the time, and plays around with it, successfully. This doesn't make it automatically a great picture or as daring precisely as his earlier work. But it is a good sign; sometimes, perhaps, a director like Godard needs an Alain Sarde to reel him in just a tad and then the collaboration works out better as opposed to... King Lear.

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