Like most directors of the Nouvelle Vague movement, Godard began his career as a highly influential film critic for Cahiers du Cinéma before transitioning to directing his own films. Godard combined existential philosophy and Marxist politics with unorthodox editing, camerawork, sound design, and narrative structure to create a wholly unique cinematic language. His invaluable influence on film has inspired a multitude of directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Jim Jarmusch, to name a few.
Breathless is every bit as important to the history of cinema as The Birth of a Nation and Citizen Kane. Although not the first film of the Nouvelle Vague, history has proven Breathless to be the most influential film of the entire movement.
Breathless made Jean-Paul Belmondo, who plays a Humphrey Bogart wannabe, an international superstar. The film's jarring use of jump cuts, on-location shooting, use of natural lighting, and handheld camera usage revolutionized how films would be made going forward. In the 2012 Sight and Sound film poll, Breathless was ranked the 13th greatest film ever made.