Antoine Doinel is a young boy growing up in Paris during the 1950s. Misunderstood by his parents for playing truant from school and stealing, he’s also tormented at school for discipline problems by his teacher. He quits school after his teacher catches him plagiarizing Balzac. He steals a typewriter from his stepfather's workplace to finance his plans to leave home, but is apprehended while trying to return it. The stepfather takes Antoine over to the police and Antoine spends the night in jail, sharing a cell with prostitutes and thieves. During an interview with the judge, Antoine's mother confesses that her husband is not Antoine's biological father. Antoine is placed in an observation center for troubled youths near the seashore (as his mother wished). While playing football with the other boys one day, Antoine escapes to the ocean, which he has always wanted to see.