The last film by veteran writer/director Robert Bresson, the French crime drama L'Argent (Money) was based on a short story by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Looking for some quick cash, young man Norbert (Marc Ernest Fourneau) gets a phony 500 franc note from his friend Matrial (Bruno Lapeyre).
After he spends it at a photography shop, the unscrupulous shop owner (Didier Baussy) decides to pass it on to someone else. The unfortunate victim is honest delivery man Yvon Targe (Christian Patey), who doesn't realize the bill is a fake. When he tries to buy some food with it, he is arrested.
He tries to sue the photographer, but shop assistant Lucien (Vincent Risterucci) has been bribed to stay quiet about the transaction. The scandal causes Yvon to lose his job. In order to support his family, he tries driving a getaway car for some criminals. Unfortunately, their heist doesn't go so well, and he is sent to prison for three years.
While incarcerated, his child dies of diphtheria and his wife (Caroline Lang) leaves him. Crazed, Yvon turns to theft, violent crime, and eventually cold-blooded murder. L'Argent earned (Bresson) the Director's Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.