I tried to make a list of great French actors for those who are not familiar with French cinema so they can know where to start to find the best movies with the best actors.I'm from Québec so I dont know all of them and I havent seen all the old movies and B&W stuff so I may have missed a couple of good ones.Also I dont see this as a contest and didnt gave too much importance to the order.
Philippe Noiret was one of French cinema's most familiar faces who appeared in more than 140 films in a career that spanned more than half a century. He was born on October 1, 1930, in Lille, Nord, France, into a middle class family of shopkeepers. His father was fond of literature. Young Noiret attended the College Janson-of-Sally in the 16th arrondissement in Paris...
Jean-Alexis Moncorge started his career with 15 years at the theatre and debuted at the "Moulin Rouge" in Paris in 1929. Despite of his rude aspect he knew to be the gentleman of the French cinema in the time between the two World Wars. One of his most popular personalities was inspector Maigret. But he was also able to play all other kind of people: aristocrats...
French character star Jean Rochefort expressed an interest in acting early in life. Born in 1930, he trained at the Paris Conservatoire but had to halt his studies due to military service. Relocating to Paris, he developed a minor name for himself in cabaret and stage plays. He also worked with the Grenier-Hussenot company at this time and acted in TV drama...
Gérard Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, Indre, France, to Anne Jeanne Josèphe (Marillier) and René Maxime Lionel Depardieu, who was a metal worker and fireman. Young delinquent and wanderer in the past, Depardieu started his acting career at the small traveling theatre "Cafe de la Gare", along with Patrick Dewaere
One of France's most beloved character stars from the 1950s through and including the 1980s was the Italian-born Lino Ventura. Born Angiolino Joseph Pascal Ventura to Giovanni Ventura and Luisa Borrini, on July 14, 1919, in Parma (northern) Italy, young Lino moved with his family at a young age to Paris...
Certainly one of France's supreme farceurs in the classic tradition, comedian Pierre Richard was born to an uppercrust family with an embarrassing riches of middle names as he was christened Pierre Richard Maurice Charles Leopold Defays. Working and building up his trade at the Paris Music Hall in the early years...
Jean Reno was born Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez in Casablanca, Morocco, to Spanish parents (from Andalucía) who moved to North Africa to seek work. His father was a linotypist. Reno settled in France at 17. He began studying drama and has credits in French television and theater as well as films. His first two marriages both ended in divorce...
The son of the renowned French sculptor Paul Belmondo, he studied at Conservatoire National Superieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD); after the minor stage performances he made his screen debut in À pied, à cheval et en voiture
but the episodes with his participation were cut before release. However, the breakthrough role in Jean-Luc Godard
made him one of the key figures in the French New Wave...
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Tcheky Karyo grew up in Paris. He studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre and became a member of the Daniel Sorano Company, where he played numerous classical roles. He next joined the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where he starred in contemporary theatre as well as in such classical works as "Tartuffe"...
Blue-eyed Vincent Cassel was born in Paris to a leading actor father, Jean-Pierre Cassel
, and a journalist mother, Sabine Litique. Often labeled as a tough guy because of his roles, eclectic choices and talent have made of him a star of European cinema. First in La Haine
, the young actor, actually coming from upper classes...
Soulful, exotic-looking leading man Vincent Perez is known for his grand and glossy French pictures, exuding a sexy stare and irresistible charm that has swept Gallic women off their feet for over two decades. He was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, to a German mother and a Spanish businessman father...
One of France's most popular actors, writers, and producers, Thierry Lhermitte has been appearing in films since the 1970s. Perhaps best known for work in farcical comedies, the tall, handsome actor has appeared in some of France's more outrageous films over the course of his prolific career. Born in Paris on November 24...
The apocryphal biography of Fernand Contadin tells the invention of his artistic name Fernandel by his sister-in-law ("Voici le Fernand d'elles"). At the beginning of the thirties he became a typical actor of the comedy genre: popular, common, likable and with a concealed grain of drama. Marc Allégret
was the director of his first successful film La meilleure bobonne
Jean Marais was a popular French cinema actor and director who played over 100 roles in film and on television, and was also known for his many talents as a writer, painter and sculptor. He was born Jean Alfred Villain-Marais on December 11, 1913, in Cherbourg, France. His father practiced veterinarian medicine...
Lambert Wilson was born in Paris and studied acting at the Drama Centre in London. A fluent English speaker, he made his feature film debut at the age of twenty-two in Fred Zinnemann's Five Days One Summer (1981) starring opposite Sean Connery. He went on to work with many of France's most prestigious auteur directors...
Gaspard Ulliel's dream has always been to direct a movie, and after completing his studies at the lycée (French high school), he majored in cinema at the University of Saint-Denis. However, fate had other plans, and he is currently pursuing an acting career. It began when Ulliel was 12 years old when he appeared in the TV film Une femme en blanc
Sensual, ambiguous, ultra sensitive French performer Jean-Hugues Anglade always had a reputation of intense and passionate actor. Any role, any language, Anglade seems to be able to do anything. From appearing integrally naked alongside Beatrice Dalle in "37.2 degrees in the morning", to playing an homosexual role in "The wounded man"...
Although born in the USA, Lambert is French. His father was a French diplomat stationed in the US at the United Nations at the time of Lambert's birth. Lambert's formative years were spent in Geneva, Switzerland, to where his family moved when he was two, before returning to Paris when he was 16. Lambert has served in the French military, allegedly at his father's insistence.