Top Ten French Actors

Ooh la la! To celebrate the release of Mesrine, presents out top ten French actors.

If you were slightly disappointed by Michael Mann’s ponderous and slow burning Public Enemies, then you should check out this week’s big gangster release Mesrine: Killer Instinct (the first of a two part biopic). Though not well known in this part of the world, Mesrine’s credentials as public enemy number one in France would put Dillinger to shame. His criminal CV includes robberies, jail breaks, kidnapping and er…a brief stint working for an architectural firm.


The lead is played by the enigmatic Vincent Cassel, who steals every scene he appears in (which is most of them!). Cassel uses the wiry energy he displayed in films like La Haine, Irreversible and Eastern Promises to recreate Mesrine as an irresistible anti-hero.


To commemorate Cassel’s bravura performance, presents the top ten French thesps.


1. Daniel Auteuil



Auteuil is one of the veterans of French cinema. Some may recognise him from the classic Jean de Florette and Manon des sources (both 1986) but he only truly burst onto the international market with the critically acclaimed and award winning thriller Cache (soon to be remade in the English language by Ron Howard). Auteuil is brilliant as a man hounded by an unseen stalker who seems set on ruining his career and his marriage.




2. Brigitte Bardot



Bardot is one of those actresses whose talent was almost completely overshadowed by her beauty – anyone who has seen her in And God Created Woman (1956) will perhaps understand why this is so as she is one of the most bewitching creatures to ever have graced cinema screens. She may not have been the best actress in the world perhaps, but she always held her own despite being typecast as the French temptress.




3. Jean Paul Belmondo



Ah the French – so effortlessly chic. They even make smoking look good! And never were the French cooler than in the 60’s. The films of the French new wave may seem a little flimsy now but they certainly created iconic stars. Jean Paul Belmondo was one of them. In A bout de souffle, he is the epitome of effortless Parisian cool; in his sharp suit, dark glasses and Gitane constantly on the go.