Famous French Actors

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The recipe for a perfect evening is a mix of good food, old wine, great style and of course cult movies. While France is popular for the first three, it is its cinematic culture that often goes unnoticed or ignored. How many times have we preferred British or American movies to their French counterparts? A number of times, isn’t it? However, France has been a mecca of talent when it comes to acting, drama and performance. The country has been home to talented bunch of actors who have deeply engrained their names on the world of entertainment with their enduring and unforgettable performance. Their contribution to cinema has been simply outstanding, ineffaceable and deep-lasting. Some of the most popular and prestigious names of French cinema include Christopher Lambert, Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu, Guillaume Canet, and so on. Interestingly, thanks to the multiplying talent of French actors, French film industry has built a strong foundation with a stout fan following in English speaking countries as well. French films today are faring very well at the English box office and gaining immense popularity. To know more about popular French actors, their profile, their love for cinema and their works as an actor and performer, check out this section.
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 1 
Vincent Cassel
(French Actor Known for His Role in the 'Ocean's' Trilogy and Titular Role in the Biopic 'Mesrine')
Vincent Cassel
4
Birthdate: November 23, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

While he first came to prominence with his role in La Haine, French actor Vincent Cassel later got typecast in roles of short-tempered men. He has also won a César Award for his portrayal of Jacques Mesrine in the 2008 movie Mesrine. He is a trained martial artist, too.

 2 
Jean Reno
(French Actor Who has Worked in American, French, English, Japanese, Spanish and Italian Movie Productions)
Jean Reno
5
Birthdate: July 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco
French-Moroccan actor Jean Reno is best known for his roles in Godzilla, The Pink Panther, and Mission Impossible. He has also been part of French, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish films, and was nominated for a European Film Award for his role in Les Rivières pourpres, or Crimson Rivers.
 3 
Max von Sydow
6
Birthdate: April 10, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lund, Sweden
Died: March 8, 2020

Max von Sydow was a Swedish actor and director. In an illustrious career spanning seven decades, Max contributed immensely to American and European cinema, theatre, and television. He appeared in 11 of Ingmar Bergman's films, including The Seventh Seal, which houses the iconic scene where Max's character challenges the personification of Death to a game of chess.

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 4 
Eric Cantona
(French Actor and One of the Greatest Footballers of His Generation)
Eric Cantona
6
Birthdate: May 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France

Eric Cantona is a French actor, filmmaker, and former football player. During his playing career, Cantona was a key player for the popular football club Manchester United and is often credited with reviving the club's reputation as a footballing force. Nicknamed King Eric by Manchester United fans, Eric Cantona continues to enjoy an iconic status within the club.

 5 
Alain Delon
(One of Europe’s Most Prominent Actors and Screen Sex Symbols from the 1960s to 1980s)
Alain Delon
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sceaux, France

Alain Delon is a French actor, screenwriter, singer, filmmaker, and businessman. One of the most prominent actors and sex symbols in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s, Delon achieved critical acclaim for his performance in films like Rocco and His Brothers. In 1985, he was honored with the prestigious César Award for his portrayal of Robert Avranches in Our Story.

 6 
Hervé Villechaize
(Best Known for His Role in the James Bond Film 'The Man with the Golden Gun')
Hervé Villechaize
4
Birthdate: April 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 4, 1993

French-American actor Hervé Villechaize is best remembered for playing the evil henchman in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. Born with dwarfism, he was bullied at school for his condition. After initially working as an artist, painter and photographer, he ventured into acting. He was popular and much loved by the audience.

 7 
Olivier Martinez
(French Actor Known for His Films: 'Un, deux, trois, soleil' and 'The Horseman on the Roof')
Olivier Martinez
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
French actor Olivier Martinez gained fame with his César Award-winning performance in Un, deux, trois, soleil. He has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Unfaithful and S.W.A.T. He is a polyglot who is fluent in French, Spanish, and English. He was married to Halle Berry in the past.
 8 
Donald Pleasence
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Worksop
Died: February 2, 1995

Donald Pleasence was an English actor best remembered for his portrayal of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the popular 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. His performance in the film was later parodied by Canadian actor Mike Myers in the Austin Powers film series. Donald Pleasence was also an important theatre actor; he received four Tony Award nominations.

 9 
Gérard Depardieu
(French Actor Known for His Versatility and for His Unusual Combination of Gentleness and Physicality)
Gérard Depardieu
7
Birthdate: December 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Châteauroux, France

Gérard Depardieu is a French actor who achieved international recognition after playing Jean Cadoret in the 1986 period drama film Jean de Florette. One of the most prominent and critically acclaimed actors, Depardieu has won two Cesar Awards from 17 nominations so far. He has also won other prestigious awards like Golden Globe Awards and London Critics Circle Film Awards.

 10 
Lucas Bravo
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Lucas Bravo is a French model and actor best known for his portrayal of Chef Gabriel in the popular comedy-drama series Emily in Paris. His performance in the Netflix series has earned him important roles in a couple of upcoming films, such as Ticket to Paradise and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.

 11 
Omar Sy
(The First Black Recipient of César Award for Best Actor)
Omar Sy
3
Birthdate: January 20, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trappes, France

Omar Sy is a French actor who achieved international recognition for his portrayal of Bakary Bassari in the 2011 buddy comedy-drama film The Intouchables. For his performance in the movie, Omar Sy became the first Black actor to receive the prestigious César Award for Best Actor. He has also appeared in other popular films like Jurassic World and Inferno.

 12 
Christopher Lambert
(Best Known for His Role as Connor MacLeod in the Movie 'Highlander')
Christopher Lambert
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Great Neck, New York, United States

Christopher Lambert shot to fame with his portrayal of Tarzan in the 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. He is also known as Connor MacLeod from the Highlander franchise and as Raiden from Mortal Kombat. He has also been part of several French films.

 13 
Kayden Boche
(Model, Actor and Film Director)
Kayden Boche
3
Birthdate: June 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brest , France

After his mother’s death, Kayden Boche was placed in a foster home, where he suffered abuse. The French model was scouted soon after high school and became a sensation after his Dior Addict campaigns for Christian Dior fragrances. He has also directed Jérémy Amelin's single Oh, Oh!

 14 
Guillaume Canet
(French Actor & Director Known for His Films 'Joyeux Noël', 'The Beach' and 'Tell No One')
Guillaume Canet
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Born into a family of horse breeders, actor, director and screenwriter Guillaume Canet aspired to become a show jumper. However, a fall at the age of eighteen steered his destiny towards acting and very soon he was staring in films like Joyeux Noël and The Beach.  Eventually he also started directing; winning several awards for his 2006 production, Tell No One.  

 15 
Jean-Paul Belmondo
(French Actor Who Helped Shape European Cinema)
Jean-Paul Belmondo
3
Birthdate: April 9, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died: September 6, 2021

Jean-Paul Belmondo was a French actor and producer who ruled the French film industry as an actor for many years between the 1960s and 1990s. An influential and important actor of French cinema, Belmondo also played a prominent role in shaping European cinema. Widely regarded as an icon and national treasure, Jean-Paul Belmondo won many awards including a César Award.  

 16 
Gaspard Ulliel
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
 17 
Tchéky Karyo
(French Actor and Musician)
Tchéky Karyo
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey

French actor and musician Tchéky Karyo is best known as Julien Baptiste from the series The Missing and its spin-off, Baptiste. His performance in La Balance earned him a Cesar Award nomination. He has also appeared in character roles in films such as Kiss of the Dragon and The Patriot.

 18 
Tahar Rahim
(French Actor Known for His Starring Role as 'Malik El Djebena' in the Movie 'A Prophet')
Tahar Rahim
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belfort, France

Tahar Rahim is a French actor best known for playing Malik El Djebena in A Prophet for which he received several awards, including the 2009 European Film Award for Best Actor and the 2010 César Award for Best Actor. Tahar Rahim also won nominations at the Golden Globe Awards and British Academy Film Awards for his performance in The Mauritanian.

 19 
Jean Dujardin
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
 20 
Marcel Marceau
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: September 22, 2007
 21 
Sebastian Roché
3
Birthdate: August 4, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
 22 
Louis de Funès
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Courbevoie, France
Died: January 27, 1983
 23 
Samuel Benchetrit
(French Writer, Actor, and Director)
Samuel Benchetrit
2
Birthdate: June 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Champigny-sur-Marne, France

Samuel Benchetrit is a French writer, scenarist, actor, and director. Over the years, Benchetrit's achievements as a writer and actor have been overshadowed by his personal life and relationships with popular actresses like Marie Trintignant, Anna Mouglalis, and Vanessa Paradis.

 24 
Georges Méliès
(One of the First Filmmakers to Use Storyboards & Fictional Narratives in Movies)
Georges Méliès
3
Birthdate: December 8, 1861
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 21, 1938

Initially a professional illusionist and later a film director, Georges Méliès became interested in motion pictures after watching the first real film made by Lumière brothers. Realizing the potential of film-making as an art, he soon started experimenting, making technical and narrative developments. Among the 400 films he made were Christ Walking on Water, A Trip to the Moon etc

 25 
Lambert Wilson
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
 26 
Johnny Hallyday
(One of the Best-Selling Artists in the World Credited for Bringing 'Rock and Roll' to France)
Johnny Hallyday
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cité Malesherbes, Paris, France
Died: December 5, 2017

Regarded as France’s first rock star, Jean-Philippe Léo Smet, better known as Johnny Hallyday, had a phenomenal career, with 5 diamond, 40 golden, and 22 platinum albums. He was also always in the news for his flamboyant lifestyle, his many romances, his five marriages, and his love for cocaine and racing.  

 27 
Charles Boyer
(French-American Actor)
Charles Boyer
2
Birthdate: August 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Figeac, France
Died: August 26, 1978

French-American actor Charles Boyer appeared in more than 80 films in a career that spanned over half a century. He pursued a theatrical career as a young man and eventually moved into films. He achieved extreme popularity with his roles in romantic movies like The Garden of Allah and Love Affair in the 1930s. He received four Academy Award nominations.

 28 
Robert Clary
(Best Known for His Role in the Sitcom 'Hogan's Heroes')
Robert Clary
3
Birthdate: March 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

Robert Clary is a French-American actor, artist, singer, author, and lecturer. He is known for his portrayal of Corporal Louis LeBeau in the American television sitcom, Hogan's Heroes. A Holocaust survivor, Clary often speaks about the perils faced by him during the Second World War. Robert Clary has also released a memoir titled From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes.

 29 
Louis Garrel
(French Actor and Filmmaker Best Known for His Starring Role in the Movie 'The Dreamers')
Louis Garrel
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Best known for his starring role in The Dreamers, French actor and filmmaker Louis Garrel in general portrays similar characters, appearing as somebody involved in love triangles or historical figures like Jacques de Bascher, Jean-Luc Godard and Alfred Dreyfus. Since 2006, he has also been making films, screenwriting and directing movies like Two Friends, A Faithful Man, The Crusade etc.

 30 
Yves Montand
2
Birthdate: October 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Monsummano Terme, Italy
Died: November 9, 1991
 31 
Louis Malle
(Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director, Camera operator, Cinematographer, Actor)
Louis Malle
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thumeries
Died: November 23, 1995

Louis Malle was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for his film Le Monde du silence, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1957. He was also the recipient of two Golden Lion awards, one of the only four directors to have achieved this feat. He was active in both French cinema and Hollywood.

 32 
Louis Jourdan
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: February 14, 2015
 33 
Mathieu Amalric
(Actor best known internationally for his roles in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, in which he played the lead villain)
Mathieu Amalric
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
 34 
Saïd Taghmaoui
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Villepinte, France
 35 
Camille Razat
(Actress)
Camille Razat
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
 36 
Maurice Chevalier
(French Singer Best Known for His Signature Songs: "Livin' In The Sunlight", "Valentine", "Louise" and "Mimi")
Maurice Chevalier
2
Birthdate: September 12, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 1, 1972
Best remembered for the song Valentine and the musical Gigi, French musician Maurice Chevalier not only fought in World War I, but was also injured and later imprisoned. During World War II, he reluctantly agreed to perform in exchange of the release of a few French prisoners. 
 37 
Michael Lonsdale
2
Birthdate: May 24, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 21, 2020
 38 
David Charvet
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lyon, Rhône, France
 39 
Gilles Marini
2
Birthdate: January 26, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grasse, France
 40 
Jacques Tati
(Actor, Director who wrote and starred in Mr. Hulot's Holiday)
Jacques Tati
2
Birthdate: October 9, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Le Pecq, France
Died: November 5, 1982
 41 
Jean Renoir
(French Film Director & Screenwriter Known for His Films 'La Grande Illusion' and 'The Rules of the Game')
Jean Renoir
2
Birthdate: September 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montmartre, Paris, France
Died: February 12, 1979

Jean Renoir was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. The son of the prominent painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean was one of the first filmmakers to be known as an auteur. He started working during the silent film era and made more than 40 silent films. In 1975, he received a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.

 42 
Russell Wong
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Troy, New York, USA
 43 
Kavinsky
(French Musician, Producer, DJ, and Actor)
Kavinsky
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seine-Saint-Denis, France

French electro house artist, musician, DJ, actor and producer Kavinsky started off as an actor before making his mark in the French music-scene. He gained greater mainstream recognition after his song Nightcall was used in title sequence for the blockbuster hit 2011 American neo-noir action, drama and crime film Drive. The song was later included on his debut studio-album, OutRun.

 44 
Jamel Debbouze
(French-Moroccan Comedian, Actor, Film Producer, Director, and Screenwriter)
Jamel Debbouze
2
Birthdate: June 18, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Jamel Debbouze is a French-Moroccan comedian, actor, film producer, director, and screenwriter. Renowned for his stand-up comedy sketches, Debbouze is also known for his collaboration with notable French humourists like Fred Testot, Florence Foresti, and Gad Elmaleh. Jamel Debbouze is credited with creating the popular television show Jamel Comedy Club.

 45 
Mathieu Kassovitz
(French Actor, Film Producer, Director, and Screenwriter)
Mathieu Kassovitz
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France

Mathieu Kassovitz is a French actor, film producer, director, and screenwriter. He has won the prestigious César Award on three occasions so far. He has also received nominations for Lumières Awards and Palme d'Or. Mathieu Kassovitz is credited with founding the film production company, MNP Entreprise.

 46 
Jean-Louis Trintignant
(One of the Best Post-War French Actors)
Jean-Louis Trintignant
2
Birthdate: December 11, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Piolenc, France
Died: June 17, 2022

Jean-Louis Trintignant was a French actor who is often counted among the finest dramatic actors of post-war France. Over the course of his illustrious career, Jean-Louis Trintignant won several prestigious awards like the César Award, Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival and Best Actor Award at Cannes Film Festival.

 47 
David Belle
(Actor & Founder and Leading Pioneer of the Physical Discipline 'Parkour')
David Belle
2
Birthdate: April 29, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fécamp, France

David Belle is a French actor, stunt coordinator, and film choreographer. Belle is credited with founding and popularizing Parkour; he coined the term Parkour based on his training with his father Raymond Belle. As a stunt coordinator, Belle has worked in films like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Transporter 2, and Crimson Rivers II: Angels of the Apocalypse.

 48 
Jean Gabin
(Actor)
Jean Gabin
2
Birthdate: May 17, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 15, 1976
 49 
Jean Marais
2
Birthdate: December 11, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France
Died: November 8, 1998

French actor Jean Marais was not only a long-time collaborator of director Jean Cocteau but was also his lover. After being rejected by the Paris Conservatory, he studied photography and later got only small roles, until Cocteau roped him in for lead roles in films such as Beauty and the Beast.

 50 
Benjamin Biolay
(Singer-songwriter and producer who wrote music for several French films including Clara et Moi and Pourquoi tu Pleures)
Benjamin Biolay
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Villefranche-sur-Saône, France