Famous French Actors

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.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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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
(Actor)

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
5
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
(Football player, Actor)

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 

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.

 6 

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.

 7 

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.

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 8 

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.

 9 

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 

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.

 11 

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.

 12 
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.

 13 
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.  

 14 

Michael Vartan
3
Birthdate: November 27, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Michael Vartan is a French-American actor best known for playing Michael Vaughn in the American action-thriller television series Alias. His performance in the series earned him nominations at Saturn Awards and Teen Choice Awards. He is also known for his film roles, such as Sam Coulson in Never Been Kissed for which he received an MTV Movie Award nomination.

 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

 16 

Gaspard Ulliel
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

 17 

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
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 
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

 23 

Lambert Wilson
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

 24 

Louis de Funès
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Courbevoie, France
Died: January 27, 1983

 25 
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.  

 26 

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.

 27 
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.

 28 

Yves Montand
2
Birthdate: October 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Monsummano Terme, Italy
Died: November 9, 1991

 29 
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.

 30 
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.

 31 
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

 32 

Robert Clary
3
Birthdate: March 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

 33 

Louis Jourdan
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: February 14, 2015

 34 

Saïd Taghmaoui
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Villepinte, France

 35 
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. 

 36 

Michael Lonsdale
2
Birthdate: May 24, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 21, 2020

 37 

David Charvet
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lyon, Rhône, France

 38 
Camille Razat
(Actress)

Camille Razat
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toulouse, France

 39 

Gilles Marini
2
Birthdate: January 26, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grasse, France

 40 
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.

 41 
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

 42 

Jamel Debbouze
2
Birthdate: June 18, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

 43 

Russell Wong
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Troy, New York, USA

 44 
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.

 45 
Jean Gabin
(Actor)

Jean Gabin
2
Birthdate: May 17, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 15, 1976

 46 

Soufiane Guerrab
2
Birthdate: February 18, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

 47 

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.

 48 
Pierre Woodman
(Film director)

Pierre Woodman
2
Birthdate: April 29, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Auvergne, France

After working odd jobs as a bartender and a policeman, Pierre Woodman began his career as a fashion photographer. He then stepped into porn film direction and launched the longest-running porn series in the world, Casting X. Woodman is his pseudonym, which he earned for his love for climbing trees.

 49 
Jean-Louis Trintignant
(French Actor Widely Regarded as One of the Best of Post-war France)

Jean-Louis Trintignant
2
Birthdate: December 11, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Piolenc, France

 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