10 Most Famous French Actors Of All Time

Photo credit: All Wiki Commons (see images below)

Over the years, France has produced some incredible actors, many of which have appeared in the world’s most popular movies. Today we’re going to meet a group of the top-10 most famous French actors, and discover how they became so well-known through their must-see movies. You’ll find some suggestions for great movies and TV shows to watch, as well as some incredible talent to witness on the screen.

Click here to check out our list of the most famous French female actresses of all time!

1) Gérard Depardieu

Gérard_Depardieu_(Berlin_Film_Festival_2010)_2.jpg: Siebbiderivative work: César, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

During his career, Gérard Depardieu (1948 – ) has worked with over 150 film directors, including Maurice Pialat and Jean-Luc Godard. Popular movies of his which you may have seen include Jean de Florette, Cyrano de Bergerac and Ruby & Quentin.

2) Jean Reno

Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jean Reno (1948 – ), whose birth name is Juan Moreno y Herrera–Jiménez, is a French actor with an Andalusian Spanish heritage. Some of his top French-language hit movies include Les Visiteurs, Wasabi, The Big Blue and  Crimson Rivers.

3) Jean-Paul Belmondo

Keystone/Hulton Archive, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1960s, Jean-Paul Belmondo (1933 – 2021) was part of the New Wave of the decade and continued his career for a few decades following this. He is best known for his work in Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, and That Man from Rio .

4) Omar Sy

Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Omar Sy (1978 – ) is a well-known French actor who still performs to this day. His most popular work includes his sketches with Fred Testot, which can be seen on Canal+. His biggest French movie hit was the movie Chocolat (2016). Sy has also appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jurassic World and Transformers: The Last Knight.

5) Alain Delon

Licio D’aloisio / Reporters Associati & Archivi / Mondadori, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As one of the most prominent actors and sex symbols of the 1960s and 1970s, Alain Delon (1935 – ) won the César Award for Best Actor in 1985. Delon’s greatest movie hits include The Swimming Pool, Purple Noon, Rocco and His BrothersL’Eclisse and The Leopard.

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6) Vincent Cassel

Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent Cassel (1966 – ) first gained attention for his work in La Haine in 1995. Since that time, he’s appeared in movies including Read My Lips, Mesrine, It’s Only the End of the World, Beauty and the Beast (2014), One Wild Moment and The Specials.

7) Jean Dujardin

Georges Biard, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Working as both an actor and comedian, Jean Dujardin (1972 – ) started his career on the stand-up comedy circuit in Paris. During his career, he’s appeared in many comedic films and TV shows, including Up for Love and The Artist. Other notable performances include OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and An Officer and a Spy.

8) Guillaume Canet

Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Guillaume Canet (1973 – ) works as a director, actor, and screenwriter but also enjoys show jumping. He can be seen in movies including Love Me If You Dare, The Beach, and Joyeux Noël.

9) Mathieu Amalric

Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You might recognize French actor and filmmaker Mathieu Amalric (1965 – ) from the James Bond movie,  Quantum of Solace. He played the lead villain in this film, which was one of his career highlights to date. Other notable performances include Kings and Queen, Munich, Heartbeat Detector, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

10) Louis de Funès

Marisa Rastellini (Mondadori Publishers), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

During his career, Louis de Funès (1914 – 1983) starred in over 150 films and 100 stage plays. Top hits of his include Fantômas se déchaîne, La Grande Vadrouille, and La Soupe aux choux.

Conclusion – Famous French actors

If you are looking for a new movie to watch tonight, we highly recommend checking out any of these titles starring some of France’s finest acting talent.

You’ll find that many of these French actors appear in global hits, making their mark on the acting world and showcasing the artistic talent that France has produced over the past decades.

With foreign films becoming more readily available today, it’s a great way to expand your knowledge about the acting world and discover new actors who may soon become your favorites.

Discover more:

If you've found this post useful you might want to considering looking at our post covering the best apps for learning French. We've looked a total 33 apps and have written comprehensive reviews of Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and FrenchPod101.

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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