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Jean Paul Belmondo book

Belmondo Style by Adam Berlin

Not a biography or a comment on Belmondo's sartorial habits, but rather a work of fiction inspired by Breathless and Jean-Paul Belmondo himself! Highly rated and shortlisted for the Publishing Triangle Award.


Jean-Paul Belmondo (9 April 1933 - 6 September 2021) was a French film star and one of the actors most closely associated with the New Wave. His laconic, tough guy persona, expressive, unconventional looks, and considerable onscreen charm made him an icon of French cinema.


see also articles on:
Top 10 Films by Actor Performance || French New Wave History ||
French New Wave Film Guide || French New Wave Men's Style
Jean-Paul Belmondo
actor Jean-Paul Belmondo

Jean-Paul Belmondo was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the son of the sculptor Paul Belmondo. He performed poorly at school but developed a passion for boxing and football. By the time he reached his twenties, Belmondo had decided to pursue a career in acting. After a number of attempts, he was enrolled at the Paris Conservatory to study drama, although his tutors were not optimistic about his prospects.

After graduating, he began his professional career on stage and spent the first half of the 1950s working in the theatre. He made his film debut in 1956 and appeared in several minor films over the next years, most notably Les Copains du Dimanche (1957) and his first starring role, alongside another up-and-coming new actor named Alain Delon, in Sois Belle et Tais-Toi (1957)

The coming of the French New Wave in 1959 finally brought Belmondo real stardom. In that year he appeared first in Claude Chabrol’s A Double Tour, which received little notice. It was his next performance, however, as the anti-hero Michel Poiccard in Jean-Luc Godard’s A Bout de Souffle, whichmade him an international star. Defiant, reckless, witty and amoral, Belmondo’s Poiccard was the perfect protagonist for Godard’s revolutionary break with the past. The success of the film even resulted in a wave of “Belmondism” in the hipper circles of Paris, with young men modelling themselves on him.

Belmondo revealed unexpected versatility in his next roles, acting opposite Sophia Loren in Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women (1960)and as the enigmatic priest in Jean-Pierre Melville’s World War II drama Leon Morin, Petre (1961). He worked with Godard again for the musical comedy A Woman is a Woman (1961), and with Melville on the film noir/gangster homage Le Doulos (1963).

In Pierrot le Fou (1965), his next collaboration with Godard,  Belmondo plays a writer who leaves behind his unhappy life and sets off on a crazy road trip with the babysitter played by Anna Karina. Together they battle gunrunners, gas station attendants, and American tourists in a story that mixes high and pop culture with brilliant artistry. Standing in for Godard, as a man who cannot choose between art and life, Belmondo inhabits his character effortlessly.

Although he had become synonymous at this stage of his career with the films of the New Wave directors, Belmondo also played more mainstream roles in films such as the period swashbuckler Cartouche (1962), the romantic comedy La Chasse a L’Homme (1964) and Philippe De Broca’s action comedy L’Homme de Rio (1964).  Capitalising on his increasing drawing power, he founded his own production company called Cerito to produce many of his films.

Drawing on his earlier athletic prowess, Belmondo became renowned for doing his own stunts as well as for his charming screen presence in such movies as the hit Les Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine (1965), the comic caper The Brain (1968), and the second film with Delon, Borsalino (1970). At the same time, Belmondo appeared in all-star international productions such as Rene Clement’s all-star World War II epic Is Paris Burning? (1966), and the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967).

He continued his association with the Nouvelle Vague directors, starring in Francois Truffaut’s romantic drama Mississippi Mermaid (1969) opposite Catherine Deneuve, Louis Malle’s crime comedy Le Voleur (1967), Claude Chabrol’s black comedy Docteur Popaul (1972), and Alain Resnais ambitious biopic of a famous speculator and con man from the 1930s, Stavisky (1974).

The failure of this last film however, appears to have dissuaded Belmondo from working with the more experimental New Wave filmmakers, and, from this time forward, he began appearing almost exclusively in more commercially oriented features. Among them L’Incorrigible (1975), directed by de Broca, and the crime thrillers Peur Sur la Ville (1975) and L’Alpagueur (1976).

In 1978 Belmondo began a profitable collaboration with director Georges Lautner on the hit comedy thriller Flic ou Voyou. They continued their successful run with Le Guignolo (1979), Le Professionnel (1981), the comedy Joyeuses Paques! (1984), and the mystery L’Inconnu dans la Maison (1992).

In 1987, Belmondo returned to the stage for the first time since 1959 and divided his efforts between theatre and film from then on. Though he continued his genre work in the 1990s with the romantic comedy Desire (1996) and his third co-starring turn with Delon in Patrice Leconte’s action comedy 1 Chance Sur 2 (1998), Belmondo also branched out creatively as part of the ensemble in Agnes Varda’s homage to international cinema Les Cents et une Nuits de Simon Cinema (1995) and as the Jean Valjean figure in Claude Lelouch’s 20th century reworking of Les Miserables (1995).

Well regarded in the French film world as well as by movie audiences throughout his career, Belmondo was elected president of the French actor’s union in 1963, and was awarded a Cesar for his performance in Lelouch’s romance Itineraire d’un Enfant Gate (1988). He was also made a Chevalier of the Ordre National du Merite and a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur. In 2001, he suffered a stroke and was absent from stage and screen until his acclaimed comeback performance in Un Homme et Son Chien (2008).

Belmondo was married three times; first to Elodie Constantin with whom he had three children, Patricia (1958), Florence (1960) and Paul (1963). Paul became a Formula One driver; his eldest daughter Patricia was killed in a fire in 1994. In 1966, due to a well-publicised affair between Belmondo and actress Ursula Andress, Belmondo and his wife divorced. In 1989, he met Nathalie Tardivel who was 24 years old at the time and married her in 2002. In 2003, at the age of 70, his fourth child Stella was born. He died on the 6th of September, 2021 and was honoured with a rare state funeral in Paris.

AS ACTOR (title, followed by role):

[with New Wave Directors] [Complete Filmography]

with New Wave Directors

À double tour (Leda, 1959) ... Laszlo Kovacs (d. Claude Chabrol)

A bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960) ... Michel Poiccard (d. Jean-Luc Godard)

Charlotte et son Jules (Charlotte and Her Boyfriend, 1960) ... Jean (d. Jean-Luc Godard)

Une femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman, 1961) ... Alfred Lubitsch (d. Jean-Luc Godard)

Léon Morin, Pretre (Leon Morin, Priest, 1961) ... Leon Morin (d. Jean-Pierre Melville)

Le Doulos (The Finger Man, 1962) ... Silien (d. Jean-Pierre Melville)

L'Ainé des Ferchaux (Magnet of Doom, 1963) ... Michel Maudet (d. Jean-Pierre Melville)

Pierrot le fou (1965) ... Ferdinand Griffon, ‘Pierrot’ (d. Jean-Luc Godard)

Le Voleur (The Thief, 1967) ... Georges Randal (d. Louis Malle)

Le Sirène du Mississippi (Mississippi Mermaid, 1969) ... LouisMahé (d. Francois Truffaut)

Docteur Popaul (Dr. Popaul, 1972) ... Dr Paul Simay (d. Claude Chabrol)

Stavisky (1974) ... Serge Alexandre Stavisky (d. Alain Resnais)

Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinima (A Hundred and One Nights, 1995) ... Professeur Bebel (d. Agnes Varda)


Complete Filmography

Moliere (1956) ... Le Merluche

A pied, a cheval et en voiture (1957) ... Venin

Les Copains du dimanche (1958) ... Trebois

Sois belle et tais-toi (1958) ... Pierrot

Un drole de dimanche (1958) ... Patrick

Les Tricheurs (1958) ... Lou

Ein Engel auf Erden (1959) ... Michel Barrot

Les trois mousquetaire (1959) ... D’Artagnon

À double tour (1959) ... Laszlo Kovacs

A bout de souffle (1960) ... Michel Poiccard

Classes tous risques (1960) ... Eric Stark

Moderato Cantabile (1960) ... Chauvin

La Francause et l’amour(1960) (segment "L'Adultère") ... Gilles

Les Distractions ... Paul Frapier

Charlotte et son Jules (1960) ... Jean

Lettere di una novizia (1960) ... Giuliano Verdi

Two Women (1960) ... Michele Di Libero

La Viaccia (1961) ... Amerigo

Une femme est une femme (1961) ... Alfred Lubitsch

Leon Morin, Priest (1961) ... Leon Morin

Amours celebres (1961) (segment "Lauzun")

Un nommi La Rocca (1961) ... Roberto La Rocca

Cartouche (1962) ... Cartouche

Un Singe en hiver (1962) ... Gabriel Fouquet

Le Doulos (1962) ... Silien

Peau de banane (1963) ... Michel Thibault

L'Ainé des Ferchaux (1963) ... Michel Maudet

Dragées au poivre (1963) ... Raymond

Mare matto (1963) ... Il Livornese

L’Homme de Rio (1964) ... Pvt. Adrien Dufourquet

Cent mille dollars au soleil (1964) ... Rocco

Backfire (1964) ... David Ladislas

La Chasse à l'homme (1964) ... Fernand

Weekend at Dunkirk (1964) ... Julien Maillat

Crime on a Summer Morning (1965) ... Francis

Pierrot le fou (1965) ... Ferdinand Griffon, ‘Pierrot’

Chinese Adventures in China (1965) ... Arthur Lempereur

Is Paris Burning? (1966) ... Pierrelot - Yvon Morandat

Tender Scoundrel (1966) ... Tony Marechal

Le Voleur (1967) ... Georges Randal

Casino Royale (1967) ... French Legionnaire

Ho! (1968) ... Francois Holin

The Brain (1969) ... Arthur Lespinasse

Mississippi Mermaid (1969) ... Louis Mahe

Un homme qui me plaît (1969) ... Henri

Borsalino (1970) ... Francois Capella

Le Casse (1971) ... Azad

Les Mariés de l'an II (1971) ... Nicolas Philibert

Docteur Popaul (1972) ... Dr Paul Simay

La Scoumoune (1972) ... Roberto Borgo

L'Héritier (1973) ... Bart Cordell

Le Magnifique (1973) ... Bob Saint-Clair/Francois Merlin

Stavisky (1974) ... Serge Alexandre Stavisky

Peur sur la ville (1975) ... Jean Letellier

L'Incorrigible (1975) ... Victor Vauthier

L’Alpagueur (1976) ... Roger Pilard

Body of My Enemy (1976) ... Francois Leclercq

L'Animal (1977) ... Mike Gaucher et Bruno Ferrari

Flic ou voyou (1979) ... Antonio Cerutti/Stanislas Borovitz

Le Guignolo (1980) ... Alexandre Dupre

Le Professionel (1981) ... Josselin Beaumont

L'As des as (1982) ... Jo Cavalier

The Outsider (1983) ... Commissaire Philippe Jordan

Les Morfalous (1984) ... Sgt. Pierre Augagneur

Joyeuses Paques (1984) ... Stephane Margelle

Hold-Up (1985) ... Grimm

Le Solitaire (1987) ... Stan Jalard

Kean (1988) ... Kean

Itinéraire d'un enfant gâté (1988) ... Sam Lion

Stranger in the House (1992) ... Loursat

Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinima (1995) ... Professeur Bebel

Les Misérables (1995) ... Henri Fortin

Désiré (1996) ... Desire

Half a Chance (1998) ... Leo Brassac

Peut-être (1999) ... Ako

Amazon (2000) ... Edouard

Un homme et son chien (2009) ... Charles




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