Entertainment TV & Film 10 Famous French Actors You Should Know France's Leading Men Well Worth Watching Share PINTEREST Email Print TV & Film Movies International Movies Best Movie Lists Comedies Science Fiction Movies War Movies Classic Movies Movies For Kids Horror Movies Movie Awards Animated Films TV Shows By Jurgen Fauth & Marcy Dermansky Jurgen Fauth, Ph.D., has critiqued international and independent film since 1999. His reviews have been published in Rotten Tomatoes and other outlets. our editorial process Jurgen Fauth & Marcy Dermansky Updated May 09, 2019 How much do you know about French cinema? You might be surprised to learn that many talented French actors not only drive their own film industry but are bringing their talents to international audiences as well. This "Who's Who" of French leading men includes the established old guard including Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil, as well as young, dynamic stars like Gaspard Ulliel and Benoit Magimel. See which French stars you already know, and which ones you'd like to get to know better. 01 of 10 Mathieu Amalric Mathieu Almaric arrives at the premiere of 'The Diving Bell And The Butterfly' at the Ziegfeld Theater on November 14, 2007 in New York City. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images French actor Mathieu Amalric rose to international fame with a moving performance in 2007's "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Since then, he has appeared in hits such as "Quantum of Solace" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Born in 1965, Amalric has over 100 acting credits, mostly in French films. He has a number of directing credits as well, primarily for short subjects and documentaries. He also he wrote the screenplay for the 2104 erotic thriller "The Blue Room," which he directed and starred in. 02 of 10 Daniel Auteuil Daniel Auteuil attends the screening of 'Peindre Ou Faire L'Amour' at the Palais during the 58th International Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Daniel Auteuil is one of France's most distinguished actors. Born in Algiers in 1950, Auteuil kicked off his acting career in 1974 with the TV series, "Les Fargeot." Since then, he has appeared in nearly 100 roles, with 2005's "Cache" and 2004's "36th Precinct" among his best-known work. Many say that Auteuil bears a striking resemblance to Robert De Niro. Just like his American counterpart, Auteuil has a few writing and directing credits to his name as well. 03 of 10 Francois Cluzet Francois Cluzet attends the Selon Charlie premiere at Cannes. Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images Francois Cluzet is another veteran French actor with more than 100 roles dating back to the late ’70s. Cluzet starred in Guillaume Canet’s 2006 thriller "Tell No One" as well as the 2011 buddy film "The Intouchables." A Paris native, Cluzet was born in 1955 and is one of the best-known faces in French cinema. There was even a character on the ’80s satirical French puppet show "Les Guignols de l'info" that looked like him. 04 of 10 Romain Duris Romain Duris poses at the Paris premiere February 11, 2008 in Paris, France. Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images Romain Duris has starred in numerous acclaimed French films including "L'Auberge Espagnole," "Dans Paris," and "The Beat My Heart Skipped." He also provided the French voice of Flynn Ryder in 2010's "Tangled." Born in Paris in 1974, Duris is one of those actors who was discovered by chance. He caught director Cédric Klapisch's eye while sitting outside his Paris high school. His first role as Tomasi in the coming-of-age comedy/drama "Le péril jeune" was the stepping stone to a successful career. 05 of 10 Gerard Depardieu French Film Star Gerard Depardieu Enjoys A Moment On The Film Set Of 'Dina,' On The Remote Peninsula Of Kjerringoey In Northern Norway. All Over Press/Getty Images Gérard Depardieu is likely France's most easily recognizable male film star. Born in 1948, Depardieu got into acting with the "Cafe de la Gare" traveling theater. Years after declaring himself "retired," Depardieu continues to appear in films. A writer and director as well as an actor, Depardieu has credits in over 200 films and TV series over the course of his career. American audiences know him as well thanks to roles in 1998's "The Man in the Iron Mask" and "Life of Pi." 06 of 10 Benoit Magimel Benoit Magimel arrives at the French NRJ Music Awards ceremony. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Benoit Magimel has starred in numerous acclaimed films including Claude Chabrol's "The Flower of Evil" and "The Girl Cut in Two." Born in 1974, this Paris native has been acting since the age of 12 and went full-time at just 16. Among his many acting credits, Magimel is known for his role in 2001's "The Piano Teacher" and 2005's "Duplicity." One of his most recent roles is that of Lucas Barres in the Netflix original series "Marseille," playing opposite Gerard Depardieu. 07 of 10 Guillaume Canet Guillaume Canet attends the premiere for the film 'Chacun Son Cinema.'. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Guillaume Canet is both an actor and filmmaker. His directing credits include the 2006 film, "Tell No One" and 2011's "Little White Lies," both starring Francois Cluzet. Canet was born in 1973. His first acting credit was in 1993 for the TV series, "Premiers baisers." It was not until 2015 that he received well-deserved acclaim with a Cesar Award nomination for portraying a serial killer in "La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai Le Coeur" ("Next Time I'll Aim for the Heart"). 08 of 10 Laurent Lucas Laurent Lucas at the 58th International Cannes Film Festival. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Born in Paris in 1965, Laurent Lucas is considered one of France's most promising actors. He first appeared on screen in 1996 in "J'ai horreur de l'amour" in which he delivered a riveting performance as an HIV-positive man. In 1999, Lucas appeared in Leos Carax's "Leos Carax" and that same year, he made two films with director Karin Viard: "Nouvelle Ève, La" and "Haut les coeurs!" for which he received a Cesar nomination for Best Aspiring Actor. His breakout role was a tormented young father in Dominik's Moll's terrific 2000 thriller "With A Friend Like Harry." In 2003, he appeared in three films—"Tiresia," "Who Killed Bambi?" and "Va, petite!"—that were presented at that year's Cannes International Film Festival. In 2005, Lucas teamed up with Moll again for "Lemming," a thriller in which he starred opposite Charlotte Rampling and Charlotte Gainsbourg. 09 of 10 Olivier Martinez Olivier Martinez arrives at the premiere of Miramax Films' 'No Country For Old Men'. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images While he'd had many prior roles in his native country, Olivier Martinez became an international sex symbol after seducing Diane Lane's character in 2002's "Unfaithful." Born in 1966 in Paris, Martinez first hit the American scene in 1995 with his role in "The Horseman on the Roof." Playing opposite Juliette Binoche, he was billed as "the French Brad Pitt." Martinez's familiar face can be seen in a number of television and movie productions, including 2003's "S.W.A.T." He also starred alongside Halle Berry in the 2012 thriller "Dark Tide." 10 of 10 Gaspard Ulliel Gaspard Ulliel attends the premiere for 'Spiderman 3' in Paris, France. Francois Durand/Getty Images Gaspard Ulliel was born in 1984 and is another successful example of a French actor who started very young. His first role at age 12 was in the 1997 TV movie, "Une femme en blanc." In 2002, director Michel Blanc offered Ulliel a small part in the romantic comedy "Summer Things." His career took off from there. In 2003, Ulliel starred in "Strayed," and is noted for his role as Manech in the Oscar-nominated, "A Very Long Engagement." In 2007, Ulliel made a memorable English-language film debut as young Hannibal Lecter in "Hannibal Rising." Yet, one of his best roles was Yves St. Laurent the 2014 biopic "Saint Laurent." Considering his father was a fashion designer, might it have been typecasting?