Where to Stream Jean-Paul Belmondo’s Best Performances

One phrase typically comes up when studying about Jean-Paul Belmondo: cool. The French actor, who died on Monday at 88, by no means appeared to attempt arduous, bringing a nonchalant effortlessness to all his roles. Belmondo didn’t seem like a typical main man — The New York Times described him as “hypnotically ugly” in 1961 — however he had attraction and the unbothered casualness that the French name “désinvolture.”

This son of artists had a style for boxing, and swiftly eschewed being pigeonholed — he appeared in a high-minded literary adaptation one minute, carried out his personal stunts in a feisty caper the subsequent. Through the 1960s and early ’70s, he alternated between art-house fare and high quality industrial productions, then centered squarely on the latter, which could clarify his typically adversarial relationship with the French cinema institution. When his efficiency in Claude Lelouch’s “Itinerary of a Spoiled Child” earned him a nomination for greatest actor on the 1989 César Awards, for instance, he inspired voters not to decide him; he gained anyway and didn’t attend the ceremony.

Luckily, a consultant pattern of Belmondo’s movies is on the market for streaming. Here are 10 of them, in chronological order.


Stream it on the Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

This movie, launched within the United States in 1961, launched the careers of Belmondo and the director Jean-Luc Godard, and stays a formally thrilling pop-noir touchstone of the French new wave. Belmondo had a decrease profile than his co-star, Jean Seberg, however his punk charisma burns the display screen. A cigarette completely dangling from his lips, he ambles together with the insolence of youth, his insouciant but centered power matching the jazzy, finger-snapping soundtrack. Many actors would have pale subsequent to the colourful modernity of Godard’s filmmaking; Belmondo ate up it.

‘Le Doulos’

Stream it on Plex TV; lease or purchase it on iTunes.

For a few years, Belmondo’s rival as France’s attractive male lead was Alain Delon, whose tightly wound composure was an ideal match for the director Jean-Pierre Melville’s cerebral, fashionable motion pictures. Yet Belmondo’s collaboration with the grasp filmmaker was simply as fruitful. “Le Doulos,” from 1962, is Melville’s first nice noir, and Belmondo is all contained brutality in it. A barely raised eyebrow, the quirk of a mouth nearly make you need to sympathize along with his Silien, however menace is at all times there, the sense that this man might shoot you at any time.

‘That Man From Rio’

Rent or purchase on most main platforms.

One of Belmondo’s frequent collaborators was Philippe de Broca, the director of fleet-footed, witty movies. In this 1964 hit, his character travels all the way in which to Brazil to save his kidnapped girlfriend. The mixture of comedy, journey and romance is an ideal match for Belmondo, and the splendidly piquant Françoise Dorléac was amongst his greatest display screen companions — their spiky display screen chemistry is fantastic to behold.

You could make it a double invoice with de Broca’s zany Hong Kong-set “Up to His Ears,” from 1965, by which the actor performs a suicidal millionaire who decides life is price dwelling when mysterious henchmen attempt to kill him. Ursula Andress, with whom Belmondo then started a relationship, performs a fetching ethnologist incomes spare change as an unique dancer. Ah, the 1960s. …

‘Pierrot le Fou’

Rent or purchase on most main platforms.

In 1965, Godard gave Belmondo one other very good function as an out-of-sorts man who escapes from his hohum life with Anna Karina (who wouldn’t?). This is one in all Belmondo’s best performances as a result of he permits a poignant vulnerability to present, as a substitute of hiding it behind a cocksure confidence. In a beautiful scene, he and Karina speak-sing whereas dance-walking, and the craggy-faced younger man with the squashed nostril is pure poetry.

‘Mississippi Mermaid’

Stream it on Amazon.

As the trailer to this 1969 movie put it, “suddenly you realize two things: You’re in love, and you’re in danger.” Belmondo was solid towards sort as a person obsessive about — and manipulated by — a scheming Catherine Deneuve in François Truffaut’s adaptation of a William Irish novel. Alas the film tanked, perhaps as a result of audiences weren’t prepared to see Belmondo so blinded by ardour that he got here throughout as passive. “Mississippi Mermaid” was extra delicate than that, although, and is price rediscovering.


Rent or purchase it on Amazon and iTunes.

Belmondo and Delon: the yin and yang of French cinema, muscular heat versus icy distance. The pair had already appeared in “Is Paris Burning?” in 1966, however they had been simply two in a complete bunch of worldwide marquee names. Four years later, they headlined a 1930s-set story as two Marseille gangsters who forge an alliance until demise do them half. (Real life was extra sophisticated, as Belmondo took Delon to courtroom over who can be listed first within the credit.) Helmed by the style craftsman Jacques Deray (“La Piscine”), “Borsalino” endures thanks to its ridiculously charismatic leads, with Belmondo because the very definition of raffish.

‘The Scoundrel’

Rent or purchase it on Amazon and YouTube.

Confusingly, this 1971 de Broca film has completely different English titles, together with the clunky literal translation “The Married Couple of the Year Two” and the pretty descriptive “The Scoundrel” and “Swashbuckler” — guess who that describes? No matter: This is a sterling instance of a sure form of interval, well-made leisure that has lengthy been fashionable in France. The movie is a high-spirited screwball comedy of marriage set in the course of the French Revolution, by which Belmondo and Marlène Jobert (Eva Green’s mom) show their love by continually bickering. Both are marvelously comfy in that register, and Belmondo will get to bask in stunt work, too.

‘Stavisky …’

Stream it on Kanopy.

On the floor, Belmondo performs to sort — albeit a wealthy prison somewhat than a lowlife — on this 1974 movie based mostly on the true story of Alexandre Stavisky, a shady financier and swindler who turned the linchpin of an enormous scandal that rocked France in 1934. But the function and the efficiency aren’t cookie-cutter interval biopic, as a result of that is from the cerebral director Alain Resnais. “Stavisky …” emphasised temper over motion (a unbelievable rating by Stephen Sondheim helped) and toyed with chronology, however its idiosyncratic method to style didn’t promote. Belmondo proceeded to flip his again on artier fare and unabashedly devoted himself to promoting essentially the most tickets attainable.

‘The Professional’

Rent or purchase on most main platforms.

In the late 1970s and the mid ’80s, Belmondo dominated the French field workplace with a string of motion motion pictures. Some of them had a comic book bent, others had been tough-guy noirs. This Georges Lautner smash from 1981 squarely belongs to the second sort, with our star enjoying a leather-jacketed undercover agent embroiled in a plot involving French pursuits in Africa. The greatest a part of the film is the face-off between Belmondo and his foil, terrifically portrayed by Robert Hossein (the 2 typically labored collectively on the theater, with Hossein directing). Bonus: One of Ennio Morricone’s greatest scores of the 1980s.

‘Half a Chance’

Rent or purchase on most main platforms.

Belmondo and Delon joined forces once more for this 1998 comedian thriller by which Vanessa Paradis tries to discover out which ones is her father. (Sound acquainted?) The director Patrice Leconte (“Monsieur Hire”) enjoys enjoying along with his ageing male stars’ pictures: Belmondo will get to climb from a shifting convertible to a helicopter, for instance. His face an epic panorama of creases and furrows, he’s merely irresistible as an extroverted, rambunctious fast-talker, and makes a meal out of essentially the most innocuous scraps of dialogue.