Gérard Depardieu, iconic actor of French cinema

Gérard Depardieu is one of the most famous French actors in the world. Born in Châteauroux, he has acted in nearly 200 films and is considered an icon of French cinema. His career spans more than fifty years and he has worked with the greatest film directors, including François Truffaut, Bertrand Tavernier, Maurice Pialat and Jean-Luc Godard. Gérard Depardieu has also acted in various Hollywood productions. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of his greatest films, as well as some of his other activities.

The youth of Gérard Depardieu in Châteauroux

The french actor was born in Châteauroux, France, in the Centre-Val de Loire region on December 27, 1948. His father was a metalworker and his mother a housewife. Gérard has 3 brothers and 2 sisters. His family is poor and lives in a 2 room apartment. Gérard Depardieu, who does not like school, spends most of his time airing in the streets of Châteauroux and to get by, he commits a few thefts or engages in the smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes. To survive, he also does various small jobs, such as that of beach attendant at Cap d’Antibes. In 1963, on the advice of a friend who knew he was passionate about cinema, Gérard Depardieu went to Paris to take comedy lessons at the Théâtre National Populaire. In 1965, he made his debut as an actor in a short film, before obtaining a role in 1970 with director Michel Audiard. At the same time, he started a career as an actor in the Parisian theaters. But it was in 1974 that Gérard Depardieu’s career really took off, with his interpretation of the role of Jean-Claude, a nice thug on the run, in the film “les valseuses” by Bertrand Blier.

The actor and the great French directors

In the 1970s and 1980s, the actor continued to shoot critically acclaimed hit films. On several occasions, great French directors will call on his acting skills, while allowing him to expand his repertoire.

  • Bertrand Blier, with whom Gérard Depardieu will land the main roles in “les valseuses” alongside Patrick Deweare and Miou-Miou, without forgetting “evening dress” or “too beautiful for you”.
  • Francis Veber will stage the Gérard Depardieu – Pierre Richard tandem in the trilogy relating the adventures of François Pignon in the films “the goat”, “the friends” and “the fugitives”.
  • François Truffaut will offer him roles of passionate lovers in “the last metro” where he plays the role of Catherine Deneuve or even in “the woman next door” with Fanny Ardant.
Gérard Depardieu in the role of Obélix opposite Christian Clavier
Gérard Depardieu in the role of Obélix opposite Christian Clavier

The 20 greatest cinematic successes of the french icone

He shot nearly 200 films during his career. The actor’s 20 greatest hits remain the following films:

  1. Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra : this film, directed by Alain Chabat in 2002, attracted more than 14 million spectators. Gérard Depardieu embodies the famous Gaul Obélix. It is Gérard Depardieu’s biggest success to date.
  2. Asterix and Obelix against Caesar : this first opus directed by Claude Zidi in 1999 will account for nearly 9 million admissions.
  3. Jean de Florette : directed in 1986 by Claude Berri, he takes on the role of Jean de Florette. He and his partner Daniel Auteuil in the role of Hugolin will seduce more than 7 million spectators in theaters.
  4. The goat of Francis Veber, in 1981 with Gérard in the famous role of Campana will post 7 million admissions.
  5. Asterix at the Olympic Games by Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann released in 2008 will achieve 6.8 million admissions.
  6. Germinal by Claude Berri in 1993, alongside singer Renaud and his legendary friend Jean Carmet (6.1 million admissions).
  7. Guardian Angels by Jean Poiret, released in 1995, totaled 5.7 million admissions. Gérard Depardieu plays the role of Antoine Merignac, a cabaret director, alongside Christian Clavier.
  8. Les valseuses by Bertrand Blier: released in 1974, this cult film attracted more than 5.7 million viewers at the time.
  9. Francis Veber’s closet in 2001 will attract more than 5.3 million spectators.
  10. La Môme directed by Olivier Dahan in 2007 achieved a similar score with 5.2 million admissions.
  11. The accomplices of Francis Veber in 1983 will gather 4.8 million spectators.
  12. Cyrano de Bergerac : this film by Jean-Paul Rappeneau released in 1990 will allow Gérard Depardieu to win the César for best actor in 1991, as well as the prize for best actor at the Cannes Film Festival. The film will seduce more than 4.7 million spectators who are fans of Edmond Rostand’s play. And for this film, the actor will also receive an Oscar nomination.
  13. The fugitives of Francis Veber in 1985 will achieve nearly 4.5 million admissions.
  14. Asterix and Obelix : in the service of his majesty directed by Laurent Tirard in 2012 will come close to 4 million admissions at the box office.
  15. Inspecteur la Bavure by Claude Zidi attracted nearly 3.7 million spectators in 1980.
  16. The Last Metro by François Truffaut, a film also released in 1980, will seduce 3.4 million French people.
  17. In 1986, Bertrand Blier’s Evening Wear achieved nearly 3.2 million admissions.
  18. Shut your mouth ! by Francis Veber will achieve nearly 3.2 million admissions in 2003.
  19. 1492: Christopher Columbus , a film by American Ridley Scott, totaled nearly 3 million admissions in 1992.
  20. Coco , a film directed by Gad Elmaleh in 2009 will appeal to just over 3 million French people.

The French actor and American cinema

The french actor also ventured into American cinema. In 1990, director Peter Weir offered him the lead role in the comedy “Green Card”, alongside actress Andy MacDowell. His performance will be hailed and rewarded with the Golden Globe for best comedy actor in 1991. Two years later, director Ridley Scott offered him the role of explorer Christopher Columbus in a superb Hollywood production. Gérard Depardieu will also appear alongside Whoopi Goldberg in 1996 in the film “Bogus” and will also interpret the role of the musketeer Porthos in “the man in the iron mask”, alongside actor Léonardo Dicaprio.

Gérard Depardieu is also known as the French Wolverine, in reference to the character played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman in the X-Men saga, whose claws have been replaced by bottles of wine

Gérard Depardieu in private life

Several women have shared the life of Gérard Depardieu during his long career:

  • Elisabeth Guignot: she is the only woman that he married in 1970. From this union will be born Guillaume, in 1971 and Julie, in 1973. Guillaume will tragically disappear in 2008 after contracting staphylococcus and pneumonia.
  • In 1992, Karine Silla, a Senegalese actress with whom Gérard shared his life, gave birth to Roxane, the actor’s third child.
  • From 1996 to 2005, he shared the life of actress Carole Bouquet. At the same time, he had an extra marital relationship with Hélène Bizot who, in 2006, gave birth to his 4th child, baptized Jean, in tribute to his friend Jean Carmet.
  • Since 2005, Gérard Depardieu has appeared on the arm of Clémentine Igou, a marketing manager in the wine world.

The actor’s business

In addition to his passion for cinema, Gérard Depardieu is also a winemaker. He owns the Château de Tigné in Pomerol and cultivates vineyards in Italy, Algeria and Morocco. His passion for gastronomy makes him invest in great restaurants all over the world, as well as in hotels, cellars and breweries. Gérard Depardieu also declares having activities in trade, tourism and real estate.

Follow the actor on his Instagram account


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