The 5 Best Gerard Depardieu movies
Gerard Depardieu is one of the most famous French actors of his time! He has played in almost 200 different films since his debut in 1967. Over the years, Depardieu has become a household name. I personally like him in the Asterix and Obelix movies, but that is just a taste of what Depardieu has done in his career. He has starred in comedies, dramas, and romances.
Plus, he gets quite a bit of attention for his personal life, too. Depardieu has been in the news over the years for drunk driving, allegedly throwing away his French passport and social security card because he “never used them,” and tax evasion. Whether you agreed with his personal choices or not, I think that we can all agree that he is a talented actor! Keep reading my choices for the 5 best Gerard Depardieu movies!
1. Le Dernier Métro (The Last Metro)(1980)
Let’s start with the oldest Depardieu movie on my list, Le Dernier Métro (The Last Metro)! The film is by the legendary French director François Truffaut, and the equally legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve stars alongside Depardieu. It is a historical film and takes place during the German Occupation of France in World War II.
The movie tells the story of a small theatre in Montmartre in Paris that remains open during the Occupation despite lack of funds, censorship, antisemitism, and other struggles. The title is a nod to the fact that although Parisians were still trying to enjoy life during the War, they had to catch the last metro in order to make the German ordered curfew.
The film won 10 prestigious César awards including Best Film, Best Actor for Depardieu, and Best Actress for Deneuve. It was also a hit in the United States, and it earned nominations in the Golden Globe Awards as well as the Academy Awards!
2. La Chèvre (Knock on Wood) (1981)
My next best Gerard Depardieu movie is a lot less intense than Le Dernier Métro. La Chèvre (which literally translates to “The Goat,” but the film is called Knock on Wood in English) is a comedy which stars Depardieu and another famous French actor and comedian Pierre Richard. Not only is the movie one of the best for Depardieu, but it is also one of the best French comedies out there!
The movie follows a detective (played by Depardieu) who is hired by a wealthy businessman to find his daughter when she mysteriously goes missing. The daughter is apparently a very clumsy person. Her father decides to hire someone else to help Depardieu’s character: another clumsy person (played by Richard) in the hopes of following her accident-prone tracks. Hilarity ensues.
3. Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)
We’ve talked drama, we’ve talked comedy, let’s move on to a comedy-drama! Cyrano de Bergerac is a 1990 movie by director Jean-Paul Rappeneau which is based on a play of the same name by Edmond Rostand. The play itself is famous in its own right, as Cyrano de Bergerac is a real person. The real-life Cyrano was a French playwright and novelist. Since the play became famous, he (and his nose, but we’ll get to that) has become well known in French culture.
The movie follows the same vein as the play. It follows Cyrano de Bergerac, a writer, soldier, and daredevil who happens to be very self-conscious of his large nose. Much of his struggles seem to stem from his nose, which makes the storyline even funnier.
The rest of the story is a true romance. Cyrano is in love with a woman named Roxane, but she is more interested in one of his fellow soldiers. Cyrano chalks this up to the size of his nose, of course. Then, he decides to help his friend win over his crush. I’ll let you watch the movie to see what happens next!
4. Le Comte de Monte Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo) (1998)
You’ve most likely heard of the classic French tale, The Count of Monte Cristo. Written by Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Three Musketeers, it’s one of those stories that we all have heard about at least once or twice! The original French name is Le Comte de Monte Cristo, which is the name of this best Depardieu feature.
This one technically isn’t a movie as it is a 4 part mini-series. But, Depardieu excels in the starring role and I wanted to include it on my list. Plus, if you watch all four episodes in a row, it’s like watching one really long movie.
The movie follows the plotline of the book, which is the story of Edmond Dantès, a man wrongfully accused of “Bonapartism,” which is a term used to refer to people who wanted to bring back the House of Bonaparte as the rulers of France. Dantès is sent away to an island called the Château d’If. No prisoner had ever escaped from this island prison, but that doesn’t dissuade Dantès. Watch the series to see what happens next!
5. Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre (Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra) (2002)
The final movie on my list just happens to be the newest as well as my favorite! It took me a long time to be able to understand French well enough to follow a movie without subtitles, but Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre was one of the first that I was able to get through. And I laughed so hard. This movie is truly one of the best French comedies I’ve ever seen!
The movie is based on the comic book series Astérix by René Goscinny and Albery Uderzo, and more specifically, one of the books in the series called Astérix et Cléopâtre. The movie is actually a sequel to the first remake of one of the comics called Astérix & Obélix Contre César (Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar). The first movie also features Depardieu as Obelix, but I prefer the second.
In the movie, Cleopatra strikes a deal with Julius Caesar: if Egypt is able to construct a larger palace in Alexandria than the one in Rome in three months, then Caesar must acknowledge that Egypt was the greatest nation in the world. Cleopatra’s architect decided to enlist the help of Asterix & Obelix. Watch the movie yourself to find out what happens next!
Gerard Depardieu has had a successful career and has starred in everything from comedies to dramas to historical to romantic movies. These 5 are the best in my opinion, but as you’ll remember, there are nearly 200 to choose from! This list is a great starting off point for any of you who are interested in getting to know his work.
If you’re in Paris and you’ve already seen everything on my list, why not join one of our walking tours so that you can ask one of our local guides which Depardieu movie is their favorite? Plus, you’ll get a pretty cool history lesson while you’re at it. Click here to see all of the options and to make your booking!