best film:  Breathless is the 16th best film of all-time and Pierrot le Fou is currently at #55 on my list. They’re the two highest rated Godard films and certainly more than worthy to be any actor’s best film. Belmondo just doesn’t show up in these films either- he owns this movie and the credit he deserves is second only to Godard’s revolutionary creative coup here in terms of the film’s success. The film changed cinema.

best performance: Breathless. In Breathless Belmondo broods, cracks jokes, talks to the audience, lies, kills. It doesn’t feel like a performance. His charisma is undeniable- he’s funny. But he’s also a loose cannon – changing how he acts and feels on a whim. It’s one of cinema’s great characters and performances yet it only beats out his work in Pierrot le Fou but an eyelash because here, along with Karina, he gives such an abundantly free performance. It’s completely unique and along with Godard at the helm- helps make the film, and the character, truly artistically transcendent.

stylistic innovations/traits:  Belmondo’s style is anything but trained and classical. It’s raw, authentic and oozing with confidence and swagger. His characters are often playful and not brilliant- haha. Truly, Belmondo is one of the key figures of the French New Wave. He, Godard, and Breathless are monumentally important to cinema. Belmondo is the 60’s. He only has 8 archiveable films but they in a 10 year span that certainly constitute a great period of acting dominance (Pierrot le Fou is a tremendous mid-point and second act and Mississippi Mermaid a strong cap to any run). If he could’ve kept it up through the 70’s we could be talking about a top 10-15 actor of all-time but the resumes and filmographies that close to the top are just too substantial at that level no matter how impressive Belmondo’s one-two punch is here.

directors worked with:   Godard (3) and such a key collaboration— and then once with De Sica, Truffaut and Melville

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Breathless
  2. Pierrot le Fou
  3. Leon Marin, Priest
  4. Mississippi Mermaid
  5. The Man From Rio

Archiveable films

1960- Breathless
1960- Classe Tous Risques
1960- Two Women
1961- A Woman Is a Woman
1961- Leon Marin, Priest
1964- The Man From Rio
1965- Pierrot le Fou
1969- Mississippi Mermaid