France is known for its sexy and intelligent films, and the 5 hottest French movie stars ever combine eroticism with acting skill. Hotness is a combination of physical appeal, intellectual stimulation, and mystery that French stars seem to achieve effortlessly.
- Brigitte Bardot. Bardot is probably the most recognizable of the 5 hottest French movie stars ever. Often compared to Marilyn Monroe, Bardot became a sex symbol overnight with “And God Created Woman.” As an orphan full of sexual desire in this 1956 film, Bardot turned on the world with her sex kitten antics and voluptuous body. In 1968, she brought instant popularity to the two-piece bathing suite when she starred in “Girl in the Bikini” (notice how French movie titles tell it like it is). In the film “La Brid Sure Le Cou,” according to “Life” magazine, Bardot and her co-star received instructions from the director, Vadim, who was then her husband in a love scene. Bardot had a casual approach to her sexuality, and she seemed both approachable and beyond touch.
- Jean-Paul Belmondo. Another hot French star who began in the 50’s, Belmondo’s unconventional good looks were perfect for his role as the scoundrel women loved to hate. He also made many action movies and did his own stunts. Jackie Chan once commented that Belmondo was his favorite action star. Belmondo’s “exquisite sangfroid,” as one New York Times critical called it—his charming cold-bloodedness–added to his sexy appeal. Belmondo achieved fame with “Breathless,” the classic of young love on the run. In this film (badly remade with Richard Gere), Belmondo perfects the sly look, the finger run across the lips, the chain-smoking casualness. In one scene, he stops outside a theater and admires a Humphrey Bogart poster, an actor he was not unlike. Adding to his hotness, Belmondo’s longtime lover was gorgeously curvy Swiss actress Ursula Andress.
- Catherine Deneuve. The sex kitten appeal of Bardot is contrasted with the suave sensuality of Deneuve, who often played a cool and aloof woman. Her classic golden blonde hair and dark brown eyes made the screen catch fire. Fire and ice are the combination when thinking of this hot French star, often called “ice maiden.” Deneuve showcased this persona in Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion,” (1965) an erotic thriller, in which Deneuve is most sexy when listening to her sister and boyfriend make love next door. However, her success in “The Hunger,” with David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, as an energetic bisexual vampire showed she had allure beyond the ice maiden label.
- Alain Delon. Though you may not recognize the name of this hot French film star, he was known as the American James Dean for his brooding good looks and sexy charm. Delon is perhaps familiar to Americans for the 1966 western “Texas across the River.” However, Delon preferred making French movies and reached the height of his sexy stardom in the underrated “Le samourai,” playing a perfectionist hitman. Delon’s first big acting success came with “Purple Noon,” (1960) playing the same role Matt Damon later took on in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Delon had the flashy good looks and bad boy persona that made him one of the hottest French movie stars ever. Add to that his status as a pop culture icon—the subject of many songs and his picture featured on the cover of the The Smiths’ “The Queen is Dead” album.
- Jeanne Moreau. Moreau can be classified in yet another category of hotness, the thinking man’s sex symbol. Moreau once said, “If you don't give a damn, men look at you,” which defines her appeal. Not beautiful in a traditional way, Moreau managed to be sexy, original, and breathtaking. Considered one of the best actresses ever, Jeanne Moreau also ranks #80 with “Jules and Jim” (1962) on "Premiere" Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. “The Lovers” (1958) showcased Moreau’s ability to be attractively erotic and bored at the same time. Moreau turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate,” but that character’s persona was right on in describing what made Moreau a star. In 1965, she starred with Bardot in “Viva Maria!” a sex-symbol teaming that made the film an international hit.