10 must-watch movies with Lambert Wilson

Lambert Wilson and Valérie Lemercier at the Cannes Film Festival
Lambert Wilson and Valérie Lemercier at the Cannes Film Festival

Lambert Wilson is one of the most respected and acclaimed French actors of the past decades. He's also one of the few actors who can claim a small Hollywood career, including a role in the Matrix trilogy, with both indie movies and summer blockbusters.


© Copyright for the main image of this article:
Georges Biard Wikimedia Commons

Let's take a look at Lambert Wilson's filmography and 10 of his best movies, from The Odyssey to Matrix Resurrection.

Where to watch Lambert Wilson’s films?

Whether you want to watch classic French movies with Lambert Wilson or new releases featuring the French actor, TV5MONDE USA is the best option to watch French movies with English subtitles in America. With TV5MONDE, you will have access to the live broadcasting of TV5MONDE, the only French language entertainment network in America, and the on demand platform TV5MONDE Cinema which presents every month a selection of newly released French movies and classic French films. Finally, you'll get a free access to TV5MONDEplus, the French streaming platform and its impressive catalog of French-language movies and TV shows. 

1. De Gaulle (2020)

De Gaulle is a biographical drama that follows the life of Charles de Gaulle during World War II. This was most probably Lambert WIlson' most risky role. When the project was announced, the producers found it difficult to find a French actor who looked somewhat similar to the French WWII hero and would accept the role of the most important figure of recent French history. There's no doubt that Wilson was the right choice for the titular role. He portrays the French general and statesman with depth, gravitas, and a commanding presence. His performance in this film has been praised for its emotional intensity, precision, and nuanced portrayal of a historical figure. 

2. The Odyssey (2016)

The Odyssey is another biopic, this time about the legendary French oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Wilson plays Cousteau in a nuanced and captivating performance that captures the complex and often contradictory aspects of the explorer's personality. Wilson's portrayal brings out Cousteau's passion for the natural world as well as his flaws as a husband and father. A fabulous film and career-defining performance for the French actor.

Watch and stream French movies with TV5MONDE USA, the best offer for French movies with English subtitles in America.

3. On Connaît la chanson (1997)

On Connaît la chanson is a musical comedy about a group of interconnected characters whose lives are intertwined by love and music. Wilson plays Marc, a successful businessman who is in love with the free-spirited Odile (Sabine Azéma). Wilson's performance in this film is noteworthy for its charm, wit, and impeccable comic timing. He was nominated for the César Award for Best Supporting Actor but lost to Jean-Pierre Bacri.

4. The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions/ The Matrix Resurrection

If you're American and that you rarely watch French movies, then this is why you know Lambert Wilson. What should have been a small role (The Merovingian) in The Matrix Reloaded, the fantastic sequel to the Matrix, turned out to be one of Lambert Wilson's most beloved characters. The Merovingian is a powerful and mysterious figure who controls the Matrix. Lambert Wilson brings a sense of sophistication, mystery, and danger to this role by giving him a sophisticated demeanor, often speaking in French and quoting from classic literature. Because The Merovigian character was loved by the fans, he was brought back for the two other sequels created by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski: The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Resurrection making The Merovingian one of the most memorable characters in the franchise, alongside Sati, Persephone, Neo, Trinity and Morpheus.

5. Go West! A Lucky Luke Adventure (2007)

Go West! A Lucky Luke Adventure is a Western comedy based on the popular French comic book series. Wilson gave his voice to Pat Poker, a notorious card player and villain who is out to get Lucky Luke (Jean Dujardin). Wilson's performance is full of wit, menace, and cunning, making him a worthy adversary to Dujardin's hero. Watch more French cartoon on TiVi5MONDE.

6. Of Gods and Men (2010)

Of Gods and Men is a drama inspired by the true story of a group of Trappist monks who were kidnapped and murdered in Algeria during the 1990s. Wilson plays Christian, the leader of the monastery, who faces a moral and spiritual crisis as he tries to decide whether to stay in Algeria or leave for his own safety. Wilson's performance in this film is powerful, understated, and deeply affecting. He was once again nominated at the César Award for best actor (7 times in total!) but is still waiting for his first win!

7. Hiver 54 (1989)

Hiver 54, l'abbé Pierre is a French drama film released in 1999, directed by Denis Amar and starring Lambert Wilson in the lead role. The film is based on the true story of Abbé Pierre, a French Catholic priest and social activist who founded the Emmaus movement to help the poor and homeless in France.

8. Palais Royal! (2005)

Palais Royal! is a French slapstick comedy about a divorced mother who becomes the queen of a small European country. Wilson plays Prince Arnaud, a charming and unscrupulous businessman who is out to take advantage of the queen's vulnerability. Wilson's performance in this film is full of wit, charm, and a touch of deviousness, making Prince Arnaud one of the most entertaining characters in the film.

Watch and stream French comedies with English subtitles on TV5MONDE USA

9. Cycling with Moliere (2013)

Although not as popular as the other movies from this list, Cycling with Moliere is our personal favorite. This story about two former friends who have become estranged over the years is a witty, funny and emotional dramedy and time passing. What really elevates the movie is the face off and dialogues between Lambert Wilson and Fabrice Luchini. In the movie, Wilson plays Gauthier Valence, a successful actor who wants to convince his friend Serge (Fabrice Luchini) to play the lead role in a stage play by Moliere.

10. Julia (1977)

Julia is a 1977 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann, starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave in the lead roles. The film tells the story of a woman named Julia (Redgrave) who becomes involved in a dangerous scheme to rescue a writer from Nazi Germany. Lambert Wilson also appears in a small but pivotal role as Tom, a charming and manipulative businessman who convinces Julia to get involved in the plot. This was Wilson's first major film role, and his performance garnered critical acclaim for his ability to bring depth and complexity to the character of Tom. Despite only having a few scenes in the film, Wilson's performance made a lasting impression and helped him establish himself as a talented actor in the French film industry.

Love French cinema? Take a look at TV5MONDE now!